Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Practical ways to live creatively

Happy Tuesday friends! Mondays always start off so full, I feel like I've run a marathon by the end of it! We definitely start our weeks off with a burst of energy and a bustle in our step.  But then along comes Tuesday, Monday's quieter counterpart.  Thank goodness for both.  

Today I have a bit on my heart about practical ways to live creatively, in the midst of whatever your season is.  Quiet, bustling, empty, full....all hold the capacity for creativity.  If you've been around the blog for long at all or even since the beginning over seven years ago, you've watched me struggle at times with knowing how to live creatively right where I am.  I picture a drawing of a line, when at first as a new mom I had the desire to do some home projects, buy a set of watercolors, and dip my toe into the nudging I felt.  Once I took a step or two into the world of art, the line spiked WAY up high, as if I'd climbed a mountain.  And I stayed on top of that creative mountain, so bold and brave and full of BIG ideas.  This was about two years ago.  

Over the past year and a half God and I have had some pretty interesting conversations over what it means to be creative, to live as an artist, all within this thing we call "life."  I've wrestled with God and been stubborn, feeling like my current life wasn't allowing me to reach my fullest potential as an artist.  Those words are so hard for me to write, honestly because I'm so far from that thinking and toxic attitude now.  I believe God has placed certain strengths in every single one of His people, to be used right where we are.  Sure, there have been moments where I've felt like I'd won the lottery with the big, creative opportunity I was getting to partake in (like styling a wedding anniversary party)! However, mostly I've learned that in honoring my life as it is right now and allowing my feet to sink in deep to the callings and people that surround me, I am bringing worship to God.  

God has taught me that creativity isn't a vacation we take away from our current home/life/stories.  It's instead, a sweet fragrance that infuses our lives no matter what our current story holds.
So without further ado, let's look at a few practical ways creativity is a very normal, real part of my day-to-day life.  
1.) Read books about creativity! Even just a line here and there by someone who also gets this creative road, can lift my spirits and give me new ways to think about art.  Big Magic totally changed my viewpoint of my journey as an artist, allowing me to see my "failures" or missed opportunities as simply that. Just things missed, but not things to define who I am as a person.  Artists aren't failures.  We are brave and we both try and fail often.  But we keep trying.  

2.) God's word and a journal. 
Some of you will panic at the sight of BIG MAGIC and my bible all in the same stack, lol.  The most creative soul I know is Jesus.  If I only read the creative books but don't spend time in the ultimate Creator's word, my soul suffers.  Reading my bible and jotting down a verse, a prayer, or something God stirs in my soul, does wonders for my creativity.  It's like plugging my artist heart into a light socket.  It lights up immediately.  Other books don't do that.  God's word does.
3.) Food and cooking hold the GREAT capacity for creativity.  Cooking used to be the thing I "had" to do and I despised it.  Then I began to notice a pattern with blogs I was reading or people I was paying attention to.  They had such passion AND they were cooks.  Slowly I've come over to the other side of cooking, which is that it holds immeasurable ways to be creative.  The world is at your fingertips through food.  I read cookbooks on a daily basis, love trying new ingredients, and will talk to anybody about food for days. Even down to the way a plate is styled, food is art.


4.) Be on the lookout EVERYWHERE for art.  
This scene stirs up some kind of story in me.  Yet you want to know where I found this picture-perfect pick-up truck? At our local safari.  The least likely of places. 

Keep your eyes open everywhere for the creative way life shows up.  Even better? Take a picture of it.  Your camera, whether it be a DSLR or phone, is your bff when it comes to viewing the world through a creative lens.  Use it often! 
5.) Paint. 
Seriously. 
Even if you've never painted anything and don't even know how, go buy a cheap set of watercolors and take 10 minutes to try it out.  You might love what you made or you might not, you might want to share it with the whole world or hide it away.  Either way, I can almost guarantee that your fingers and your heart and soul will smile and thank-you.  
6.) Style friendly reminders to let your creativity shine.

7.) Be ok with a "mess".  Or in my world, I prefer to call this a "happy mess".  If we're trying to be perfectly clean all the time, odds are your creativity is limited to browsing Pinterest or making a list of projects to try.  I know this because I've been this.  But if we ever want to spread our creative wings we sometimes have to actually do something about it.  Pull out the paints for your kiddos and give enough time to do lots of paintings, even if it means they take up the counter space while they dry.  Start a creative project and give yourself permission to leave it sitting out until the next day.  I promise, your world will still keep spinning even with a bit of "happy mess" left out. 

8.) Style creative spots in your home. There's something about this basket on my dining room table that does my heart good.  It's really just a collection of favorites. Dried roses from Brett, vintage, thrifted silverware, some favorite cookbooks, and the first branches of spring from the farm.  I could style my home and your home and shop windows for daaaaaaaaays.  It simply feels good to be in a place with a bit of creativity infused, even in simple ways like on the dining room table. 
9.) Be ok with beginnings that don't end.  Yet.  
I started this painting and it's just sitting on the counter.  Will it get loads more attention before I feel like it's "done" or is it done already? I don't know yet.  I'm waiting on the painting to tell me, or my soul to whisper something.  This used to drive me crazy.  If I started a painting on a Tuesday, I wanted it done by Wednesday.  I've discovered that art doesn't happen on a neat, tidy schedule like I think it should.  Rather for me, it happens in snippets of time here and there that all add up to something beautiful. 


10.) Give yourself time and permission to play. 
Last week after announcing my plans to create an online class I immediately wanted to have a 10-step list of the exact steps I needed to do to make this happen.  I wanted perfect projects from beginning to end.  Well, you can imagine the pressure this put on myself.  So instead I made myself step away from planning mode and go into the craft room to simply play.  To pull out the paints and try whatever idea came to mind.  Usually for me this means I'll try one idea, like painting with watercolors, and then that will flow into this idea and that idea and so on.  

My point? This little canvas is one of the most special things to me, I've ever created.  It wasn't planned or on purpose, but came during a session of play.  
(I'll be teaching a lesson on a similar canvas in Gatherings, my online course!)
11.) Have an inspiration wall. 


12.) Use your mantle or a shelf in your home to change as the seasons change, styling it different ways each time. 

What else would you add to the list?
I'm sure I could go on for another 50 points, there are literally so many ways to live creatively.
We'll do a part 2 soon :).

And last, but not least,




 
The shop is full to the brim with bright, colorful reminders of the creative capacity our lives hold.

How will you live creatively today? 

4 comments:

  1. I love EVERY word of this post! I am so passionate about what you are saying. As individuals made in God's image, we too are creators. We reflect HIM so much when we are making - however that looks for each of our lives. Part of me cries inside when I hear people say "I'm so not creative" or "I couldn't draw a stick figure". Living creatively is so, so much more!!! Thanks for this post and I'm gonna have to check out that book! xoxo

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    1. I adored your words in this comment Emily! I too cringe at the "I'm not creative" comment. Opposite talents of mine like organization are like the supreme creative gift in my book! :)

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  2. This post should be published in Artful Blogging. What a great tribute to both life and art!

    You're always inspiring me Sara. Thanks for that :)

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    1. Thank-you Debbie! I'm so glad you felt inspired! :)

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