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Friday, May 29, 2015

Creative therapy whenever wherever whoever you are, and my first day on ETSY!

F  R  I  D  A  Y!!!!
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi

Well...I'm ending this week on a high note!

It's been a busy week, I've been doing a lot of painting, my fingers are filthy, and I've got a lot of exciting events coming up!

Exciting!  Yay!  Go Crazy!
I can't wait until the end of this here's my big news!

I figured out Etsy!
Well, I guess the bigger news is that I have a shop now!  Eventually, everything is going to be sold through, but here's my shop in the meantime!
I'm so excited to be selling posters of "Singing Tree"

And I'm also selling greeting cards of my two other favorites, "Mommy Can't Fix This" and "Fishing For Stars"

I feel like these three prints make a cute little set, and the hardest part was figuring out which paintings to choose!  My problem is I paint too much...
 I'm running out of room to store these things!!!

Anyway, I'd love to hear some of your opinions - is there a painting I've done that you think would be awesome on a card?  Let me know!  I'm a bad decision-maker :)

But first, check out my Etsy shop and let me know what you think!

Updates... is getting a few more images uploaded to my galleries every day, and my writer section is being updated with a bunch of new fun articles I've written, so lots of art, random inspiration and goodies...

Creative Therapy...
I've been writing a few guest posts on creative therapy and the healing power of art.  It makes me so happy to know that more people are becoming attuned to what a powerful vehicle creativity can be.  Painting, sculpting, music, poetry, writing, dancing, singing, nature-gawking, cooking - whatever speaks to you...they're all amazing ways to tap into what's really going on, to expand in the direction that our heart leads, and to get in touch with our emotions.  And emotions are really just arrows pointing which way we truly want to move in life.

Through painting, I accept all of life's colors and allow them to flow through me.

Painting my fear, loneliness or other scary feelings puts them right there before me, out of me and onto the canvas.  Difficult feelings become a character in our lives that we can visualize and talk to...

"Oh, hi there "Fear"...funny I ran into you today!  Do you want to tell me why you popped up this morning?"

And then you can have a conversation with that fear, etc. as it doodles itself onto the paper.

Anyway, I'll be sharing many more little insights on creative therapy in the upcoming weeks - I'll be writing for a few blogs on that topic, so stay tuned.  

Anything can be therapy.  Did you know there's even sand box therapy?

And laughter yoga?  (I've tried it - really fun!)

If you want to learn a bit more about a bunch of creative therapies, check out the National Coalition of Creative Arts Associations, Inc.

Thanks to (where you can find some other resources too)
Founded in 1979, this coalition brings together the professional associations dedicated to the advancement of six creative arts therapies. Their web site provides basic information on each approach: art, dance/movement, drama, music, psychodrama and poetry. Each modality uses the creative process to support health, communication, self-expression, and positive change.

And did you know there's water therapy too?  Well, not sure about that, but I created my own water therapy when I was unable to eat or drink for years - I was hungry, but I was REALLLYYY thirsty.

Believe it or not, I'd spend hours playing with my sink and my secret collection of every possible drink container - flasks, baby bottles, pitchers, and I'd be hypnotized pouring liquid from one vessel tot he next, imagining how it would feel to finally have a sip of water.

That's a pretty depressing example actually.  But the point is, that the tactile sensations of feeling the cold water, playing, experiencing something got me out of my head.  I could appreciate the beauty of the clear water, the cool sensations on my fingers, and I could visualize a clear picture, as vibrant as a painting, of the day I'd finally be able to drink.

(No pity story here - I can drink now and everything's good!)  So don't be sad :)

Moral of the story is:  Creative, expressive, artsy therapy rocks.  And I'll write more later.

In the studio...
But the more fun thing is showing you!  So here's what I did in the studio today:

 and finally...
Although I'm not sure if it's done yet.  But oh well.

And coming up...
Well, the next tine I check in with y'all I'll have performed my monologues, shared my art, writings and recipes at Beechwood Arts Immersion Salon event on Resilience and the Power of the Human Spirit!

 I am so to rehearse my monologues now - have a great weekend!

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.” ~Toni Morriso

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seeing things differently - an idea for the kid and adult in all of us...


"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” ~Albert Schweitzer
When the colors are so bright...
 They just seem to POP out of the greenery...
 And the petals shape themselves into beautiful open vessels for the sunlight to pour into...
Then you know it's time to get your fingers messy with some color.
(and I did.)
Beautiful weather and what to do...

But paint a little bit...

I've gotten a lot of requests for kid and family-friendly spring/summer crafts and activities.  I like to think of myself as a big kid because I try to stay open to the infinite possibilities every moment can bring, and have the most fun with each one.  So any project I write about is a great activity for me, for you, for kids, and for anyone who wants to find some happiness, fun, connection and creativity in their day.

Let me explain with a little story about little Amy...

As a kid, I always used to complain to my older brother, "I'm bored!"  Even when I was little, I was always  darting about from activity to activity.  My mind was racing and I was antsy with ideas.
His response was always, "Why are you bored?"
I didn't know.
Then I'll never forgot what he got me as a birthday present that year.  His card was a simple little hand written post-it note that said, 

"This is so you'll never be bored again."

I opened it, hoping it was some kind of toy or exciting little gadget.  But it was just a soft-cover activity book for me to fill out.  I had that natural let-down when you get your hopes up and really just get...a book.  
For more insight into this, consider this amusing but accurate video:
But then I looked at the cover and it said "Things I Can Be Happy About."  It was a workbook for me to fill in.  It was filled with a bunch of blank, numbered lines, broken up into categories like "Outside", "School", "Friends", "Activities" etc.  I don't think I ever filled it out, but I got the idea.

My brother was trying to teach me my first lesson in gratitude.  If you realize what you can be happy about, it's hard to ever get "bored."  Instead of getting "bored", he wanted me to get "appreciative."  
A lot of times when we're bored, we're just unhappy.  And it might just take too much energy to think about what we should be happy about.  So I have a little exercise I like to do.  I also think it's a great idea to try with kids, who get tend to tire of things quickly, or might not always remember how much there is to be happy about.  

And then on the other end, sometimes kids are the ones who remind us to be happy about the simple things.  Kids can be miniature wise-adults, and grown-ups can have the fearless abandon of a child.  That's how we all balance each other out :)

So with that in mind, this is my exercise for kids, adults, and the kid-adult in all of us.  

Today I invite you to see things differently.  All it takes is a little mind-bending.  We're never too old to create fantasies.  These are some out-of-the-box ways to view any ordinary, boring moment in life and bring it to a completely new dimension.  
When we elevate the everyday, we can't get bored.  We're struck by every laughing tree, every popping color, every breath of sunrise.

And even better, that whimsical fascination with the world around us might even inspire us to create...and with a project to do or a idea in our heads - how the heck can we get bored???

These are some ideas to view the world differently.  Try each one on for size, then share it with someone else!

1.)   View the world as an artist studying a scene to paint a picture from, like everything is made of a different fabric
2.)   Imagine every object is actually alive and talking to you!  what would it say?
3.)   Spot the biggest risk you could do in that specific moment!
4.)   Do something totally spontaneous right there, don’t plan anything
5.)   Pretend like you are in an adventure movie, fleeing from a monster, but trying to keep your calm composure to the outside world. 
6.)   Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry
7.)   How is what I am seeing before me a microcosm of the whole?
8.)   How am I like the objects I see before me?  
9.)   See the human face in everything - does that tree trunk remind you of a friend's face?
10.)                  Be curious: ask childlike questions about the world around you like what makes the sky blue or the clouds look like that?
11.)                  Be a poet and describe the world around you in haikus!
12.)                  Take a walk and only make left turns - a lot of them!

13.)  View everything solid as liquid and everything liquid as solid.  How does it feel to walk on liquid grass?
14.)  Put a word to every sound you hear - every gust of wind or squish in the dirt
15.) Imagine the world is a giant gingerbread house and everything is edible - is that eggplant on the roof shingles?

I could go on and on with ideas, but go ahead, create some of your own!  Do it just for the sake of adding a spark to your day.

Share it with you child to give them a reason not to ever be bored - I'm sure they'l fire back with 15 of their own ideas!

And...if it comes naturally...see if it gives you an idea that inspires you enough to create - anything!  Art, music, an idea, a conversation, or a moment - every moment is a chance to create something new.  

That's the greatest part about being alive.  We have as many blank canvases as we see before us.
(and I've got a ton of blank canvases thanks to my bridal shower!)

If you get any ideas, pin them to my Pinterest Show Me Your heART board - I'd love to see!

Do you have any ideas to see the world differently?  Comment or let me know!

The internet these days seems to know what I'm talking about too!

Check out these "kid" things that appeal to anyone - and please share your own links!
lava lamps?  yes!
board games and painting on the grass = awesome

And Creativity Portal has a ton of creative ideas, games and projects that are kid-friendly and super-inspiring for any age!
Gum wrapper origami....

I also encourage you to write your own list of things to be happy about...take some inspiration from The Thought Catalogue's list.
Inspired by a T-shirt

That's it for now - and best of all..

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~J.K. Rowling