Sometimes, it feels like it is next to impossible to do anything creative. Engaging in creative activities, such as writing or painting, may feel like a burden rather than an outlet and release. I went through such a spell. So, I thought that maybe I just needed a break to recharge those creative batteries. Then somehow a couple of months went by and I had done nothing but watch Netflix and play video games. I realized that the break was not making me any happier.
About a month ago, I was browsing my Facebook page and noticed that one of my favourite mixed-media artists, Tamara Laporte, was having a free 2-week art summit. I thought that maybe I should refuel my creativity by doing something creative. Seems logical I know, but for some reason that logic evaded me when I was in my creative slump.
The summit was called the Life Book Creativity & Wellbeing Summit. Tamara Laporte, along with many talented artists contributed to intriguing interviews and demonstrated art & wellness activities. The two-weeks was a whirlwind of activity. I was not able to do all of the activities. I blame my day job for interfering with creative endeavours, once again! However, I did manage to complete three activities. Now full disclosure, I did not follow the activity lessons exactly, as I can’t help but add my own spin to pieces I create.
To start, I completed a warm – up activity by Tamara Laporte. The activity begins with free-form writing on watercolour paper. The writing was to include any thoughts needing to be expressed, then writing freely all over the paper, even if the sentences overlap. Affirmations were at the core of many of the sentences. Next, collage pieces needed to be decided upon, then glued to the paper over what was written. The next layer involved adding colours to the page with water soluable crayons, then activating the crayons with water. The following layer was a layer of gesso applied with a brayer to unify the layers. Adding a couple of stamps provided more contrast to the piece, followed by adding more colour.
In the next step, a goal or intention is set, then more collage pieces, along with written goals or intentions. Laporte said, that one of the aims is to “follow your joy” and “follow what makes you happy”. Ultimately, it was a time to play. I was painting with my fingers, I was using my hand as a stamp and using bright vibrant colours. It was joyful and peaceful. Here is the piece, I ended up with:
In another activity by Laporte, she demonstrates the creation of a Fairy Art Mother, which was intended to inspire and guide summit participants in their creative process. Laporte said, the Fairy Art Mother is meant to be “a cheerleader for you as an artist.” The Fairy Art Mother helps address your worries. The activity starts with sketching a whimsical art fairy, then adding colour to the fairy with various types of media. Worries are written on the fairy’s dress, then collage pieces were used to cover the worries. After this, more collage pieces and colour were added to the piece. The piece was finished with an affirmation. With respect to my piece, the affirmation most certainly addressed worries that I had written on the dress. I was happy with how my Fairy Art Mother turned out and she generated a sense of serenity in me. Here she is:
The third activity that I was able to squeeze in was an activity by Cathy Nichols. This was a a 20 minute timed activity involving the creation of a 3 x 5 inch oracle card. I knew that that this activity would challenge me as I am such a perfectionist! The following items had to be randomly chosen (with eyes closed): 3 paints, 3 markers, 3 collage pieces and 1 additional medium. In addition, a magazine was required. The activity started with lighting a candle and stating an intention for the activity. Then the timer started.
Once the timer started ticking, the magazine was opened to a random page and an image was chosen to integrate into the piece. Nichol’s said that the intention of this activity was to “silence the inner critic” and to “not overthink it.” I was doing fine until I realized, in the last 30 seconds, that I had not used any of the markers. In my frenzy to finish the piece, I accidentally dropped a paper towel on my tea light and set it on fire! Don’t worry, I put out the fire fairly quickly, though I probably lost 10 seconds. After the time was up, a title tag for the card is chosen. I chose “In Tune” as the fire event taught me to be more present and more mindful of what I am doing. Here is my oracle card:
With the fire incident, the oracle card was an exciting activity. As a result, I think I became fascinated with creating a deck of oracle cards (without the fire), that are specifically catered to me. So, that is my current project underway.
Even though I could not do all of the activities in this art summit, I enjoyed listening to all the great interviews with talented artists and watching their activity demonstrations. I learned a lot of cool techniques and the summit lit a creative fire (not just a literal one) in me, which I can not extinguish. Art and creative ideas occupy my mind and my heart. The summit was meant to give a taste of a larger online course to come in the New Year (which I will be attending), called Life Book 2020. My partner is gifting me with the year-long course for Christmas. Not only did the summit teach me awesome creative techniques, it also taught me to appreciate what I have and to know that I am a very lucky woman. I think when you freely creatively express yourself, you are naturally left with more gratitude in your life.
For information about Tamara LaPorte and Life Book 2020, visit: https://www.willowing.org/.