Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Morning Pages eCourse and FaceBook Group

"Animate our dreams" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

The doors for the Morning Pages Daily Art Practice eCourse with an attached FaceBook Group classroom are almost ready for members.  (The FaceBook Group would be a place for community; for sharing images, ideas and questions but is totally optional.)

Over the past couple of years, I've been creating and posting morning pages every day on FaceBook.  Here's what I have learned so far.  If you practice something every day, you get better at it.   If you practice something which encourages thought and reflection every day, you become more thoughtful.  If you practice something which makes you happy every day, you get happier every day.

As a student, I used to wonder about why Edith Kramer, art therapy pioneer, told us to create art every day.  She also encouraged us to keep a journal for things we were learning, for the ideas and questions that come to us.  She suggested that these activities, if engaged in fully, would help us grow into our best selves, that we would be able to see our strengths and resilience unfold.  There are a lot of intrinsic rewards built into utilizing our inner strengths and nothing that promotes freedom, independence,  and a sense of self worth better than the realization that we have the power to create our own inner satisfaction and intrinsic rewards. Over this past two year Morning Pages exploration, I have to admit Edith Kramer had a point about all of this.

This eCourse will be about growing into our best selves, engaging in a daily art practice, the benefits and joys of such a practice, the challenges and even the specifics of collage work and some photoshop tutorials and guidance (because you have asked my how I do what I do, so why not share it).  In the past I have created eCourses with blogs, posting bi-weekly (sometimes more) and that the blog would remain up for a few months after I stop posting.  That makes it self paced and with a FaceBook group we can continue to play.  Hope that sounds of interest!

If so, just $15 will get you the course, the group, and a bonus eZine "Art Dreams (Lani's Morning Pages).

If you just want the zine without the course, it's yours for $10.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #52 - The 13th Secret for a Happy Artist's Life.

"Imagine are creating satisfied lives" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

Life can be difficult, the road uncertain, but we can remember to bring art supplies and friends! 

There was a wonderful New York Times article back in April 21, 2009 on the importance of friendship. Although most of the article was about how friendship actually helps us live longer, more healthy lives, it was the very end of the article that caught my eye.

Researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone.
The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.

“People with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to,” said Karen A. Roberto, director of the center for gerontology at Virginia Tech. “Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message of these studies is that friends make your life better.”
So here's today's challenge based on the 13th secret of our 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life: Make art with friends. The road will be less difficult, the hill will be easier to climb. If you can't find a friend to make are with at this moment, then make art as a gift. See how it feels.  Enjoy it!!!   As always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #51 - Dare to be Happy!

"Dare to be Happy" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
This challenge is pure fun!  Go to the "Life is Good" website, where you will find a section of Good Vibes (or just click here if you don't have time to explore), and just have a whole lot of fun, book mark the page and hang out there whenever you need a boost.  But specifically, for today's challenge, look at the 50 Ways to Have More Fun Today!  It's a great list full of little moving pictures of milk shakes and hula hoops.  So much fun.  Then create an art piece that will remind you to check in on your level of fun as much as possible.  Put it in an area of your life where you need it most.  As always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #50 - Create Some WabiSabi Art

"Create Some Love" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

In a complex, disposable, highly stressed world, why not create something that reminds you of the value of what is precious, simple, old, revered, and imperfect.   Create a little wabi-sabi art that will  soothe the stressed mind, because it will celebrate the things that we have loved, things imperfect, and things well worn! 

My favorite author on things wabi-sabi is Leonard Koren. In "Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers" Koren describes wabi-sabi as a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, a beauty of things modest and humble, and a beauty of things unconventional. He also says wabi-sabi is deep, multi-dimensional, elusive, and because of this wabi-sabi is the perfect antidote to the stress and pressures of modern life.

Wabi-sabi art could take an intuitive world-view in which things are relative, soft edged, ambiguous, contradictory, flexible, and idiosyncratic. One-of-a-kind, personally meaningful objects are valueable. Materials might be gleaned from nature, since wabi-sabi celebrates the fundamental impermanence of all things natural.

Have fun creating something precious, simple, old-looking, revered, and/or imperfect.  As always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #49 - Create your own Funk-Busting Art

"Handle With Care" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
Over at 14 Secrets the question came up, "what do you do when you find yourself in a creative funk?" and there were so many fun answers I thought I'd put a few of them down here.  Then it seemed like a good idea for an art challenge, since the ideas offered were quite evocative.  So here's the challenge.  Think about your favorite solution to the creative blahs or read about some of the ones we came up with.  Or take yourself to a gallery or art museum.  Then create a piece in response.

Have fun, enjoy your funk-busting, and as always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

(While researching this challenge I stumbled on this description of how the best art and writing can inspire us.  Perfect.)
"The best art and writing is almost like an assignment; it is so vibrant that you feel compelled to make something in response. Suddenly it is clear what you have to do. For a brief moment it seems wonderfully easy to live and love and create breathtaking things. ...In a sense, these are assignments -- in the same way that the ocean gives the assignment of breathing deeply, and kissing instructs us to stop thinking."  -Learning to Love You More

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #48 - Create some vacation art!

"Closed for Restoration" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

"A life of happiness is always possible, make the choice to make it YOUR life of happiness." (from the Soul Restoration eCourse)

I've been away from my computer, some teaching and some playing and lots of restoration.  Here's a challenge for you!  Create some vacation art or self-restoration art for yourself!   Take various favorite elements and mix them together in a new way.  Leave space to add some encouraging words to remind yourself to take well-being breaks.

Have fun, enjoy your mini vacation, and as always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fun Monday Challenge #47 - 5:57 Min. storytelling experiment with Paul Zak

"Anything can happen" collage by Lani textures by FlyPaper.
This fun challenge is based on Dr. Paul Zak's storytelling, cortisol and oxytocin.  In an amazingly short period of time, Zak takes us through a story which raises both cortisol and oxytocin and explains his research into how vital it is for humanity to share stories.

He tells an emotionally charged, very short, touching story and offers a simple yet remarkable case study in how our brains respond to effective storytelling. As part of his study, Dr. Zak closely monitored the neural activity of hundreds of people who viewed this touching story. What he discovered is that even a simple and short narrative can evoke powerful empathic responses associated with the specific neurochemicals, cortisol and oxytocin. He found these brain responses can translate readily into concrete action such as generous donations to charity and even monetary gifts to fellow participants.  He comes  to some very interesting conclusions about storytelling and prosocial behaviors.

Now here's the art challenge part of this post.  I have observed my own creative pursuits seem to follow a similar pattern as his observations about prosocial behavior.  If I have a spike in cortisol and then oxytocin there seems to be no difficulty at all in the creative process.  It's almost as if this neurochemistry provides oil for my creative cogs and wheels.  So why not try this little experiment, watch Paul Zak's 5:57 minute video and then work on an art piece.
Have fun, enjoy your neurochemistry, and as always, feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool