Creative Jumpstart

December 20, 2011




I’m not the biggest fan of winter with the Central Valley fog, chilly winds and layers of clothes that require more assemblage than I wish.  Ordinary tasks can feel laden with heaviness as I will myself to follow through on necessary tasks like billing insurance companies or wiping down the kitchen counters.  It’s an easy mistake I can make to imagine that it is those tasks themselves, rather than my attitude that creates discontent and boredom.

During these moments it often occurs to me that I can renew my energy if I can sit down and create a piece of art or practice a song I’m learning for choir practice.  Sometimes I sacrifice that possibility to the Goddess of cleanliness, order or responsibility.  When I’ve achieved the illusion that I am somehow “in control” I can then sit down to encounter myself in a new way.  Take today’s collage, for example.  I’d discovered the word “creativity” on a magazine cover and knew it was the start of something I wanted to explore.  With a penchant for piles, I noticed an etude scores that were the perfect background with their meticulous eighth notes marching up and down.  I’d preserved Glenda the good witch for a time when she was needed.  She brings magic through expression and reminds me transformation is always a possibility with a change of perspective.  The hot air balloon requires little explanation.  What sweet relief there is in floating above it all, enjoying a bigger picture and at the same time, letting go of details that discourage risk taking.  And then there is the window.  It was one of the last images to join the collage.  What can I see around me when I open my eyes from the ground level?  And how can I find an interesting new use or perspective to make me unexpectedly smile?  I don’t know what the green box has to say.  Perhaps winter darkness yielding to a verdant Spring in several months?

I invite you to yield to the creative in you today.  Begin a project that interests or excites you.  Cook a meal with love and new spices.  Have an in depth conversation with your dogs. Approach a difficult topic with a loved one while staying true to knowing more about your own experience as it bubbles up inside of you.   Any activity can be a reminder of the ways in which you are creativity is a potent fuel for  jumpstarting possibility.

Next Steps

October 24, 2011

Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known towards what is arcane and concealed.”  –Khalil Gibran


Creating meaning through collage is a lot like glimpsing how you see your self in that moment.  Sometimes you may have a picture of your future goals and experience anticipation or excitement.  At other times you may be convinced that you “know all there is to know” and find yourself tired, bored or frustrated.  In these difficult economically uncertain times, it is common to feel stressed and overwhelmed.  You may not know how “things will come together”.  There may be more questions than solutions and it can seem hard to even find a place to begin the next step.

Here are a few possibilities to get you started.  Take a few minutes and gaze at your materials.  If you know your focus or theme, lay the image(s) that represent them before you and let yourself enjoy the experience of assembling your materials.  If that seems like “too much” or you’re uncertain of the next step, use your container or envelopes for organization and select images a few at a time.  Notice your interest in each possibility.  Choose several images that intrigue you.  If the idea of a picture doesn’t come, don’t despair.  Choose an element to play with.  Elements are building blocks in your collage vocabulary.  Colors are an element.  Try complementary (similar) or contrasting colors in abstract ways that please you.  Size is another element.  Let yourself place with shapes in various sizes.  Try nature scenes interspersed with textured or solid papers.  See if you can let your curiosity of the unknown guide you.

Now see if a picture or a theme comes to mind.  This might be a goal such as finding a new job or be an emotional state you seek like peacefulness.  Let yourself assemble the “primary language” of this collage in your images, words, colors and shapes.  Ask yourself, “What needs to be added?”  The addition may be a re-arrangement of shapes or the addition or subtraction of a few details.  Above all, notice if there is a critical voice that surfaces during this phase.  Do your best to observe that this is simply one voice amongst others.  Creating art is a process, that like living, flourishes with patience.

If possible, allow about an hour for this process.  At the finish, see if you’re ready to commit to your collage.  If so, use a glue stick or matte material to paste and save your creation.  If you’re not finished, can you find a spot where your images can remain assembled until your next opportunity to  create?  What did you learn about yourself today?  Were you able to find any new perspectives on your theme?  Can you imagine what the next step might be?

Collage as Life

September 30, 2011

“We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” –T.S. Eliot I’m fascinated with the potential of collage as a compass for self-understanding.  Each page offer endless possibilities for journeying to fantastical play or the […]

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