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Take time to reflect.

Eric Maisel suggests that all artists who want to maintain a creative life need to take time to reflect on their life.  He notes that worry is different than reflection and that we all worry too much and don’t reflect enough.  Why is that?  Could it be that self-reflection actually provokes anxiety?  It is difficult to set aside time for reflection in our busy lives.  It may seem like a waste of time but it is key to moving forward in your creativity.

Maisel says “To have a chance to live the creative life that you want to lead, you need to reflect on your personality, your culture, your relationships, your art work, the marketplace and so on.”  He asks us to reflect on the question “If I am not doing the work I’m intending to do, why am I not doing it?”

Definitely food for thought!

Creativity Coaching is for you!

I watched the academy awards last evening and listened to Ben Affleck say that no one tells you how hard you have to work to make a go of the creative life.  You have to work harder than you can ever imagine you have to work.

Many people who are creative imagine having a creative life that allows them to do their creative work day after day, serenely going from one successful project to another, taking trips to exotic places to gather material and moving forward to some place called “success”.  They fantasize about quiting their day job to pursue the things they love to do.  Yet the weekend comes and they are too tired or too busy to find the time to create.  Or the artwork is piling up in their basement and they feel less and less motivated to create more work.

This is where a Creativity Coach can help out.  I can help you define your goals and put into place a working plan to move your career forward.  I can help you work around your day job and still get to the important creative work you want to do.  I can help you discover what motivates you and help you believe in yourself as an artist.

Why not check out my introductory package on this site.  Get 3 months of Creativity Coaching for the price of 2.  That’s 12 weeks of one-on-one coaching for just $130!  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

What happened to my day?

How many times have we decided we will work on our artwork for the day and found that the day has disappeared without much productivity?  An upsetting email that may clutter our minds may be all it takes to derail our plans.  Too many things on our “to-do” list that makes us restless and anxious.  Negative self-talk that convinces us that our current project has no value.  Requests from other people for our time.

None of us are immune to having a day slip by and feeling we have not used it as well as we had hoped.  Creative people seem to be particularly sensitive to lost or unproductive time.  Because creative people have decided to matter they may be discouraged when they don’t see solid evidence that they have produced something important or moved forward in their creative project.

I would suggest that it is important that we don’t beat ourselves up when we have a day like this.  Take a look at what you have done and try to see it in as positive a light as possible.  Then take a realistic look at what happened that threw you off track.  Was it lack of planning? Lack of commitment?  Fatigue? Anxiety?  Try to figure this out and just being aware of what might be the obstacles to getting your creative work done is a start is overcoming those obstacles.

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I don’t like heavy metal

I don’t like heavy metal rock.  For those of you who love it, this may be a surprise.  Maybe I just don’t understand it.  Maybe I am not exposed enough to it.  What I really like is soft rock from the 70’s.  Okay, now I have dated myself but that is what I grew up with and that music still takes me back to a time of new love and new adventures.  Of course, there is lots of other music I like as well but many songs of the 70’s reach me on an emotional level that other good music does not.

So it is not surprising that, just like music, people have there preferences for visual art.  Some love it bold and bright, some like it dark and muted, some are drawn to landscapes they know and some to landscapes they have visited.  Some adore abstracts and some adore realism.  Some are flower people and some are animal people.  Some want what they hang on their walls to have a radical message.

So why should it surprise me when some people don’t like my paintings?  Sometimes it is just that they are indifferent to them.  The painting doesn’t excite them.  They can’t relate to it.  They may not even understand the painting.  We may know that people have preferences for visual art just like they have preferences for music but knowing how to deal with our emotions when we get a negative response to our creative work is another thing altogether.

It is helpful if you can distance yourself a bit from your work.  You finish and send your creation out into the world to survive on its own.  When someone says something negative about your work, either directly to you or indirectly, it is important to try to step back and remind yourself that everyone is entitled to their preferences.  Don’t immediately assume that what they say about your work is true.  If you have something to learn from their comment, do that and appreciate that you have received constructive criticism.  But if they just dismiss the work or even express dislike, know that it is just as likely that another person will love the work and see merit in it.  Try to be your own self-critic (in a loving way) and don’t look to others to either build you up or tear you down.

Then listen to some music that reaches you on an emotional level and let the comments wash out of your mind…

A bit of sunshine can energize Albertans

I’ve been waiting for a day like this!  All right, I live in Edmonton and a far too frequent topic is the weather.  But after what seemed like a very overcast January, today is amazing.  Sunny, +4 and a pretty hefty wind, but still beautiful.  I opened up all the windows in the house for awhile just to let in the fresh air.

Those of us living in northern climates really have a challenge working ‘plein air’ especially if you work in watercolours that freeze at normal winter temperatures.  After awhile the studio tends to get a bit boring and stuffy.  Maybe our work tends to get a bit boring and stuffy too.  Breaking the routine is a great way to infuse some energy into yourself and your creativity.

Today I sat in the sun for a 1/2 hour.  I looked pretty goofy sitting on my front porch with my winter jacket on and my sleeves and pants pushed up to expose as much skin as possible.  Sheltered from the wind I was surprisingly comfortable.  The sun is still very low but I could feel a tiny bit of heat in it at least at 12 noon.  The sunshine and the thought of spring energized me today.

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