Right now most people I speak with feel turmoil around them whether it be the upcoming election, severe storms, endangered species/collapsing eco-systems, social justice issues here in the U.S., financial and military instability around the globe… the list as you know can be overwhelming. In addition to listening to my own heavy heart and soul, I also hear fear in people’s voices and sense their frustration as well. It’s SO hard to know what to do with those feelings or how we can affect change (besides posting an article on facebook 😉 My upcoming class Inspirational Prayer Flag Project was designed to help us heal, identify what we care about most in the world and help us spread the positivity we wish to see into the world around us.
In this class we will create the space to investigate and discover symbols that hold deep meaning for us, learn about the Tibetan and Nepalese traditions of prayer flags, create with our own two hands, and soothe ourselves with the spreading of liquid paint (seriously everyone loves this part!).
So if you are feeling ready to take a small step forward in finding some healing for yourself, your community and the world. For some, I know this class will be a jumping off point to continue creating positive change in the world . Here are the class details and scroll down for the link to sign up!
Saturday • December 3rd • 1:30 – 5:30PM
early bird price: $49 (through Oct. 15th! then it goes up to $69!) That’s a 20% discount!
PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional $20 MATERIALS FEE (included in the cost at time of registration).
To sign up go to http://www.susiestonefieldmiller.com/prayer-flags/
Van Gogh was really one of the first artists who captured my attention. I saw an exhibit of his work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) long before the Urban Light street light piece or the Levitated Mass.
I was drawn to Van Gogh’s use of color and line. I connected to his interpretation of the world even though I had never seen his world and he had not seen mine. How is it that a teenager in 1998 could be so captivated by work 100 + years before she existed? I even replicated his famed Starry Night painting and painted it onto the back of my lawn chair. I wish I had a photo of that. But it was long before phone cameras.
Either way– watch this video takes his whimsical work and bring them into the modern era in a new way. Enjoy 🙂
This is a blog post I began writing a while ago but I feel remiss that I didn’t post it. So here goes. Read as you wish. Sending the love out there.
In the last few weeks I have been mentally preparing for the art & craft show circuit. Looking at my jewelry fixin’s has left me feeling utterly uninspired. Last minute I was invited to a small class at a local artists house. I was hesitant to move out of my comfort zone and devote time to something that seemed frivolous. Not to mention the class was for something I “knew” how to do, though I had never done it before. But I signed up and committed to doing it. On the day of the class I set aside extra time to walk to the class rather than driving.
Once I got there I was enveloped into the folds of the creative spirit. The space was beautiful, a feast for the eyes! Not to mention there was the most amazing, delicious gluten free cake I have ever eaten or seen. I wish I had photographed it. It was full of fresh strawberries and a cheesecake like mousse made with yogurt. Seriously heaven.
Feeling that lovely alive, inspired feeling has helped me reflect on the feeling of slowness and hesitation. This slowness is a necessary part of the creative process but one that can be like quick-sand, difficult to get out of. As the slowness lingers I begin to talk myself out of going full force into INSPIRED working mode. I find myself lethargic in forming full thoughts. Heavy footed in my movements. This is where the excuses and negative self talk can slowly creep in.
This process of discouraged inspiration, procrastination, and self doubt doesn’t just apply to art making. This applies to LIFE as a whole. We see this in the ruts we get in, the way we forget to take care of ourselves, unhappy patterns we slip back into and the monotony that can become the day to day. Harnessing the power of learning is a crucial element to breaking free of the rut, of the self indulged “can’t”s, and the lack of trajectory.
This afternoon with some creative women and learning something made my powers of creation feel awake. And in general the moments I feel most inspired overlap with some kind of learning. Even if it seems totally unrelated to my art– if it is interesting it is inspiring. And inspiration is the fuel of the creative fire.
So get out there. Find something to get acquainted with, to learn about. Get a little uncomfortable. Let me know what you find.
My show at Tara’s Organic Ice Cream was a blast– it’s almost been about a month since I took it down. During the course of the show there was a notebook tacked to the wall requesting people write or draw in it. As I took down my show and packed each piece away I patiently waited to look at the neon green notebook still attached to the wall. When everything was cleaned up and all the teal tape was peeled off the wall I took the notebook down and opened it.
In the past when I have had a book for comments there were some notes and a few doodles. What I found inside this time though was cooler than I ever imagined. This time there were pages and pages of drawings, notes, comments, and just LOVE. This was one of my favorite parts of this show. I love making art collaboratively– which is one of the reasons I love working with others to make their art.
So I wanted to share some of the pages with you of the other art work from this show. The art work that I didn’t make but is still part of they show. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this body of work. There were more pages but these were the ones that had the most on them.
To see some of the pieces that were in the show check out my ETSY site
Thanks to everyone who came to the show, left a note or artwork and thanks for stopping by the blog!
Max Gibson and I met serendipitously when my COLORBLAST pieces were just in sketch book form. I was flattered (and felt super shy!) when he stumbled on me working in my sketch book. That was back in August. Since then those sketch book images have evolved into this growing series that now includes note cards (available soon on Etsy), and some other surprises in the making.
Now in November I am excited to be featured on this awesome Oakland based arts & culture blog Wine & Bowties. In this interview Max asks me thought provoking questions that allowed me to reflect on how my art imitates my life. I am so grateful to be asked questions about my work that make me think about the things behind this series. Please check out the feature for an in depth look behind the bright colors and for the image collection.
To learn more about Max Gibson, aka Dispo Max check out his bio at the bottom of the feature.
I often find myself wanting to explain what avenues of artistry means to people. Right now I am really FEELING what it means. Being caught up in getting my classroom ready, moving, and harvest season has left me feeling like I haven’t been doing “enough” and even inadequate at moments. Instead of shying away from these feelings I want to share them with you because I know everyone has these feelings– especially us creative artsy types. In the world of MORE we live in it is so easy to get caught up in the “not enoughness”. There will always be more to want but part of our spiritual work is to feel the wholeness that exists within us where ever we are in our journey. Of course we can always ask ourselves to continue to growing but it is important to also acknowledge and love ourselves in our present state.
Last night while making a beautiful fall inspired dinner I realized I am living the creative life I want to live. Avenues of artistry is about finding the creative angle, attitude, and joy in every aspect of life. Being an artist is more than being an artist in your work space. It’s about living with whimsy, love and play– by this definition everyone is an artist when living life whole-heartedly. I wanted to honor and share with you all the things I have been working on to get grounded in my new space and through this transition that have been my avenues of artistry. I hope this will inspire you to make a beautiful meal, start a new project and dive in to your artistic side wherever you are in your journey.
* this post is a cheers to you my beautiful friend who is an intellectual, healer, ninja and lover of the arts who taught me to laugh loud when I needed it most, be silly at inappropriate times and to dive deep. Love you always & know how wonderful you are now and keep doing what you love.
Hello all! I am continually finding myself wanting to post photos with extended captions on facebook- and then I think- this is what I have a blog for.
Some of you may have seen a FEW of these before if you follow me on instagram (@butterflyal). Some of these shots though I haven’t shared yet!
The color blast series is inspired by things I love and want to draw and how color and object can come together in a most usual and appealing way. I make them using dark brown micron pens and BRIGHT water colors.
The other day I posted this photo of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
The day (or 2?) before that I had made this little number:
A friend pointed out how similar they are and I was totally blown away. I don’t know that I can wholly explain why but I think it has to do with the Oscar Wild Quote “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” thing.
The process of making these pieces is much larger than sitting down and drawing but here is a little peek and the creation process.
Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday!
Last week on facebook I quickly posted about more and more articles popping up all over the web (as well as in Facebook feeds) about how to be more creative. I wasn’t able to make time that day to write a blog post on this topic but I am coming back to it now.
I want to write my own version of this list describing how to be in touch with your creative side. Hopefully I will even get to write and illustrate my own book on this! But there is something else that these lists don’t share with you that is just as important as the items on these lists.
1) Each person will find their own creative inspiration in different things.
The beauty of life is something called bio-individuality. This word mostly comes up in integrative and holistic approaches to nutrition but it is applicable here too. Bio-Individuality teaches us the way our bodies need nutrients and process foods is unique to each person. There is no one right way to eat for everyone. The same for creative inspiration. Each of us will find activities that nourish our creative spirit and feed our souls differently than person sitting next to us, our sibling or our best friend. Part of finding creative inspiration is allowing yourself to PLAY in order to find what lights your creative fire. Creative inspiration is totally, utterly, and completely personal.
2) KNOWING what sparks your own creative vision is part of being able to tap into your creativity with abundance.
Allow yourself time to re-find or newly find your creative passion. Free yourself to think, be, explore without judging yourself or your creative endeavors. Also think outside the proverbial box a bit. For me I get inspired by nature, commuting (car rides, public transportation, bike rides), other people’s art– the list is kinda endless actually. But I wasn’t always able to ramble off a list in moments. This takes practice. For you it may be digging in the dirt, cooking, doing math problems– I don’t know. But YOU DO if you take the time to listen to it.
Here are some other blog posts I have written that talk about each of us being an artist and about how broad the definition of an artist is.
3) Identify what creativity (or art or artist) means to you, write it down and then dissect it.
Get DIRTY with your list. See what is holding you back from believing what you want to believe or intuitively know about creativity. Make a list of what you want to believe (your truth) and what comments, thoughts or other ideas are holding you back from listening to your truth. Think of this as a scavenger or treasure hunt- Have fun.
I do encourage you to check out these lists because they can be a stepping stone to investigating your own creative practices.
Find 3 lists- stop and read them. Then identify which items you like or practices you want to start engaging with. Here are a couple ways to go about this (or make up your own way!)
Write those items down by hand or type them up. Put them up somewhere to be seen regularly.
Print out the lists. Highlight, cut out, make a collage of the things pulled at your heart strings and what got you excited. I mean REALLY excited.
The next part is the hard part though…..
START DOING IT!!!!
Don’t do them all at once- like an animal hungry for your own creativity.
Be gentle. See where your stumbling blocks are. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. PLAY.
Start small and watch yourself bloom.
I was looking through the thesaurus for some word inspiration. I am recreating my website to more accurately reflect the work I do (more on that soon). I was looking for synonyms for “creator”. The synonym list the thesaurus provided is appropriate and accurate. The related list that follows though is what I find inspiring. Check it out for your self.
These are groupings of other related words, broken up into many sections. An AMAZING list (deep and wide) of empowering words appears.
Here is what caught my eye.
“artist: a person skilled in creative activity”
— any activity—– and I liked the list they give. Really it is a list that could go on and on event.
So I wonder?
What kind of artist are you embodying today?
What is your avenue of artistry today?
What does this raise in you today?
The gift has been given and the secret is out! I made an elephant toy softie for a friend having a baby.
Store bought gifts are important especially if there are specific gifts that are NEEDED. For the people you know the best sometimes a handmade gift feels much more personal (and can be added in with the stack of nice cloth diapers or changing table accessories etc…). Creating a gift is also an opportunity for you to play with your creative voice and give a gift from your heart.
Giving a gift that is unique and is made in alignment with the values of the people the gift is for is also a great way to personalize your present on a deeper level. This particular family is very eco conscious, committed to reuse and sustainability. This is also something I care about too. So I wanted to make a gift that was sweet, special, cute and also made responsibly. To me making something responsibly means: purchase local and re-use the best I can.
I knew I wanted to make a softie but I didn’t want to just go to a fabric store. So I went to my local thrift store (that supports the school district). Going to the thrift store always stokes my creative fire.
One of the reasons I love this project so much is because it inspires and challenges creativity. You are going on a treasure hunt for an unknown object. You are looking for something to call to you- to inspire your project. Once you find that fabric you will know. Listen to your intuition. Feel for that sparkle, wiggle maybe it’s even anxiety, fear or doubt that you notice. That is your creative voice and your artists fear.
When I went to the thrift store I didn’t know I would be making an elephant. I expected to find a vintage printed tablecloth or cotton 70’s caftan. But instead I found a stash of amazing fabric and craft supplies. Amongst which I found this amazing and perfect soft flannel fabric.
I had no idea what creature or thing I would be making. It was serendipity that I found the elephant fabric—especially for this particular friend who loves elephants. I couldn’t have planned this better. I found an unused bag of stuffing too! It was exhilarating to find what I needed to do this project, spending a fraction of the price of purchasing “new”, the ability to be creative and reuse and to support a local charity thrift store.
Once you find the “thing” that speaks to you follow that.
My next stop was the local quilt store to get accent fabric and a couple of embroidery threads. Get a couple other complementary fabric fat quarters or pieces (mine cost me only a few dollars each) and some embroidery thread that matches or clashes. I chose 2 complementary fabrics and one that coordinated with one of the other fabrics. I also chose embroidery thread that would stand out against the fabric and one that would blend in.
I came home and washed and dried all my fabrics. It was dry outside so I put the stuffing out in the sun to sit for a day or so. If I had purchased the stuffing new I wouldn’t have done this.
Let the details and creativity lead you. Look to others for inspiration. Once I had my fabric and knew what I wanted to make I searched and searched pintrest just gathering up ideas like twigs for kindling. This helped my get in the mindset for creating in this way and find what was possible.
This was the most fun project I had done in a long time. I got so engrossed that I kept adding more and more details to it! I didn’t want to stop working on this little elephant. But some good things must end and I was comforted by know there will be more babies on the way (and I can make softies whenever I want)!
Would you trust yourself enough to embark on a project like this?
Why or why not?
The tutorial on how to make this? It’s up to you!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Write your thoughts and vote in the comments box!