Instagram round up of Flower Girls! :) (Follow me in on Instagram HERE).
These flower girls keep turning up in my journal, I’m thinking of making them into a class, what do you think? There will be a heavy focus on working with Tombows and inks. :)
Instagram round up of Flower Girls! :) (Follow me in on Instagram HERE).
These flower girls keep turning up in my journal, I’m thinking of making them into a class, what do you think? There will be a heavy focus on working with Tombows and inks. :)
Hi Guys! Welcome to a series we run on the blog called: Tea & Cake with Gracie :) My awesome friend and colleague Gracie Howle interviews inspiring artists and posts the interviews (including some free offers not published elsewhere before) here on the blog every 2 months or so. I love to create art and bring amazing artists & people together in my classes, in person and on social media. As part of this drive, I want to help bring more exposure to some of the amazing artists out there! Today Gracie’s interviewing Violette Clark. Make sure you check out Violette’s giveaway, free video tutorial and gift for you below! Tam xoxo
If you love Artist Interviews make sure you read the previous Tea and Cake with Gracie ones – click on artist’s name to go to their interview: Melissa Dinwiddie / Tascha Parkinson / Susana Tavares / Lynn Whipple / Karine Bossé / Jenny Grant / France Papillon / Jenny Wentworth / Kristin Dudish / Rachael Rice / Angela Kennedy (Pennystamper) / Andrea Gomoll
Hello! Gracie here :) I hope your February was AWESOME! Spring is starting to show here in the South of England, little bulbs are starting to peep up in the grass and I’m keeping my eye out for the first daffodil, that always says to me ‘winter is over’! :) Take some time now with your feet up, grab your tea / coffee / kombucha / drink of choice :) …and read about Violette Clark in the interview below. Enjoy! :)
1. Welcome Violette! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Violette Clark – I live in gorgeous Sechelt, B.C. Canada right near the water and mountains. It’s such a quiet peaceful spot that I am forever grateful for. I was born in Casablanca Morocco but have lived in Canada most of my life. Perhaps that’s where I got my love of colour, pattern and glitter! I’m inspired by the scenery, the peace, forests and ocean here. I’m a Mom of 2 and grandmother of 3 lovely boys who call me meme! One thing I would love to share is how much art saves lives. It has saved my life – In particular art journaling. Art journaling is something I stumbled upon many years ago and when I found out how it could elevate my spirit and make me happy I became an art journal evangelist! I shared everything I knew on my blog and through various online platforms as well as through online classes such as life book and 21 Secrets. It was such a blessing to witness how art journaling transformed many other lives as well. Soon I will be teaching a couple of live art journaling workshops in my community.
Violette’s giving away 2 of her “Love who you are” dog tag necklaces, 5 postcards and 3 bookmarks to one lucky reader! :D
To enter this giveaway: leave a comment in the box below (near the bottom of this page) for a chance to win the goodies above. The winner will be chosen at random on 3rd April and announced right here on this page.
Violette’s also created this, brand new and just for us, art video: ‘Fun with Caricatures’:
(Click the ‘play button’ to watch this video or click on the review link here: Review Link)
Violette’s offering all you lovely readers the gorgeous print below too :) (Pls note this print is to use and share for personal use only and, if you’re reposting online or on social media, we’d appreciate it if you include a reference link to Violette’s site: www.violette.ca. Thanks for understanding!)
Download the high res version by right-clicking on the image above and choose ‘save target as’ / ‘download linked file as’ or download from this link: BelievePrintVioletteClark.JPG
Learn more about Violette by reading the following interview:
2. When you taught on Life Book 2015 you gave us a tour of your ‘Magic Cottage‘ where you used to create and make your art. You say ‘wherever you live it should be an expression of who you are’. You’ve recently moved, can you tell us a bit about how you are making your new home into a creative space and expression of who you are?
Yes – to me art is not just about creating small art pieces – it’s about the way you live your life, how you decorate your home and yard and how you dress. We moved from the Magic Cottage 6 months ago and bought a home in a quiet seaside village in a fairly conservative neighbourhood. Very slowly I am beginning to transform my home into a place which reflects who I am. The yard has my garden art in it, silverware chandelier and lately a big wooden heart with the words “You are loved” painted on it to greet passerbys with a sweet message. Soon there will be a Peace pole with our address and other whimsical embellishments in the front yard. My home is filledwith my art, two of my painted doors and 100’s and 100’s of beloved books. So it totally does express who I am but maybe in a bit subtler way. I am 62 years old and as I age I am seeking more peace and not as much crazy colour everywhere – although I still do have my colourful art around. I am focusing more on how to combine my spirituality and art and how to share that with the world.
3. You released the book: ‘Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric‘. Can you tell us a a bit about that? Will you be releasing anymore books in the future?
As I mentioned above when I discovered art journaling many years ago I became a fanatic and wanted to share it with as many people as I could – I shared it on my blog, with my newsletter subscribers, through e-magazines, real life magazines, other peoples books and eventually my own book – Journal Bliss. My book was all about how to art journal and the joys of doing so. It was one of the earliest Art Journaling books. I am very proud of it. Today you can find many others on the topic. I don’t have any plans to release anymore books in the future – however I never say never! If I could team up with someone on the same wavelength that would be great. it would have to be a book which encompasses spirituality and art.
4. If you had to choose three art supplies, what three would you choose and why?
The three art supplies I would choose are: Micron pens (I adore them!), watercolour pencil crayons or plain pencil crayons, watercolours or twinkling H2O’s. I don’t feel you need very many art supplies to create. I find it overwhelming how many art supplies there are these days, more and more are being released every day. Since I have moved to a smaller place I have challenged myself to make do with what I have since I have little storage in my new home. These three supplies do not take up too much space thankfully. I do also use acrylic paints and washi tape, and some felt pens like tombow markers. But seriously if you are a beginning art journaler don’t go out and spend a fortune – start with a few supplies and see what fits with what you are creating. Challenge yourself to create with only a few different supplies. The three supplies I have listed are the ones I return to again and again.
5. What’s your ‘go to’ when your creative mojo needs a boost?
When my creative mojo needs a boost I usually change things up and go for a walk in my quiet neighbourhood or go visit my God Rock which is a rock I love to stand on by the ocean – it’s only a 5 minute drive away. Being in nature rejuvenates my spirit and helps me get in touch with that which is truly important in my life. I also love to simply sit with a journal and a pencil and begin to randomly draw something – anything. Often that’s when magic happens. That which is unexpressed or wants to come out (unbeknownst to my conscious mind) spills onto the page! It’s awesome!
Thanks for being here with us! :) See you for Tea and Cake next time! Love Gracie x
Find more about Violette Clark by clicking on the links below:
Live workshop in March at the Oracle Store: theoracle.ca/classes
Hi lovely readers! Gracie here from Willowing – hello! :)
For our Artist Spotlight (a new feature we are running on the blog!) this month we are featuring Mahe Zehra Husain with a bit of an interview and she’s also giving away a copy of the BRAND NEW book ‘Around the World with 80 Artists’ which is due for release July 2017! :)
Mahe has brought together artists from around the world to create a book, ‘Around the World with 80 Artists‘, that includes everything from coloring pages to cut and create projects to mixed media tutorials and, as soon as the book is published, Mahe is giving us a copy to giveaway!
Here’s more on the book from Mahe:
‘Support an arts and crafts book by 80 artists from 22 countries and help unite the world through the love of creativity. The amazing projects in this creative book range from coloring pages to cut and create projects, mixed media tutorials to scrapbooking and more! We’ll have you hooked… creating something new everyday. 20% of the proceeds from this project go to The Malala Fund that focuses on providing an education for girls all over the world. That’s a win-win! I came up with this project idea to demonstrate how artists and creatives from so many different countries can come together and create something beautiful. I wanted to celebrate our common love of creativity!’
How to enter this Giveaway:
Enter this giveaway by leaving a comment in the box below (near the bottom of this page). The winners will be chosen at random on 5th April and announced right here on this page :) Please note: this giveaway can only be made possible if it reaches it’s funding goal (find out how you can help the campaign by clicking here: Around the World with 80 Artists Campaign). More about the book here: Around the World with 80 Artists.
Read all about Mahe Zehra Husain and the book ‘Around the World with 80 Artists‘ in the interview below.
1. Mahe, you are the ‘brains’ behind the book, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Well, I am a mathematician by profession. I have one masters degree in pure mathematics and one in Operations Research. I have always been fond of numbers and in love with colors. This love for creating and playing with color has really lent balance to my otherwise numbers driven life. I have always felt more productive when I took both my profession and my love of creating together – hand in hand.
Many people stress that folks either have a dominant left brain or a right brain, my belief is that we were given both for a reason. The way to find balance and happiness in life is to take both parts and exercise them and use them. I think creativity can be found within us all. We just have to give ourselves permission to play.
After my masters I started a career in software. I have been running a software and digital media company for a few years now. But I have also started my own online creative academy – The Creative Art Academy – where I offer fun e-books and short online courses. All of these resources are developed for all sorts of creatives, artists and crafters. My biggest goal is to encourage adults to let the child in them come out and play.2. Tell us a bit about the book and how the concept was born.
This book is a project very close to my heart! When I started interacting with artists and creatives online one thing was abundantly clear, we are a very supportive and loving community. We may speak different languages and have varied beliefs, but we are all kind and very open to sharing ideas.
I had created a collaborative e-book before focused on green crafting. It was called The Green Crafts Lifestyle. The book did very well on Amazon Kindle and we made it all the way to World No. 2 on Amazon. After that experience I decided to do a book that would bring artists from different geographies together in one book. The whole idea was to highlight our common love of creating. In this day and age when most people fight over the smallest differences I wanted to bring artists together to celebrate our common love – that of creating.
3. Who’s the book for?
The book is for everyone. We have everything from coloring pages to cut and create projects to mixed media tutorials and much much more. There is something in this book for everyone.
4. 20% of the proceeds from your book will go to The Malala Fund. Can you tell us why you’ve chosen The Malala Fund and what they do?
We chose The Malala Fund because this fund focuses on giving education to girls in developing countries. Girls have such enormous potential and most of them don’t even get a high school education. The way to a more tolerant and peaceful world is through education and that’s why we wanted to support the Malala Fund.
5. What’s your favourite thing about this project?
The variety! There is so much in this book – from watercolor tutorials to art journalling, from coloring to cutting and pasting. I feel like this is the perfect activity book for adults. It also has a very unique flavor since we have asked artists to share some pictures of their home towns, favorite recipes, poems and more. So not only is this is an arts and crafts book it is also a virtual trip around the world. I LOVE that.
6. Tell us a bit about the Indiegogo campaign you are launching for the book.
The artists have all graciously provided the projects for free. We need money for the production – layout and design – and the printing of the book. We also have to pay for shipping this book to customers all over the world. Of course 20% of the proceeds go to the Malala Fund too. I’m launching this as a crowd funding campaign because I feel that there are so many creatives all over the world who would like to own a book as unique as this. I am sure we will have support pouring in from all over the globe.
7. You say on your website that the book has ‘many new artists and creative folk (80 in total) who have all come together to work on one project with love and creativity flowing in from many different countries of the world‘. Can you tell us some more about who these artists are?
Well we have a lot of artists from many different countries. Like I said there are 80 of us and we come from 22 different countries! France, USA, India, Pakistan, Germany, Australia, Italy, England and many many more. We have several artists who are designer members of The Craft and Hobby Association. Several teach online classes too! So the quality of the projects in this book is just incredible.
More about ‘Around the World with 80 Artists‘:
Around the World with 80 Artists is an arts and crafts book like nothing you’ve seen before!
This book was brought to life by 80 artists from 22 countries. Each of these artists contributed a project to make this book uniquely special. You will find 80 step by step craft projects for the beginner to intermediate to the advanced crafter and artist, but most of all you’ll be able to see that creativity is something that holds this earth together and brings us all closer together. We want to celebrate our common love of creativity with this book and want to share with you incredible arts and crafts projects that make their way to you from 22 different countries.
We need your help!
To bring this unique book to the world we need your support! You can pledge your support to get a printed copy of this book full of beautiful step by step pictures and instructions to complete each project. The book will be printed in full color on beautiful paper (we hope) and will make it’s way to you before July this year. This book will make awesome presents for all the creatives on your list as well!
This book contains…
The book will contain over 250 pages full of artsy and crafty goodness. Some of the things you will be able to find in this book are:
The projects will range from coloring pages to mixed media to scrapbooking, card making, cut and create and much more! The best thing? This book is for EVERYONE! It has been designed to help unlock your right brain and add creativity to your life.
Around the World with 80 Artists will have you creating using paper, glue, colored pencils, paint and more. Remember how much fun this was when we did it as kids? Let’s find that magic again!
Each project is unique and you will find something to suit every mood. This is also a great book if you’re looking to get acquainted with many different arts and crafts.
How will this book make a difference?
20% of the proceeds from this project will go to The Malala Fund to help girls gain an education all over the world. Girls who might otherwise not get their chance at a basic human right. Let’s support creativity and education! Find out more at www.malala.org.
Through this book you will be introduced to many various art techniques, many countries of the world and many creative folk who love to use their right brain. The range and depth of arts and crafts projects is something that has surprised all of us! We’re astounded at the variety of things that are in this book and quite frankly I can’t wait to play with my copy too!
To make this book a reality please consider pledging your support to this campaign. We have awesome rewards and would love for you to be a part of the awesome group that brings this book to life.
Find out more and join in here: Around the World with 80 Artists
Hello beautiful you’s. :)
On V-day each year I like to change the focus a little bit from the love for and of “other” to the love for and of your beautiful glorious self. I like to invite you this year to buy chocolates and flowers NOT ONLY for other people but ALSO for yourself.
Not only that, I would love to encourage you to deepen your self-love/ self-care/ self-compassion practices (or to start a self-love practice if you don’t have one yet)! Sounds good? :-)
(And by self love I don’t mean: egotism or self-glorification/ absorption, I mean: treating & loving yourself the same way you might do your child or sister, friend or mother, a person you love dearly – eg: with kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, softness. Self love also means; working on stabilising your confidence and esteem; realising you are good enough, worthy, that you matter as much as anyone else… that sorta thing! :))
More and more do I realise how so many of us suffer from self-judgement, self rejection, low self esteem, low self worth. I’ve come to believe that it’s one of the BIGGEST things that stands in the way of growth, abundance, love, light, beauty, living our dreams and yes yes, even: world peace. (Low self worth can cause depression and pain – hurt people, hurt people, right?).
So today, on V-day I encourage you to start practising more self love more self compassion, more ‘sitting with the wholeness and fullness of you’, allowing your feelings to be, allowing you to experience all that you experience, forgiving yourself, asking for help, letting go of shame and guilt, saying no more, saying yes more, stop blaming yourself, being gentle and kind with yourself, seeing your worth, noticing the amazing impact and difference you make in this world.
“But Tam”, I hear you ask, “how”?
I know that sometimes ‘self-love’ can sound a bit vague, what does it mean? Should I take more baths? Buy a new dress for myself? A pedicure? A manicure? :) Self-acceptance/ self-care and self-love goes more deeply than that. If you’re interested, check out my ‘self love tv’ series on youtube, where I talk about self love practises that might be helpful. I’m gonna try to update it more this year! :)
Anyhoo, I think you get my message this Valentine’s Day:
* you are loved *
YOU be the second! :)
And here is a FREE high res print of a cute little bear I created in my art journal recently. I love him so much, he’s got such a sweet, unconditionally loving expression on his face! I want you to have him hang around your studio or house to remind you that you are a loved and worthy being and do share with your friends if you like! :) (Pls note this print is to use and share for personal use only thanks for understanding!) xoox
Have a wonderful V-day everyone, may it inspire you to more self-love, less self-blame and an awe and complete acceptance of the wholeness and fullness of beautiful amazing YOU.
If you want to work more on self love & self acceptance AND develop your creative skills whilst having tons of fun, please consider joining Life Book 2017. We started in January but you can absolutely still join us!
Life Book has been joined by over 15200+ people since it first began in 2012. It’s had roaring success through teaching participants creativity and personal development skills.
Hey wonderful creative friends, here a little blog post about creating a (Tam) Dreamboard that helps you manifest your dreams and call into your life what you want more of. My version of the dream board is a bit different from the more traditional one (where you mostly and only cut out collage pieces and glue them together onto a board). By contrast I like including my own face, paint, collage, doodles, affirmations and quotes too!! :)
This is one of my favourite type of paintings to create. Whenever I create a painting like this I go into a ‘zone’ of gentle, soothing self care. As I paint & decorate my face, surrounding myself with affirming imagery and words, it’s like I lovingly caress and care for myself.
In this particular painting I first do an acrylics transfer of an image of my face, I then collage the background and layer over/ paint my face and background, adding imagery and positive affirmations + words & quotes that help soothe/ affirm me and call in the things I want to manifest. It’s a healing, sacred process, really. :)
My February lesson for Life Book 2017 has just been ‘aired’. I demonstrate in depth how I create the Dreamboard painting below. People are already loving it and sharing their beautiful versions of the painting! If you want to join Life Book 2017, you still can and you’ll get access to all previously posted content. Hope to see you there!
Here’s a work in progress shot:
Here are some close ups:
Hi Guys! Welcome to a series we run on the blog called: Tea & Cake with Gracie :) My awesome friend and colleague Gracie Howle interviews inspiring artists and posts the interviews (including some free offers not published elsewhere before) here on the blog every 2 months or so. I love to create art and bring amazing artists & people together in my classes, in person and on social media. As part of this drive, I want to help bring more exposure to some of the amazing artists out there! Today Gracie’s interviewing the awesome Melissa Dinwiddie. Make sure you check out Melissa’s giveaway, free video tutorial and gifts for you below! Tam xoxo
If you love Artist Interviews make sure you read the previous Tea and Cake with Gracie ones – click on artist’s name to go to their interview: Tascha Parkinson / Susana Tavares / Lynn Whipple / Karine Bossé / Jenny Grant / France Papillon / Jenny Wentworth / Kristin Dudish / Rachael Rice / Angela Kennedy (Pennystamper) / Andrea Gomoll
Hi awesome readers of Tam’s blog, Gracie here! :) I got to interview the lovely, multi-talented Melissa Dinwiddie AND she gave us a copy of her fab book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, to giveaway to one lucky reader! :D PLUS she made us a free video art tutorial too! Check out all her gifts and interview below. Enjoy! :)
1. Welcome Melissa! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m an artist, author, and speaker, but really what I am is a creativity instigator. My mission on the planet is to get people creating. You could call me a teacher, and I’ve taught art and calligraphy (and many other things, too) for years, but the bulk of what I teach now is not so much art techniques, but rather how to shed the “skins” that are no longer useful.
My superpower lies in helping people to reclaim their innate entitlement to creative play.
Here’s an example: Have you ever signed up for a course that you were super excited about, but then you never participated, or didn’t participate as much as you’d hoped, because everyone else’s work was so amazing that you just felt like crawling into a hole? The voices in your head said you weren’t good enough, you’re not really an artist, you can’t do it, and then you beat yourself up because you spent all that money, and you didn’t do anything with it? That’s where I come in. The people who come to me after that kind of experience emerge from our work transformed, creating every day, making more art than they ever thought possible, and loving it. In short, I help people transform their relationship with their creativity from one of angst and pain to one of joy and ease.
We have a copy of Melissa’s book, ‘The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life’, to giveaway to one lucky reader!
Here’s a bit about the book from Melissa:
‘Filled with paradigm-shifting lessons and stories, journal questions, thought-provoking creative prompts, and coloring pages, The Creative Sandbox Way offers 10 “guideposts” and “creative invitations” with each guidepost that will help you take the fear out of creating and bring back the joy.’
Find more about the book here: The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life
*GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED * GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED:
Thank you to everyone for joining in the giveaway and for your comments! The randomly drawn winner is:
Congratulations Marsha! :)
Take a look at Melissa’s (brand new and just for us!) art vid: ‘Every Woman Is Exceptional – Altered Book – Book Poetry’ (note the singing and music in the video – it’s Melissa!):
(Click the ‘play button’ to watch this video or click on the review link here: Review Link)
Melissa’s also gifting the first 50 pages of her book: The Creative Sandbox Way, plus a printable download of her “5 Reminders” poster. Claim your gifts by clicking on the image below or clicking here: http://melissadinwiddie.com/willowing
Learn more about Melissa by reading the following interview:
2. You say: ‘You can’t just paint over the grey. A full-color life is colored from the inside, by paying attention to your true hungers and feeding them well‘. I love that! I can see how you live by that; you have many different outlets for your creativity (visual art, writing, music, theatre, podcasts, (public) speaking about creativity -wowsa! Did I miss anything out?!). Can you tell us which you are drawn to the most, or the most often, and why?
Visual art seems to be a consistent anchor for me, but as a passion pluralite (AKA a multipassionate, Renaissance soul, multipotentialite, etc.) I’m always loathe to pick a favorite anything. For a long time I wished I could pick a favorite, because oh, how I wished I could just stick with one and become “The Best” at something. But I’m simply not wired that way — I get bored! It took me into my 30s to finally figure out that I do get to do everything, just not all at the same time.
It was then that I landed on what I now call my Stovetop Model of Life Design. You know how we talk about putting something on the back burner? Well, my Stovetop Model takes this metaphor to the next level. It’s based on your typical, old-fashioned, four burner stovetop, because I’ve figured out that I can have about four “areas of adoration” simmering in metaphorical pots on my passion pluralite stovetop at any given time. Fewer than that and I start to get bored (your mileage may vary!) Any more than that and things start to get too crazy.
Think about it: even the most skilled chef wouldn’t be able to keep track of 100 pots cooking all at the same time! Even twenty would be too many. Four, though, that’s manageable. Maybe one of your pots is your family, and one is your business. Maybe one is your visual art, and one is Argentine Tango, which you’ve gotten really passionate about lately. It’s up to you. Or if you’re a new mom, maybe your new baby takes up three pots for now, until she’s grown up a bit. If you’re writing a book, as I just did at the end of last year, the book might take up two or three pots until it’s done.
Now here’s the beautiful part: the burners never move, but you can rotate pots at will, and you can adjust the flame — the amount of energy you give to the pots on each burner! The front, right burner, that’s the “hi-speed” burner, which cooks hotter than the rest, so when you’re really focused, right now, in the moment, guess where the pot is sitting? The front, right burner. The rest of the pots can simmer, and get a stir here and there, but your main focus is on that pot on the front, right burner, because in the moment, we can really only focus on one thing at a time.
Plus, here’s the other really beautiful part of this metaphor: not only can you move pots around on the stove, but you can take pots off the stove and swap them out for other pots that might be waiting in the fridge or the deep freeze. You can even whip up brand new pots from ingredients in your cupboard or in the grocery store! It’s an infinitely flexible metaphor that allows for passion pluralites like me to indulge our multiple passions, without feeling like we’re abandoning any of them forever, while still making space to focus. And it keeps us from overcommitting and stalling out from trying to take on too much at one time.
3. In your words you ‘lived a very grey life for decades at a time. It took (you) a long time to embrace the labels “Creative” and “Artist” … (you) figured out how to get past the struggle and on with the joy’. Can you tell us a bit about this, how you came out of the grey?
The first time I came out of the grey was the summer after I’d gotten married to my first husband. I’d recently completed a masters degree, and also recently decided not to pursue the academic career path I’d been on, so I felt pretty lost. I spent the summer after the wedding “trying” to be a writer, but I was so paralyzed by perfectionism that I barely wrote a thing.
And here’s an irony: I actually started doing arts and crafts as a form of procrastination! I hadn’t really created with my hands since I was a child, and I had forgotten how much fun it was. Coming back to this kind of creative expression was profoundly liberating, and it truly did feel like I’d suddenly discovered the color saturation knob on my life.
Of course, I was also filled with deep insecurity — I wasn’t a real artist! I hadn’t gone to art school! Who did I think I was? But thankfully I didn’t let my fears stop me. In fact, I ultimately turned my love of creating into full-fledged business as a calligrapher and ketubah artist (a ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract, a traditional part of every Jewish wedding ceremony). For a dozen years or so I made my living as a professional artist and teacher, but over time, there was so much pressure on my art to make money that I stopped making art for me.
Which leads us to the second time I came out of the grey, back in 2010, and my answer to your next question…
4. Can you tell us about your ‘Creative Sandbox‘ and how that started?
I’d been growing increasingly burned out on my art business, which by this point had become “just a job.” And meanwhile the U.S. economy had tanked, and my business had taken a nose dive. For a couple of years I “threw money at the problem,” trying to revive my ketubah business to its former glory, but I really only succeeded in driving myself into debt.
Then I lost a big sale, and my boyfriend betrayed me, all in the same two-week period. It was as if the Universe had walloped me upside the head with a 2×4.
I realized something had to change, and a big part of that was that I needed to get back to creating for joy, not just for money.
I was so mired in perfectionist paralysis, though, that I literally had to develop a set of “rules” for myself, in order to let go of the perfectionism learn how to play again! I needed to think like a small child playing in a sandbox, which is how the metaphor of a Creative Sandbox came about, and the “rules” I developed eventually evolved into the 10 Guideposts that I write about in my book, The Creative Sandbox Way.
Now I run an online community for women creators called the Creative Sandbox, where we practice these Creative Sandbox principles and support each other in living them daily. We share our creations, our challenges, and our successes, in an online forum, and I host live group calls twice a month so we can get together in real time, almost like open office hours around the coffee table in my living room. We also have monthly Studio Work Days, where we meet up in real time to get stuff done together, and ArtShares, where members gather to share what they’ve been creating, and share creative tools and resources. There’s an archive of art tutorials, interviews with creatives, and even business and marketing lessons for artists, in the membership site, but all the members say the real value is in the community. The heart connections and the support in the group is amazing, and the live calls I do are absolutely my favorite part of my job. I always leave feeling so energized!
5. Guide us through your usual work day and what it looks like.
Ha! Usual work day? There really is no usual work day! That said, I do try to maintain a morning routine, which evolves over time, but currently looks something like this:
From there, I typically hop on my computer and tackle my daily priorities. I have a standing desk, with a cheap little treadmill that my husband hacked for me to sit underneath it, so I can walk while I type. I average about 90 minutes of walking a day, which helps me not to feel so guilty if I don’t get a workout in!
I generally aim to keep my mornings free for creative work, which can include strategizing, writing, speech writing, podcast recording, art, and music. Afternoons are generally for phone calls, appointments, and administrative tasks. It should be noted that all of the above is the target I aim for, not necessarily what I achieve on a regular basis. I used to feel badly about myself when I would miss the mark, but I’ve learned to forgive myself for being human, and I now find it useful to have something to aim for, even if I don’t always hit the bullseye.
Also, while I don’t have a typical day, I’ve been working on a “block” scheduling my week, so that certain days — or chunks of days — are dedicated to specific tasks, or types of tasks. For example, some people I know take all their client calls on Mondays only. So far, however, except for Tuesdays as podcast creation days (which is fairly consistent, because my podcast goes live at 6:00 AM every Wednesday), this is definitely a work in progress for me.
Like everything else in life, I expect my schedule, and my relationship to it, to evolve as I do.
Follow the links below to find more about Melissa! :)
Thanks for being here :) See you for Tea and Cake next time! Love Gracie x
The Creative Sandbox Way: creativesandboxway.com
Creative Sandbox Community for Women: creativesandboxcommunity.com
Melissa’s teaching on Life Book 2017 with us this year – yayyy! You can learn from Melissa and many other awesome teachers by signing up to Life Book 2017 here:
www.willowing.org/life-book-2017 Come and join us! :)
Hello lovely people! Gracie here from Willowing – hello! :)
I’m super excited and proud to present our Artist Spotlight of the month (it’s a new type of feature we are running on the blog!)
We are featuring the one and only Carla Sonheim with a bit of an interview and she’s also giving away THREE spots on her BRAND NEW Year Long Course: 365 Activate Your Art Brain. How exciting is that!?!
Carla has been a wonderful contributor and teacher on Life Book and Ever After, and we here at Willowing are thrilled to be able to giveaway THREE spots on her FAB new course 365: Activate Your Art Brain (a Video Every Day), which is $198 US Dollar’s worth of awesome online class yumminess! The course started on 1st January 2017 and runs for the year, but you can still join throughout the year.
Here’s what Carla says:
…(it’s a) ‘Choose Your Own Adventure class… you can try to do the prompts daily, you can pick and choose the ones that speak to you, or you can simply work the class on more of a “thinking level” in those times of the year when you get really busy!‘
Giveaway Winners Announced – yayyy!
Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments and for joining the giveaway! The Giveaway is now closed and the 3 (randomly drawn) winners are:
1. Violet Davenport2. Jennifer Johnson Richey3. Jennie
Congratulations guys! :)
Find out more about the lovely Carla Sonheim:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself Carla and what you do.
First and most important, I am a mother of two and grandmother of three! I also love to draw and paint, and for the past six years my husband, Steve, and I have been producing online art classes via “Carla Sonheim Presents.”
In April 2010 I offered my first online class, a pdf worksheet-based class called “The Art of Silliness.” I launched it hoping to get people interested in my book, “Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists,” which came out a few months later.
The online class format was a great fit and so year laterSteve joined in with his video and business expertise and eventually we began adding other artist-teachers, including Diane Culhane, Lynn Whipple, Cat Bennett, Karine Swenson, Fred Lisaius, and Dar Hosta James, with classes in drawing, painting and mixed-media.
Each year I do an intensive year-long art/creativiy class, which keeps me busy! This is my fifth year; the previous four years were “2013: Year of the Giraffe,” “2014: Year of the Fairy Tale,” “2015 “Year of the Spark” (co-taught with Lynn Whipple), and “2016: Y is for Yellow.”
Our 2017 class is our most ambitious yet, and is really a collaboration with my husband and many other artists: “365: Activate Your Art Brain (A Video Every Day).”
We live/work in a studio in downtown Seattle.
2. On your site you talk about how your classes take on a ‘serious and silly’ approach to help students move through the nervousness of drawing and creating (LOVE this – it sounds so FUN!!). You say:
‘…when I began teaching adults…I found that many people felt nervous about drawing… “serious and silly” approach sums up what we do with our online classes…‘
You’ve even written books with your ‘serious and silly’ theme woven in (The Art of Silliness and 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun). Can you tell us a little about how you make your classes ‘serious and silly’ and maybe give us some examples?
I think I will answer this with a story: My youngest son, Wes, was very precocious when he was young and would get actually get indignant if I tried to read him books that sounded “simple.” For example, he wanted me to read him the REAL Bible or the ACTUAL Grimm’s Fairy Tale (not the children’s book versions).
When he was six I started teaching art in his 1st grade classroom as a volunteer, and by this time Wes had trained me not to “dumb things down” just because he was a kid.
But of course, the assignments needed to be FUN, because keeping 20 kids interested can be hard without the fun-factor!
So I took real drawing exercises — blind contours, contour drawings, observational drawing exercises — and made them as fun as I could. I had the kids bring in toys and stuffed animals to draw, or I had them draw a detail of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel with the paper taped under the desks. I found that the students were far more interested in drawing their own cars than they were a random group of fruit, for example… they were connected to their subjects on a much deeper level, which then produced better drawings!
I started teaching adults a few years later and found out very quickly that there was a lot of pain and shame around drawing… so I tried presenting the material in the same way I had to my group of 1st graders. We drew silly things (like stuffed animals) in a serious way: blind contours, contours, charcoal with shading etc. In addition, we drew serious things in “silly ways: portraits of our neighbors with our non-dominant hands, for example. What we found was that even though the resultant drawings might not be technically perfect, they had much more CHARM because they had been born from a place of fun and silliness rather than from a place of “should,s”
By the end of a 3-hour or 6-hour class, people were surprising themselves with how “good” they actually were at drawing and never knew it! In addition, they embraced the wonkiness of other drawings as “better” than anything they thought they wanted to do in the beginning.
So that is how I try to keep all of my classes, whether it is drawing, watercolor, or mixed-media: we draw serious things in silly ways and silly things in serious ways. We keep it fun for ourselves, which keeps us engaged in the process, which results in a better and more fulfilling experience (and the drawings are better too!).
3. Carla I love your cloud experiments! (click here to see Carla’s cloud experiments). Can you tell us a bit about how they came about?
Thank you, Gracie, that is nice of you to say! This series was what came out of me during my 2016 year-long class, “Y is for Yellow.” I had planned to do a series of children’s book” illustrations, but for some reason I kept coming back to the clouds and rain. :D
I had a pretty hard year emotionally for various reasons, and I do live in Seattle, Washington, so I think the clouds and rain were resultant of both of these things! I love that art is always a reflection of our lives, despite our own plans. ;)
They are made with watercolor (scraped down with a credit card), and collaged clouds.
More about 365: Activate Your Art Brain (a Video Every Day):
Carla Sonheim Presents launches “2017: A Year-Long Online Class”.
A video every day to activate your art brain 365 days a year.
Inspiration, Prompts, Techniques, Ideas, Community
Begins January 1, 2017!
Carla Sonheim Presents, a ground breaking Seattle-based online art business is launching their latest year-long class for 2017. Called “365 A Year-Long Class”, the program promises to activate your art brain with a video every day that inspires, prompts, teaches techniques, introduces new ideas and builds an online community for artists of all ages and abilities. Class begins Sunday, January 1, 2017 and the cost is $198.00.
Watch the video here: http://carlasonheim.com/365-a-year-long-class/ to see Carla demonstrate techniques that will inspire you and your friends and bring a smile to your face. For only $198.00, class participants receive a video every day explaining that day’s assignment. They also join a private Facebook group where class participants are welcome to post their work. Carla and her team monitor the private Facebook group and provide encouragement, humor and advice.
Led by Carla Sonheim, an artist in her own right, and her talented videographer and business manager husband, Steve, Carla Sonheim Presents offers a variety of online art classes throughout the year. This year-long class is their annual signature event that new and returning students await with great anticipation.
Carla and Steve launched this business in 2011 and have built an adoring and loyal following in the United States and abroad. Their classes offer exceptional videography that enables students to fully understand the technique or approach being taught. Each class includes a private Facebook group to build community, share work and gain encouragement. A sense of humor and joyful approach to making art approachable is a cornerstone of their beliefs.
This is the first project we’ll do for Life Book 2017. I love it. It gives me hope and solace.
The title of the class is: “Journey with the Light” but I’ve affectionally come to call the girl; “Star Girl”. :) Stars speak to me, I love them a lot as most of you know. They appear in pretty much all of my work.
See the little basket by her side? In it are stars onto which we will write all we want to call in more of in the new year, the basket is a 3D basket in that it lifts up somewhat to put things into (like an accordion pocket).
These projects are always really meaningful to me. All the messages and symbols help me focus, set intentions, become more aware and mindful, slow down, unfurl, grow, develop and express myself creatively. It’s an act of pure kindness, listening and compassion towards myself.
I do this sort of art work, become softer towards myself, create more self awareness and connection and consequently I can be stronger and more available to others who need me. See by helping myself, by centring myself, I can be ‘better’ for the world. And that’s all I want: to have a better world. To have less suffering, to have a world with more compassion, love, connection and understanding. But to do that, I need to start with me. Can’t do it with me? Can’t do it with others.
And this is the deepest motivation of my work. :)
It can also just be about making pretty art of course, it isn’t only deep and meaningful. haha! :) But yes, a lot of what I do is to alleviate suffering, my own and the world’s.
Anyway, thought I’d share this with you guys.
Big hugs and hope to see you on Life Book. Join here.
Hey wonderful creative friends! A while back, the wonderful Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli invited me and some other amazing artists to be part of her book called: Art Journal Your Archetypes (check it out here: http://amzn.to/2hOVmpU). She asked us to provide 2 lessons for her book based on our own archetypes, after a long interesting chat with her, we decided that my main archetypes are: Comedian, Artist/ Creative, Queen, Teacher, Mother, Liberator and Engineer. My 2 lessons were inspired by the Mother and the Queen archetype. The image below is what I created for the Queen Archetype lesson and I just put a time lapsed version of the video up on youtube! Watch it here below! I recommend her book but ALSO: I recommend chatting with her F2F as a coach to find out your archetypes and listening to the resulting wisdom/ advice that comes from that discovery. :) <3
Redeem your discounted course space by clicking here, use
the 20% discount code =
You’ll learn so much! Have so much fun! Make many new friends! Grow personally and on and on it goes! :D We’ll play with paints, make colourful messes, express parts of our deeper selves and carve out the path to inner peace.
Hi Guys! Welcome to a series we run on the blog called: Tea & Cake with Gracie :) My awesome friend and colleague Gracie Howle interviews inspiring artists and posts the interviews (including some free offers not published elsewhere before) here on the blog every 2 months or so. I love to create art and bring amazing artists & people together in my classes, in person and on social media. As part of this drive, I want to help bring more exposure to some of the amazing artists out there! Today Gracie’s interviewing the lovely Tascha Parkinson. Make sure you check out Tascha’s GIVEAWAY and free video tutorial below! Tam xoxo
If you love Artist Interviews make sure you read the previous Tea and Cake with Gracie ones! Click on artist’s name to go to their interview: Susana Tavares / Lynn Whipple / Karine Bossé / Jenny Grant / France Papillon / Jenny Wentworth / Kristin Dudish / Rachael Rice / Angela Kennedy (Pennystamper) / Andrea Gomoll
Hello! Gracie here :) How are you? Are you busy prepping for the holiday season? Or ready to hibernate? However and where ever you are, how about you take a little time with me now to relax. Grab a cosy blanket and hot cuppa and read about this month’s inspiring artist the lovely Tascha Parkinson! Be sure to check out Tascha’s GIVEAWAY and free video art tutorial below too :)
1. Welcome Tascha! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hello! My name is Tascha Parkinson. I’m a Canadian aritst and illustrator living in downtown Toronto. I have been selling my art online since 2001. The dawn of self representing artist. I am inspired by my cat Lily and my love for all animals. I have been an animal rights activist since 2010. Animals are always a main focus in my paintings. My favorite media is acrylic paint on canvas. I like to experiment with mixed media and sculpture, but I always go back to painting. Thank you for joining me today!
Tascha is giving away one spot on her Modigliani Art Class!
One lucky reader will win a space on Tascha’s Modigliani Art Class! Wooo hoooo!! Here’s a little bit about the class from Tascha:
‘Modigliani’s style is so recognizable. It is loved the world over. I have painted many ladies in this style and I want to share my techniques with you. In this class we will try a few different medias all influenced by the lovely ladies of Modigliani. The video classes total 100 minutes of instruction to be watched at your leisure throughout the course.’
You can check out Tascha’s Modigliani Art Class here: Modigliani Art Class
*GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED * GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED:
Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments and for joining the giveaway! The randomly drawn winner is:
Sylvia van Oorschot
Congratulations Sylvia! :)
Tascha’s also created for us a (not previously published before) art video: ‘Flying Angel‘:
(Click the ‘play button’ to watch this video or click on the review link here: Review Link)
Learn more about Tascha by reading the following interview:
2. You have alot of ‘Frida characters’ in your work. Can you tell us a bit about why that is?
I love Frida Kahlo! She was an artist in a time that the art scene was dominated by men. She is a true feminist. I love her strength. She is a role model for me as a woman and an artist. My paintings are celebrating Frida with joy and vibrant color.
3. You mention Modigliani as your favourite artist, you even run a ‘Modigliani class‘, can you tell us more about how and why he inspires you and your work?
I am in total admiration of Modigliani. He was one of my very first influences when I began to paint. I love the outlines he uses around the figures. He draws with his paint. I learned a lot from studying his work. He has a way of simplifying the figure that I found helpful in learning how to paint.
4. Your Art is very recognisable as yours, how do you think your personal style has evolved over time and what do you think helped do that?
I think that my color palette is a big part of what makes my art very recognizable. I have some favorite colors that seem to pop up in a lot of my paintings. Turquoise, red, pink, orange, lime green, beige. Those colors always make my eyes dance and make me feel good. There is a child like quality to my paintings that comes deep from my soul. I think that always shows through in each painting. I have painted thousands of paintings in my career. Yes, thousands! LOL! In that time you learn to paint like it is second nature. I am a firm believer in practicing your craft. Just keep painting every day. You will find your niche and fine tune your style over time.
5. Do you work on one piece at a time, or do you work on many pieces at once, and why?
I always work on one piece at a time. I lose myself in my art and am very focused when I paint. I dive in like it’s a pool and once I’m focusing on that one painting I don’t want to be distracted with anything else. I continue to paint that one painting until I am satisfied with the final result. There have been a few times where it doesn’t work out the way I had hoped. I will try to fix it, if after a couple of attempts it isn’t going well, I ditch that painting and start fresh on a new one.
Make sure you find more about Tascha by following the links below! :)
Thanks for being here with me :) See you for Tea and Cake next time! Love Gracie x
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