Thursday, 27 January 2011

Accepting rest.....(and a couple of doodles/small stones)

I've been doodling and writing small stones this past few days but my low energy has made all things a bit of a struggle. Accepting I have to rest is probably one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn.  I've been proud of myself learning to take things moment by moment and accepting rest when its needed.  But this last week it has felt as if I've been learning this all over again. This seems to happen in life. We think we have something figured out and understood but all of a sudden we realise we've slipped into old habits. This past couple of weeks I've battled with my energy levels and re-learnt that going into battle exhausts me. I've had to remind me to accept rest as part of my creative life journey. A time to ponder and refuel. 

Michael Nobbs Sustainable Creativity micro mag 'Getting Your Important Work Done' gave me a reminder of this. If you haven't already discovered Michael visit his website and subscribe to his micro mag to receive advice on how to manage your 'very important work'. Whether your energy is low because of illness or a hectic life his writing could help you. But I'm not going to tell you any more about Michael now because he has agreed to be interviewed for my own email mini mag that is coming very soon. Watch this space.

Here's a couple of recent small stones (my contribution to 'A River of Small Stones'):

#26.  Slender trees sway to the vibrant beat of a demanding conductor.  
#27.  A small hand softly sneaks into mine and electrifies my heart.  

  • What life lesson do you seem to struggle with & need to repeat?
  • Who/what has helped you with this struggle?

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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Inspiration Avenue - which is your favourite month?


This week’s Inspiration Avenue theme asked us to create art inspired by our favourite month. For me March is my favourite.

Why? March is the month of my birth and as you may guess, from my contribution above, my star sign is Pisces. On my Birthday I always buy a new written journal and reflect on the years behind and in front of me. I love Birthdays and not just my own; I like to make a fuss for everyone’s Birthdays. I don’t view getting another year older as a negative (although ask me again when I’m much older ;-) ) but as a celebration of the gift of life. Oh and a good excuse to eat cake!

March is still winter but nearly Spring; nature and the weather can be so awe inspiring at this time. It is also the month we celebrate Mother’s Day and occasionally Easter. For me March shines with possibilities and is a celebration of life; new, old and future.
  • Which month is your favourite? And why? (If you've already answered this for the Inspiration Avenue challenge then I shall look forward to visiting your blog to see your answer).
  • Which month makes you appreciate life in its various stages?
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Friday, 21 January 2011

Soothing music and a garden stone....

A small stone offering. Not sure if the writing is readable over the photo. It reads "Sugar coated garden, bitter to the touch".

A slow day for me health wise so I'm soothing my soul with music and words. Today I've been listening to James Morrison, One Republic, Leona Lewis and Emma's Imagination. My music tastes are varied and vary according to my mood.

  • What soothes you when you're not feeling the best?
For more small stones, doodles & thoughts on obstacles to our creative work see the post below.
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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Obstacles to creative work, doodles & small stones (aros days 17-20)

In between formulating ideas for a new digital mini mag and Etsy shop (more details of both soon) I've been journaling, doodling and trying to write small stones for A River of Stones challenge. Here are my latest small stones followed by another doodle:
Woolly lime moss draped like ‘silly-string’ streamers caught in the outstretched arms of a naked tree.

#18 (I visited a favourite woods and was sad to see the results of recent flooding)
Between toothy gap reminders of tree victims rise haphazard giant molehills of displaced earth whilst nearby the scrubbed wire-braced riverbanks are patched with foreign rock. Awkward flood damaged beauty.

Exposed twiggy survivors of watery excess are comforted by the glockenspiel scale of a singing stream restored to its original size.

#19 (There has been a recent tree disease in a nearby valley that has necessitated alot of trees being felled.)
Stubble faced forest valley scarred by disease.

Fidgety paws, twitching nose, wiggling whiskers, flicking tempestuous tail, restless gut – dream time cat adventures.

Cold fingers tip tapping on my laptop keyboard; marking my thoughts in words on an illuminated screen. As I pause the cursor flashes its impatience, urging me on.

I'm excited by the new creative projects I'm working on but a little stunted by very low energy at the moment. Yet I remind myself not to think too far outside of enjoying the moment and energy I have. This halts any panic and keeps me appreciating what I do have. But does require some reluctant pacing and patience on my part :-) My present motto is: little by little, moment by moment.
  • Are you working on or/and excited by any new creative projects?
  • How do you manage your creative work when illness, worries or other obstacles get in the way?

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge - What inspires you?

What inspires me? This is a question with so many answers. Firstly I'll explain how the artwork above answers this question in part. No sarcastic pretending to be sick miming please ;-) Love inspires me.  I am a complete romantic but I'm not just talking about romantic love but also the way we love our children, our pets, our friends, our creative work.  

But here, in no particular order, is a more detailed list of things that inspire me:
Music (playing, listening, live or recorded); books (fiction, poetry, picture...); people; my children; the creative blogging world; nature (especially trees, water, mountains, changing weather and seasons); journaling; colour; words; film; theatre; collaging; photos (other peoples and taking my own); enticing craft materials (ribbon, buttons, paints, glitter, assorted papers, recycled items...); oh I could go on and on......

But I guess the important question is what can inspire us when we are completely stuck, uninspired and blocked? I believe we often just need to rest, recharge and be present in the moment. This can be hard because being stuck can lead to fear and panic. Therefore it's important to recognise that the resting quiet time can be as important as the passionate creative times. Apart from this the things that can help me out of a rut are being outdoors amongst nature, journaling, music, reading and other people.
 (Below this post you can read my small stones for days 13-16 of A River of Stones)

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AROS days 13-16....

I've been a bit slack at regularly posting my small stones but here are the latest copied from my notebook:

Day 13 and I was watching the toddlers leaving playschool. It was such a happy and cute image....
Rainbow of umbrellas
Bobbing down the path
Over little legs
In an eager race

Day 14 and late evening I opened the door to let my cat out. My awareness of  the weather having been muffled by double glazing I was taken aback at the assault to my senses.......
Thick winter air
Icy energy
Thrashing branches
Rushing stream
by a passionate wind.

Day 15 and this was a very simple observation and I stared into my Muesli....

Jewels of dehydrated fruit promising sweetness, bathing in a milky pond alongside their pale oat companions.

Day 16  this may not strictly be a small stone and is not polished but this morning I just closed my eyes and listened. This is what I heard....
Washing machine spinning a storm
Radio singing multiple voices
Steel chinking china
Rustling paper
Fridge humming
Sunday breakfast.

Not prolific or fancy but observations that I can work on in the future. It was enough for me to be present in the moment and observe; a calming meditative exercise.
  • Have you found time this past week to stop and soak up the moment you're in?
  • If so, how did you express this or/and what affect did it have on you?
(In the next few minutes I'll be posting my Inspiration Avenue weekly art challenge if you'd like to take a peek just scroll up)
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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

AROS days 9-12, a lazy doodle & positive motivation...

Lazy Tuesday Evening Doodle
I did this lazy doodle whilst watching TV, hence all the scrappy mistakes. But I thought I'd share it anyway so that the post had a picture as well as words:-) 
Catching up with my contributions to A River of Stones challenge - here are my small stones for days 9-12:
Day 9 – Sunday 9th January 2011
Rush Hour
Busy minds,
encased in steel,
lost in a concrete jungle.

Day 10 – Monday 10th January 2011
Noisily eating trees
it spits and splutters
glowing with warm pleasure.

Day 11 – Tuesday 11th January 2011
School’s Out
Stampede of small soles
bring smiles with their
cacophony of children’s chatter.

Day 12 – Wednesday 12th January 2011
Busy Wet Road
Sizzling cold lead,
misty trail of speed,
fluid motion.

©Katina Wright 2011
I'm finding these online challenges are helping me get motivated on a grey January when the fluey viruses are still hanging on and the scenery outside is rather bleak.
Some ways of getting motivated are based on fear, criticism and aggression. You know the sort: lose weight by deciding you're disgusting or work harder because you don't want to be a 'failure' or trying to achieve goals set by society/other people that don't really work for you. Personally these methods exhaust me and after years of self-criticism & unrealistic expectations I'm finally realising that the best way for me is to accept who I am, try listening to my intuition and live in the moment. I've got far more done this way than I ever did when chasing my tail and exhausting myself with unrealistic expectations. The online challenges (CED2011, Inspiration Avenue, A River of Stones) I'm taking part in are all about inspiration, support and positivity.
  • What positive motivational methods are you using this January?
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Saturday, 8 January 2011

Inspiration Avenue Colour challenge & day 8 of AROS challenge...

The theme for the Inspiration Avenue challenge this week was “colour”. At first my imagination conjured a mix of emerald green with a touch of sea green. The theme also inspired me to play with my new coloured ‘Pitt’ pens I’d been gifted at Christmas. However, out of all my new colours I could not find the shade of green I imagined. The closest colour was to be finally found amongst my children’s new coloured ‘Crayola Supertips’. I was drawn to two colours from my own pack and was also keen to use my new silver Pitt pen. I decided to try and draw a mandala that would incorporate all these colours and the above is the result. Unfortunately neither scanner nor camera picked out the true colours or metallic shine of the silver. If anyone has any recommendations for decent scanners I’d appreciate the advice.
Feathery choir: wood pigeon alto with Celtic flute timbre accompanied by soprano sparrows.
Whilst having a cranial osteopath treatment this afternoon, through the open skylight of the treatment room, I was serenaded by a selection of birds sat in the surrounding trees.
  • How does colour inspire or/and influence your creative work?
  • What/who inspired you today?
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Thursday, 6 January 2011

A River of Small Stones: Days 4, 5, 6 & a small stone photo...

I'm enjoying participating in A River of Stones. I like the chance to focus on the moment; a meditative and creative experience. Reading other participants small stones is inspirational and fun. If you'd like to explore the variety of writing/art/photos go to the main site for links to individuals contributions to the river.

The photo above isn't related to the small stones written below but a small stone in itself. I photographed this in my garden. Fascinated by the beauty of the frost there seemed to be many small stone photos to be taken.

Here are my written 'small stones' for days 4, 5 and 6:
Day 4 – Tuesday 4th January 2011
Rain dance
Un-choreographed bounce
of crystal timpani
on decking;
antidote to a grey day.

 ©Katina Wright 2011

Day 5– Wednesday 5th January 2011
Whirling streamers of
intoxicating aroma
spiral up from my coffee mug
in an exotic slow dance.

©Katina Wright 2011

This next one may be a little long for a small stone but I was inspired today by the stream that runs past my writing hut at the bottom of the garden: 

Day 6 – Thursday 6th January 2011
Fluid companion
whooshing past
in your winter brown guise
on your infinite journey.
I hear your gurgling giggles.
What stories could you share
with your bubbling banter?

 ©Katina Wright 2011

  •  How do you use your creative practice to express the 'small stones' found in everyday life? (ie. poetry, photos, paintings, songs etc...)

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Monday, 3 January 2011

River of Stones Days 2 & 3 (and internet connection problems)

My internet seems to have flu and has gone on strike. Having committed to three online challenges this is a tad inconvenient. I'm at a friend's home for a brief visit to write this but it means I'm not getting a chance to visit your blogs and view other people's challenge submissions until my internet fault is fixed. Meanwhile I shall continue to try and be creative daily, write stones for the river and create for the Inspiration Avenue weekly theme. (See my last blog post for details of these inspiring challenges)

For now, here is a photo of the journal I've covered in handmade papers and decorated especially for A River of Stones and to coincide with my New Year aims (see last blog post). And here are day two and three contributions to A River of Stones:

Bare limbs jostle against
deciduous neighbours
Barren bones
Seeking comfort from
fragrant green.

The ethereal orange halos
of tree tops dipped
in sunset's glow

Both need a little work but I thought I'd post them as they are whilst I have access to an internet connection.

  • Are you participating in any creative communities in 2011?
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Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year 2011 - Trio of online challenges...

This New Year’s Day 2011 brings with it three online challenges.

The first is “A River of Stones” where participants are asked, for every day in January, to notice the small details in life. Day 1 of this challenge is in my graphic above.

The second: Following a very enjoyable time on the Creative Everyday 2010 challenge, I am participating in Creative Everyday 2011”. Click on this link or the lovely blog button to the left to find out more about this very inspiring challenge and its supportive community.

The third is the Inspiration Avenue weekly challenge. This week we are asked to review our creative work and imagine how it will develop in 2011.

2010 can be split into two for me. The first half I was still recovering from a severe MS relapse and I struggled practically with my writing and art because of the resulting disabling symptoms. However, the second half of the year I focused on using my creativity as a form of rehabilitation and exploration. Finding it difficult to work on my novel edits I started to explore all the varying forms of creative expression I enjoyed. Initially I was frustrated that a well edited novel lay unloved. But eventually I was gifted by the inspiration and opportunities that opened up to me by simply taking each day and being creative in any way my intuition led me to. I’ve met some lovely people online, learnt a lot about myself and my health has much improved. I’ve played with and enjoyed different art forms and furthered my writing styles. In 2011 I’m not pressurising myself to work on & submit my YA novel, or the two finished children’s books that lay waiting. Instead I am simply focusing on taking each day, moment by moment, letting my intuition guide me in which way I wish to be creative every day. I’m going to trust that this is all part of my learning and that any publications or career advancements will come if and when they’re needed. I’m sure that I shall panic and doubt. And I can’t deny that I would like to earn a little money again as well as be able to share my words and art. But in 2011 my aims are to trust in myself and live in the moment. From my experience in 2010 this approach can lead to wonderful surprising things and fits better with my health than bashing my self over the head with expectations.

  • Do you have any wishes or aims for 2011? 
I highly recommend any of the above challenges simply because the people who participate on them are wonderful, inspirational and their support may just change your year for the better.

P.S. I've been having a lot of problems with blogger the past couple of days. It took me a few hours just for it to accept this post. Also when visiting blogs (even my own) I can't seem to leave comments. So please accept my apologies - I've not forgotten to visit you I just can't seem to leave you a message to say I stopped by!!

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