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IVY NEWPORT

Studioworks

Journal
a letter from ivy

Dear creative friends,

Welcome to Issue #5 of StudioWorks! After a wonderful journey gathering our courage and communing with our Spirit Animals last month, I thought it was the perfect time to look at the other beautiful energy that leads us towards making Art – Passion! This powerful force dwells in the very center of our heart. Fueling us, sustaining us and stoking the flames of our creative fire.

Let’s explore what this means in our creative practice!

xo,

How the Studioworks Journal unfolds…

So you may be wondering, where do I start? To that, I say, wherever feels right to you. Each month we will have a theme, a creative affirmation, a power word, a color palette, sketchbook exercises, art projects, articles, recommended reading and access to wonderful inspiration and resources. I want you to think of this as a delicious new magazine, you know the ones you occasionally splurge on, with soft, velvety pages, beautiful images and inspiring content!

Each issue will invite you to explore your creative practice in whichever way works for you. Experience each issue at your own pace. Take what resonates with you and put the rest aside for another time.

Grab a cup of something lovely and dive in.

MAY THEME

Ignited by Passion

While courage and the ability to move through our fear is critical to creating, the force that often pushes us through to action, is our Passion. A powerful and deeply rooted energy that fuels our desire and creates that intrinsic hunger for more.

In our reading for the month, we visit with Clarissa Pinkola Estés again in her audiobook Creative Fire. She mentions the “ember within” at the “seat of our consciousness” – this is our creative fire.

Our creative nature.

An instinctual part of every human being that exists within us from birth. This ember is eternal and is with us always, however it is either nurtured or not. It is fed oxygen or not. We breathe life into it or we don’t. We all know friends and family members who seem to have forgotten this part of themselves. They travel the world not feeling especially passionate about anything and vehemently denying the fact that they are creative.

We may have even had our own seasons of this kind of existence. Lost and adrift we wander, busy ourselves, distract, destroy, disengage. All the while, the tiny ember in our heart simmers and waits…hidden beneath black ash and cold wood.

Then, we hear a whisper, we see something, a flash that makes us take notice. We might catch a glimpse of a creative video on YouTube or we end up making a collage when we volunteer in our kids’ classroom or maybe, in a desperate attempt from our inner child, we fingerpaint with the fancy sauce on our plate at dinner when no one is looking!

Suddenly, the ember quickens and a burst of light sparkles within it. If we are paying attention, we recognize this tiny shift. Passion begins to quietly stoke the fire and our soul holds its breath, waiting to see if we take the cue. “Remember!”, It whispers urgently, “Remember me!”

Remember when you loved a fresh box of crayons.”
“Remember how it felt to paint purple trees and pink clouds.”
“Remember the feel of wet clay and the rain on your face!”
“Remember the sky being your own cloud theater, full of characters and animals and magical beings!”
“Remember joy!”
“Remember laughter!”
“Remember who you are!”

If we are paying attention, we can feel the heart strings pulled. The yearning. The longing. The pressing need to shed all that has been put upon us – how we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to look and how we are supposed to feel. Our true nature wants to drop the rules, the limits, the emptiness, the illusion.

Our creative fire beckons us back to center. Back to the flame. It builds and builds till it cannot be contained. Until you feel your insides burning with desire. The desire to be true. To be what you are, truly.

We take that first leap – we sign up for the art class or go buy the paints. We are fearful, we are nervous, a whole lot of us feel foolish but our passion and yes, our courage pushes us to try.

That first trepidatious brush stroke, that first handful of clay, that first piece of paper glued down and our soul sighs. “Yes! Yes, keep going. More!”

Our fears drop away if only for a moment and we are propelled into our passion. Our creative fire is ablaze. Our passion is in charge now and for a time, there is no holding us back. We horde the art supplies, we sign up for every class, we work everyday in our sketchbook, we discover new ideas and uncover old patterns.

We are alive once again!

Living our passion and working in the light.

“You have left a trail of breadcrumb clues which will lead you to the place where your purpose and passion have already met and are simply waiting for you to find them.”

– Jacob Norby
Blessed are the Weird

WORD OF THE MONTH

Passion

 

Definition – An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.

Uhh I guess so, that seems kinda weak Mr. Dictionary. Don’t you agree?

I did a little further research…

Turns out that the word passion has some pretty ancient history and the original root of the word comes from the Latin word – patior – which means to suffer. Oh, well then…that sure does explain why Jesus’ suffering is described as The Passion.

The word Passion didn’t actually show up in the English language until 1175 AD and its more modern definition has more to do with romance and strong emotion. So, I believe the more accurate definition is this –

PASSION – the willingness to suffer for what you love. 

Ahhh..yeah, that sounds more like it, right? I think every single artist could relate more to this definition. For surely, we do suffer for our art. We suffer fear, we suffer doubt, we suffer rejection, we suffer being misunderstood, we suffer the anguish when things don’t go as planned, we suffer sleepless nights trying to figure out how to fix that damn painting, we suffer vulnerability, we suffer the failures, we suffer the sore hands, the locked up wrist, the tired back YET we come back again and again and again for the PURE love of creating.

Yes, this definition makes perfect sense. Glad we got that cleared up.

“The art of living is to fall in love with life over and over again.”
– Jacob Norby
Blessed be the Weird

WRITING PROMPT

the How & the Why

Wow, so that new definition really gives us some clarity doesn’t it? How often have you heard, “Follow your passion.” While often well intended, once you actually understand WHAT passion truly is, I’m not sure it’s the best advice for someone just looking for something new to try. Translation – Go out and find what you love SO much you are willing to suffer for it! Yikes. A tad too strong right?

In her book, “Big Magic”, Elizabeth Gilbert warns us against the term Passion. That it’s too threatening, too big, too dramatic, even elitist or off putting and for those who don’t have a clear passion yet – I think she is right.

But, I also believe it is extremely useful to be aware and brutally honest with yourself about just what you are willing to suffer for and why? I mentioned something in that vein in one of our Live Q & A’s on Facebook, stating – “How uncomfortable are you willing to get for your Art?” This is an important question to ask yourself.

So, now… let’s get super real, very clear and very honest in this writing prompt. Set an intention that you are going to be open to this writing session and that you welcome all loving wisdom.

At the top of your page, write the following…

HOW DO I SUFFER FOR MY ART?

Take a deep breath and list every single word or description that comes to mind. Don’t worry if it seems a bit strange. Don’t judge. Just put the words down.

Now on the facing page write:

WHY DO I CREATE ART?

Do the same thing. Write down each and every word or reason that comes up.

“Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.”

– Ruben Chavez

Now take a look at these two pages. You have your pain and you have your passion. You can now clearly see that while you do suffer for your art, you have (hopefully) a whole list of reasons WHY you are willing to suffer for it.

The result of creating – the joy, the fulfillment, the feeling of wholeness, the love, the discovery are most likely a LOT more powerful than the list of your suffering. Reflect on these. Go back and revise them, crossing out the ones that feel ego based. Keep the ones that truly resonate with your heart.

By recognizing and calling out these important self observations, you can better understand the mechanisms and driving force behind your dedication and passion.

*Side note – this may also bring clarity to the things in your life, you thought you were passionate about but just actually find enjoyable or fun. For example, before teaching art, I made my own skin care products. I thought it was a passion but after a short time I just got bored and let it go. I thought I was “following my passion” but I was, in fact, engaging in a past time. Enjoyable and fun to be sure and I’m grateful I tried it and followed my curiosity because ultimately, in a very meandering way, it led me back to art making.

Monthly Affirmation

Each month we will have a positive affirmation. I recommend you print out this affirmation and put it in your sketchbook or somewhere in your studio. Recite the affirmation out loud each time you show up to create. Saying words aloud is powerful and can begin to re-write some of our own limiting beliefs or calm our fears. Try it now…

Color Palette of the Month

This month, I couldn’t deny the call of RED! The color of passion, of fire, of intense emotion! I don’t often work with this color but it felt so right to include it in our color theme for the month. All shades of this rich color can be encompassed this month from fiery orange, ruby red to deep burgundy! Enjoy the multitude of beauty in this powerful hue! To temper the red, I have paired it with cool grays. Nothing makes red sparkle more than being paired with a cool neutral.

*Color swatches – Arteza acrylic paints – 1. Orange Red, 2. Vermillion, 3. Brilliant Red, 4. Scarlet Red, 5. Cochinal Red, 6. Carmine Red, 7. Crimson Red, 8. Rose Madder, 9. Bordeaux Red, 10. Cold Grey, 11. Gray, 12. Payne’s Gray + White, 13. Payne’s Gray, Metallic Accent – Pearl Copper Gold (You do not have to get these paints, they are just what I had on hand. Use cadmium red, cadmium yellow, white and black to get many different reds, oranges and grays.)

PASSION INFUSED PROMPT:
  • Being passionate drives us to action but if your studio or creative space is a disaster it can block us or overwhelm us. Play some favorite music today and passionately clean up and organize your creative space. Put your heart into it. Make it beautiful. Make it sacred. If you have already done this, consider spending some time in this space meditating on your inner creative fire. Light some incense or a candle and be still and appreciate this special part of your world.

AN ARTIST’S VOICE

Interview with Sara Burch

I’ve asked my dear friend and fellow artist, Sarah Burch to share some thoughts about passion and her creative practice…

How do you fuel your passion for making art?

Oh my goodness so many things fuel my passion for making art,  where to begin? Curiosity, imagination, envisioning, play, exploration, mindset, quiet time, nature, meditation, taking breaks, spending quality time with family and friends, learning new techniques, journaling, being inspired and inspiring others, in-depth conversations. And probably many other things I’ll think of after this – ha!

Currently, I would say curiosity is high on the list for what fuels my passion the most these days. I’ve always been curious about life and our creativity. Exploration is huge as well! Being curious in exploring and playing, seeing and feeling my way while creating. Working on getting on board with my creative flow, tapping into my innate creativity. Which means working on shedding the thoughts of “will anyone resonate with my art”  and instead by making art that feels in alignment to me.

Inspiration but not always straightforward inspiration, as in “waiting for inspiration ” to create, or only creating when inspiration hits me. That definitely happens and love when it does, but not always. More like taking ‘inspired action’ or inspired ‘non-action’. It may sound counterproductive but taking spaces away from actively creating helps me get in touch with my innate creativity just as much as the process of creating a painting.

I’ve also learned to trust my intuition more – together with my curiosity. Being curious of how to push beyond my current skill sets and leaning into my intuitive creative side has been so helpful. It is a journey and I have way more “failures” than “successful” paintings that I feel are ready to sell. I practice a lot and most don’t make the cut for the vision I have for my art. I’m learning to embrace this part more, and I’m grateful for my failures and the struggles that come with creating art. I didn’t always feel this way I used to feel I had to create perfection somehow – ha! That’s funny because it really is the opposite of what and why I create now.

Spending quality time with my family, friends and cherished ones also is good for my Soul. Realizing it is the ordinary moments that become the extraordinary, these moments are priceless. Having deep conversations about life with either loved ones, friends or total strangers become beautiful opportunities for inspiration and catalyst for strengthening our passion to make art that feels so meaningful to me.

All these things and more bring beautiful awareness. You know that feeling of; connecting with others in a pure authentic way, creating a piece of art in utter alignment-flow or listening to music, the kind that touches something so innate within us, it’s soul-soothing and soul-shattering all at once. You really feel alive, connected to everyone and everything – it’s in these experiences that we are touched so deeply. When everything else suddenly falls away and we are truly present. It’s like we fall in sync with the rhythm or the frequency of who we really are. It’s this experience or happening that makes me more curious to push further. Glimpses into my wholeness, our wholeness, the wholeness of the universe, God, Goddess, Spirit, Universe, Creator, Mama Earth, oneness. It’s really hard to describe or fully grasp. This definitely is something that fuels my passion to create.

If all else fails there’s always Pinterest – ha! 

Have you had times in your life when it felt like your creative spark went out? How did you navigate or cope with this time?

Oh my yes, most definitely I have, many, many times. This happens if I’m neglecting a part of myself or if I’m on the verge of expanding. It’s actually quite rough – these spaces, but I try my best and trust the process, the journey. When this happens, as it does frequently, I try to get quiet and listen to what to do next. Sometimes it’s walking away, other times it’s pushing through to see what happens next. I use to automatically go to the place of self negative talk; like – “I’m not an artist – this is a total shit show.” Now, I am trying to be more patient and gentle with myself. Knowing life is always happening right now, every moment and not when I’m a “better artist” in the future. Also, I’m trying to instill more patience when this happens knowing eventually the creative spark always comes back.

    How do you best flow with your creative cycles and do you recognize them as they occur?

    For me this comes down to, am I in alignment? And trying to recognize earlier when I’m out of alignment. I know well the feelings of being out of alignment with my authentic self, this is what brought me back to art in the first place. I have sort of developed a checklist;

    Where is my mindset? Am I forcing something or flowing in alignment? They both work right? I mean we can force ourselves to do many things, our will is powerful. So asking myself is this in alignment with me or is it something I’m trying to own that actually doesn’t fit me. Ha, I try to save my forced will of things like cleaning my house! When I make the conscious effect to be aware of when I am in alignment that crazy need to compare myself to others isn’t as present. However, when I’m out of alignment it is very present, backing up that feeling of lack, that I’m not good enough. This has been a beautiful gage of when I need to navigate back to my true self.

    What happened? Why, when or how did I veer off course? What were the trigger points? For me it can be years back or 5 minutes ago. Was I trying to make something fit? It may, but do I really want it to? These are the questions I try to ask myself now. What kind of art that I make feels most in alignment with me? What flows the best, when am I having the most fun? This seems to change somewhat but there is a steady constant and that is, being able to freely express myself without restrictions. Why do I flow more when I have the mindset of “no expectations of outcome” in my work? Because I’m not restricted by any guidelines or outcomes I set for myself, or by any that I can feel others might have.

    This helps me clear up space to flow more in my own alignment. As opposed to trying to force creative flow from a place that isn’t really in alignment to who I am, as a person and artist. So listening to what feels most in alignment, authentic to me, taking time to access and learning to embrace my intuition more is helping me engage with my creative flow.

    So sometimes, I recognize and sometimes I do not, these cycles can certainly sneak up on me. Then there are these to take into account as well: Moon cycles, seasonal cycles and even the flow of the days have a cycle. I think these alone have measure with our individual and collective flows or ability to make waves. So there are times I have to ask myself how much of this is mine and how much is the Collective? This is a helpful discernment. Usually, almost always it is both, and when the Collective consciousness magnifies my own feelings, I know it’s time to stop, get quiet and pour some love, balance and harmony into her. The ebb and flow, a beautiful delicate dance, let’s just say, sometimes it’s graceful and other times I’m picking myself off the floor – ha!!

    What advice would you give to a newer artist about channeling their passion?

    I feel it’s important to remember to allow some room for patience (something I’m continuously working on ha) while we are starting out and all throughout creative life. Allow lots of room for play and exploration as maybe “a step in, or addition to” learning new skills and techniques in art making. This is helpful for me when I study the structure of the face. For example, we feel the need, desire and drive to learn as much as possible when we start anything new right? Which is awesome, but can be overwhelming or a feeling of “when I get there” so I think taking small breaks when or if we feel this helps.

    Practice, patience and perseverance are great teachers to give ourselves when we are learning something new.

    Find artists you love, study their paintings, what do you love? The colors, composition, style, the feelings and emotions you feel? What are these paintings, artists trying to say to you? And if they are living and you can learn from them in person or online do it, if you can.

    But also remember the best teacher is YOU! Once you’ve acquired some skills and techniques lean into your own teachings, as well. Because in every one of us lives our innate creative being, that holds tons of wisdom! Follow your heart, your wisdom and your divine guidance.

    And remember art is so much FUN and is soooo HEALING! When we channel these two things alone, I feel we can better handle the ups and downs that come with creating and daily life. They are beautiful reminders of why we were all drawn to using our creativity in the first place! Don’t give up!  Usually a  breakthrough comes right after that feeling 🙂 – another step in the journey and practice makes progress and patience is most definitely a virtue when it comes to art <3

    “Create what you want to see in the world” is so profound! What are a couple things you would like to see in the world? A couple of mine are unconditional Love, authenticity, balance and harmony. All these feelings and emotions are infused in each of my paintings, no matter what it looks like. If we want to change or impact the world it literally starts with ourselves. So within so without. Be you…because that is what you were created for and we want to see it! <3

    Best of luck and wishes to each of you!!! Thank you for using your creativity – it brings so much unique expression, healing, love and light into our world!!

    To learn more about Sara and follow her beautiful creative journey, you can visit her on Instagram and Facebook

    MASTER ARTIST GUIDE

    Vincent van Gogh

    When one thinks of passion, many artists come to mind. When one thinks of passion with a generous dose of suffering, one can’t go too far without thinking of dear Vincent van Gogh.

    Plagued by mental illness, epilepsy and addiction, he pummeled his way through life led by his heart and the unstoppable yearning to capture all the world in his paintings. He created in a mania often doing several paintings a day.

    He created almost constantly – producing more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches! Despite this enormous body of work, he only ever sold one painting (The Red Vineyard at Arles) while he was alive and lived an impoverished, painful, conflicted existence. He died by his own hand, at the age of 37.

    We can only be thankful that he was willing to suffer for his art, since he left a miraculous body of work, now treasured by the world.

    I encourage you to do a few master studies this month. Vincent’s drawings and paintings are absolutely fascinating to study! Notice his use of movement in his strokes and his keen color sense.

    Pick your favorites and try and recreate them in your sketchbook!

    pinterest board
    recommended books
    More info on Vincent

    Click the links below to learn more about his biography, timeline and view the full catalogue of his work. 

    A Time for Everything

    So often an artist complains of a block.  We can all relate to this – the dreaded artistic block! This isn’t a new concept – writers, poets, musicians and yes, artists have always struggled with this inevitable occurrence. We cry, we numb out, we crawl into bed and moan…”our muse has left us….we will never paint, write, sing, dance, create again!!” It can be rather dramatic, right? But it can feel that gut wrenching, that devastating, that terrifying.

    One moment we are flying high, images, ideas, words, lyrics flow from us effortlessly. We whirl and twirl in the ecstasy of artistic bliss. People marvel at our boundless energy, our joy, the spring in our step. We smile knowingly, yet foolishly. Giddy with it all.

    Then it stops.
    The light goes out.
    Our brush ceases to move.
    The words cease to come.
    The music dies.

    We start to question and doubt. We walk away from the easel feeling like we must have missed something – there was no warning! We feel empty!

    Ah yes, often when our creative fire appears to go out, it shocks us and causes much distress… but there are natural cycles to all energy, right?

    We see cycles in absolutely everything in nature. Nothing stays the same. Nothing is in a constant state of being. The waves come in and then go out. The flowers bloom and then die. The night eventually gives way to the azure dawn. So, why would we think our creative energy would be any different?

    Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes our natural creative cycle beautifully…listen…

    Once we understand that our creative energy, our passion fire has a cyclical nature – we can flow with it. When it is at its pinnacle and yes, when it is in its decline as well. Instead of swimming against the tide, we can ride the current and when we come to rest upon the shore, we can peacefully succumb to the stillness and reflect upon our journey. We can prepare and rest and gather ourselves before we get swept away into the frothy waves once more. This is a sacred cycle. One that must be respected and revered and guarded.

    In Creative Fire, Clarissa mentions that our creative cycles can be disturbed and distorted by unnatural influences as well. The most powerful destroyer of this cycle is our inner critic. We must remain ever vigilant and self aware of this fact. If we don’t control our ego, we can tear ourselves out of alignment with our creative cycles.

    Suddenly, a natural creative death becomes an assault of our essence. If you find yourself unable to create because you feel paralyzed with fear and berated by negative self talk, then your creative self is under attack by your critic. Recognize this early on. Take time to write down all the negative talk you are hearing. Begin to disarm it with love. Acknowledge you are feeling fearful, vulnerable. Allow yourself to feel these feelings and let them move through you.

    Meditate and pray for guidance and healing. Call upon your muses. Give yourself plenty of rest, exercise and time in nature. Realign with what is natural. If you were in the middle of a big project, take some quiet time to simply sketch or doodle. Watch a funny movie or your favorite stand up comedian! Let yourself laugh and not take things so seriously. Laughter is always good medicine.

    Have faith that you will come back into flow with your creative nature, since it is truly the most natural state of your being.

    Remember, that there is a time for everything and that like the seasons and the tides, your creative cycles will ebb and flow.

    “Neglecting passion blocks creative flow. When you are passionate, you are energized.”
    – Gabrielle Bernstein
    My Creative Cycle

    I decided to really sit down and define my own creative cycle. This was an excellent exercise and made me truly contemplate how creativity flows through me. I discovered I have 8 clear phases in my creative cycle.

    1 .Inspiration – {the spark}

    • The tiny flutter of a concept or flash of brilliance that captures my attention.
    • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase –  excitement, wonder, trepidation, distraction, curiosity

    2. Ideation – {the dream}

    • This is the mingling of ideas and imagery that begins to surface. My mind begins to string together the sparks of inspiration. 

    • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – energetic, giddy, joy, fast thoughts, dreams, visions, many images in my mind, some sleeplessness.

    3. Research – {the focus}

    • The ideas start to take shape and require more information. More definition. More focus. I begin to research and apply structure to my vision. 

    • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – Obsession, curiosity, hungry for more, go within, desire for solitude and quiet, senses are heightened, note taking, late nights.

      4. Exploration – {the play}

      • This is where I combine information and ideas. Sketches, small studies, doodles, playing with my materials. Preparing.

      • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – excitement, play, energetic, happiness, some doubt, some concerns, more time alone desired, gathering, experimenting, obsessive.

        5. Production – {the work}

        • Now, I bring together my preparation, my ideas and my discoveries and go into the process of producing work. This stage requires focus, often solitude and a deep sense of being present in the evolution of the work. This is where I often find flow. 

        • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – doubt, anxiety, obsessive pull to work, release after work begins, moody, excited at the possibilities, energy, eventually flow and focus

          6. Revision – {the edit}

          • I call on my analytical mind and my discerning eye to step back and observe my creation. I question it and evaluate it. Where can I improve, what can I change? 

          • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – doubt, (yes there is a lot of doubt), objectivity, observing, controlling, feeling a bit emotionless, subtle dullness, beginnings of detachment

            7. Release – {the birth}

            • This is the finishing of my work. My surrender to the outcome. The stopping point in my production. 

            • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – Excited to be done, pleased or disappointed depending on the end result, a slight feeling of emptiness, self consciousness, self-critical, tired, feeling spent. Elation upon completion (sometimes) followed by moodiness.

              8. Repose – {the rest}

              • This is my period of rest and stillness. A quiet emptiness after the cycle has come to a completion. The tide going out to the sea. A death, only to be followed by a rebirth and reawakening. 

              • Emotions/Side effects felt during this phase – Emptiness, some depression, wanting to “check-out”, be left alone, doubt, need more sleep, wondering what is next?, want to be comforted, detachment, sometimes feeling burnt out.

                    I illustrated this cycle in my sketchbook (as per one of our sketchbook prompts) and I found it very informative and healing to explore this. I highly recommend you try this. Be super honest with yourself. I believe these kind of exercises can help us relate to where we are in the present moment and be kinder to ourselves through the creative cycle.
                Sketchbook Explorations

                Before we begin our explorations, I wanted to provide a cohesive theme for us to focus on. This will help unify our explorations and provides us with a simple place to start when approaching a VERY white and VERY blank sketchbook.

                Our sketchbook theme this month is – “Shades of Red”. In alignment with our color palette, the color of Passion and the brilliance and power of red. I thought it would be fun to really play with this bold color. Of course, since it’s “Shades of Red” you can explore softer, pink reds or deep garnet and everything in between! Use it as an accent, use it as the main color. Create lines, patterns, splashs and shapes in red. Experiment and play!

                “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
                Vincent van Gogh
                Passion Infused Prompt:

                Passion demands action. So let’s get busy! Cut out 10 squares of mixed media or watercolor paper. Make them whatever size feels right but I would recommend no bigger than 6” x 6”. Now tape them up to a wall or your work table and quickly and with passion create 10 abstract pieces using only black, white and a color of your choice. Work fast and work on all of them at once. Play and get messy. Set a timer and give yourself 30 minutes to work. See what happens! Don’t overthink! You might end up with 10 pieces you love or only 1 – the point is you leapt into action!

                Please remember, our explorations in our sketchbook are really just access points to get you into the flow. However, they can also be seeds for new ideas, concepts and themes in your art. Some of them will be more about writing and others more about drawing and painting. You will see below three prompts and exercises explained and photographed from my own sketchbook. You are welcome to expand upon, invent and experiment with your own concepts too. Use our color palette if you want to. You will see I stay in that theme for my explorations. These may feel silly at first but let your inner artist play.

                EXPLORATION 1

                One With Red

                Create a sketchbook page or spread using only neutrals and red. It could be abstract, a portrait or a collage. Play with this bold color and enjoy it.

                EXPLORATION 2

                Inner Fire*

                Illustrate your own creative fire. When you close your eyes and imagine the creative fire within you, what images come to mind. Again this could be literal or very abstract. Collage, paint or sketch as you like to bring these images to the page.

                ****You will see me create my page in our monthly lesson!***

                EXPLORATION 3

                Your Creative Cycle

                We talked about our creative cycles. Draw a circle and illustrate your creative cycle. Take time to think about the different stages you go through, these might be different to everyone and will most certainly be named different things. Write down your thoughts, emotions, side effects or words that you associate to each stage. Understanding this cycle will help you flow.

                Passion Infused Prompt:

                Strong emotions are fueled with passion. Whether positive or negative these emotions need release. Allow yourself to focus on a memory or a situation that brings up emotions in you. Get a large piece of paper and let that emotion out. Play music to help release your energy onto paper. Work for no longer than 30 minutes. Make sure you stay in your body and out of the analytical mind. Feel the emotion and then set it free. DO NOT focus on the outcome of the piece. You might just tear it up after you are done OR you might love it…it’s not the point.

                Other Ideas To Try

                RED THOUGHTS – Create a page dedicated to everything Red makes you think of. You could draw these things or create a decorative list. It could include things like, love, hearts, blood, apples, anger, roses etc.

                RED LINE – Use a red colored pencil or ballpoint pen to create a sketch. Enjoy the strange and interesting look of all the red linework.

                MAY ART PROJECT

                Inner Fire

                I absolutely loved creating this sketchbook page with you. It was so wonderful to use the theme of our Inner Creative Fire as a prompt. It conjured up powerful, fiery imagery in my mind. I decided to do a mixed media collage and play with creating an image that conveyed my emotion.

                Collage is such a fantastic way to hone your design and composition skills so enjoy moving around the different elements and composing something that speaks to you! I speak at length about this in the lesson.

                I often love to use vintage women in my collages. Evelyn Nesbit is one of my favorites!

                STUDIOWORKS PODCAST

                May: issue five

                You can also listen to this month’s issue of the Studioworks journal. I find I love listening to books, podcasts and music while I draw, paint or go on a long walk. Enjoy.

                inspiration: curated

                One of my favorite things to do is to curate inspiration. From Pinterest boards to books, resources, playlists and more – I love to share anything that might facilitate learning, expansion, and sparks of curiosity! Being an artist, we naturally crave these things so here are some of this month’s picks from me to you.

                BOOKS TO IGNITE YOUR CREATIVITY

                MUSIC PLAYLIST

                I’ve curated another eclectic list…some faster, some slower hopefully a good mix to get your creative fire going! Enjoy

                INSTAGRAM MUSES

                Passionate artists, eye candy galore…

                PINTEREST BOARDS