Creative Spark

 

Let there be light. Creationists and evolutionists do agree on one thing: creation began with light. A spark arose from the void. From there developed this diverse, complex world, filled with life.

Let your ideas flourish. When a spark appears in your mind—when inspiration descends—acknowledge it. Don’t ignore it. Nurture it. Just like a tiny ember, creative sparks need attention, fuel, and upkeep for robust results.
  1. Attention. Write it down. Talk about it. Make it real.
  2. Fuel. Plan your next steps. Take action.
  3. Upkeep. When you encounter obstacles, learn from them and adjust your plan accordingly.
Feed your spark. Encourage it into being. It will grow slowly at first, but then begin building exponentially, and can unfold even beyond your initial scope and goals.

Birthing Inspiration

Director/Producer Jessicca Moore
(photo by Erin Wrightsman)
Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner in Petaluma, CA, is branching out into a compelling filmmaking endeavor. Personal experience and professional integrity has driven her to make a documentary that will change the reputation of home birth in America. Why Not Home? tells the story of doctors and nurses who work in hospital labor and delivery, but chose home birth for themselves. The scope of this project is rapidly gaining attention. We recently had the chance to chat with Moore about her creative pursuits.  


Why a documentary?
At first I wasn’t sure. I had a story I wanted to tell, but should it be an article, a book, something on the web, or a documentary? Generally speaking our culture in this time is very visual. I decided there were plenty of gifted writers taking this on, but visual storytelling was something I felt I could add to the discussion.



What experiences brought you to filmmaking?
I wish I could say I have some great filmmaking experience, but I haven’t until now. It’s been a huge learning curve. As a kid I had fun playing around with video, news anchoring with my friends, but nothing more serious than that. I’ve always loved watching documentaries and when I thought about this story, a documentary seemed like the best way to tell it. I’ve had some great support from filmmakers and artists who have encouraged and inspired me in this process.


Behind-the-scenes filming "Why Not Home?"
(photo by Erin Wrightsman)

What do you do to recharge your creative energy?
Getting out in nature, moving my body, and spending time with friends helps me recharge. Before I launched this Kickstarter campaign, I got to spend a weekend in the Sierras with some girlfriends—a perfect mix of the 3 elements for recharging! There was no cell service or internet access. We went for some beautiful hikes and swam in freezing cold mountain lakes, ate well and laughed. When I can’t get away to the mountains, a run down my country road, a morning walk with a friend, a good yoga class, or a day at the beach with the kids can do the trick, too. I grew up in Missouri, but since moving to California 11 years ago I’ve become pretty attached to the Pacific Ocean. The ocean air and the pounding waves really recharge my spirit.

What do you hope to inspire in others?
I hope to inspire others to explore their options and not accept the status quo without looking at the evidence. Place of birth is only one in a series of options new parents will explore. The way we approach birth can set a trajectory for parenthood. I believe this matters. I also want families and clinicians to think about autonomy in a way that supports the integrity of birth. My greatest hope for this film is to inspire women and families to approach birth with power and strength, feeling informed and open to the process as it unfolds.

Do you see other film projects in your future?
Ask me again when this one is over. Birth isn’t the only part of healthcare in America that needs improvement, and documentary storytelling is a powerful tool in changing the cultural conversation.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Perspective is a hard thing as a child. I think I would tell my young self not to take myself too seriously. Try new things. Explore. Life is long. Don’t put unnecessary limitations on yourself. There is time and space for more than you imagine.

To learn more about Why Not Home?
whynothome.com
twitter / instagram @whynothome
facebook @ Why not Home?

The Mind is Not a Vessel


Inspiration Through Grief

I am grieving. Two weeks ago, my beautiful 14-year-old shepherd mix died. Katherine was a wonderful dog. She followed me everywhere I went. For 14 years I had a perfect assistant in everything I did.

As I worked at my desk every day, she laid in the floor beside me, doing nothing more than napping. Yet now, without her presence, work seems a much more daunting task. What did she do for me there, while she slept? Did she provide a subconscious awareness of peace, of accomplishment, of happiness...some recognition of life well-lived? Without it, I am spinning, lost in a free fall. I feel disconnected from past accomplishments. A bone-deep loneliness haunts me. I wallow in the void she left behind. How am I to create anything within such grief?

As a forest fire burning through and demanding new growth to come forth,
grief extinguishes comforts I had known and forces new goals to emerge.


This is but one stage in the grieving process. Grief often brings about inspiration and uplifting changes. My outlook will lift, I will work through this depression, and on the other side I will rebuild. Just as a forest sprouts seedlings after a fire, some new expression will manifest through this loss. Reconstruction and hope are part of this journey. Losing Katherine will inspire me to move forward in other areas, to see clear solutions I hadn't seen before.

When that stage comes, I will feel recharged and renewed. I will set new goals and strive toward new accomplishments. I will thrive daily in my work, and soak up every bit of joy it brings. I'm just not there yet.

Art Enables Us

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” —Thomas Merton



Easy Techniques for Creative Solutions



Creative thinking connects ideas that haven’t been used together before. Sounds simple when put that way, but gaining a fresh approach is often challenging. Here are some exercises to help you break out of routine thought patterns with any project.

You’re an alien. You’ve never seen or heard of this topic before. What to make of it? How would your alien culture solve it? Is it a problem, or is it something much simpler? Look at questions as if for the first time. Research related solutions from other fields.

You’re a three-year-old. Ask questions. Think of every possible question you can relating to the solution at hand. Then ask a nearly infinite series of, “Why?”

It’s your best friend’s problem. Pretend a good friend has just approached you and asked for your advice on the matter. Often, when you detach your personal investment in the project, you can see more possibilities.

Let it simmer. Walk away from the project entirely for an hour, an afternoon, a day. Let your subconscious work on it in the background while you’re mowing the lawn or planning dinner. Your brain comes up with great ideas when you aren’t forcing it.

Use a pen. Put pen to paper and draw, brainstorm, doodle, make notes—flowing ink gets ideas flowing. Writing down your thoughts helps you see connections you might have otherwise missed.

Don’t overthink it. Keep relaxed and open with these brainstorming tips. Planning your approach is like knocking on a door. Ideas will answer.

Joose According to Mark


Mark Montgomery is an acclaimed digital illustrator. He specializes in caricatures with fluid geometric lines, inspired by cubism. Recently, Mark was kind enough to share some of his insights with Kreative Joose.

What motivates you to keep creating?
Being a part of creative groups, locally or on social media, that target people who do similar work. There is always something to learn from other artists. Also I’ve started reading artists biographies to see how they thought and worked. This year I’ve been studying Thomas Hart Benton, Picasso, and Michelangelo. Also, I read Kreative Joose to keep me motivated.


Why do you prefer digital illustration?
The computer lets me work closer with my sketches and I can endlessly edit the lines and shapes in Illustrator. Not necessarily for speed, because some images can still take as long as I want. The ease of editing is the draw to digital, I think. Plus it can easily be enlarged to print in any size for a physical product or digital use.

What do you do to recharge your creative energy?
Work in a different medium, like paint or ink. Drawing and finishing something by hand gets me back to why I got into illustration in the first place. Plus, there are a lot more “happy accidents” when you can’t “Command Z” your way out of a jam.





What reaction do you hope to inspire in others?
I would like immediate laughter. That means they are connecting to and recognizing the likeness or message. Secondly, I would like them taking a closer look to see what I was thinking. I want to inspire looking at the physical world differently. I like to hear comments like “That’s so cool, how did you do that?” from the general public. And “I don’t get it; it’s weird,” from my parents.

Any personal experience or moment that brought you to this craft?

My uncle was a creative director for an ad agency in Kansas City. One day, while I was in high school, my parents and I visited his office. It was the first time I had heard of graphic design and art direction. The atmosphere was fun and creative and I just loved the idea that every image pattern on a hamburger wrapper or street sign was drawn by somebody first. I knew from that moment, this was the world I wanted to be a part of.




What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do your own thing and let the world catch on. Trust your instincts. I’ve seen a lot of young illustrators in New York who study with a famous illustrator, and then end up with the same style. They get in magazines and make some money, but I can’t tell them apart.

Don’t give up your day job. Not yet. It’s OK to work two jobs for awhile.

Never stop learning or asking questions.

It is better to be rejected from a national magazine than a local one. Swing big. Treat your portfolio of work like it is gold and people NEED to see it. Be bold or no one will notice you.



Stargazing

People have been looking to the sky for thousands of years, finding mysteries and inspiration. The more we study space, the more limitless it seems. 



In recent years, scientists pointed the Hubble telescope at a spot in the night sky that looked totally dark and empty. Using long exposure times (10-11 days), they captured images that will blow your mind. (Seriously, your mind won’t know what to do with itself—mine sure didn’t.)

In the face of such vastness, I can’t help but feel like anything is possible. Take a look...

Life Isn't About Finding Yourself

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. –George Bernard Shaw

The Nail Revolution?


The last couple of weeks, I have been completely sidetracked by something called Jamberry nail wraps. Evidently, three ingenious sisters have come up with vinyl decals for nails. Not only are they more durable than nail polish, they are easy to apply, too.

I was very skeptical about these from the beginning. I’m hard on my nails, and polish only lasts 2-3 days for me—hardly worth the effort. I got a free sample to test it out. I was kind of nervous about it, and I just knew they would end up all over my cuticles instead of perfect and smooth like the photos online. Applying them was really anti-climactic. It was way too easy and over way too soon. And then I didn’t have to wait for my nails to dry, which I kind of missed out of habit.

But the strangest part was they actually did last 10 days for me. I did dishes, laundry, bath nights, yard work, even repainted the bathroom (along with all the taping). They still looked great!

Chalkboard Hearts
Despite addressing common nail polish drawbacks—and having ethical testing and production standards—the focus of Jamberry’s sales technique is mainly visual. Get a group of women together and start showing them the designs. The range of styles has something for everyone’s taste. Even me (and that’s not easy to come by—think hippie meets goth—see Chalkboard Hearts for a perfect example).

The vinyl material can be printed with any design, and Jamberry has over 300 to choose from. As if that’s not enough, you can upload your own images to their online nail art studio, and custom design a sheet of nail wraps for a small extra fee. The design possibilities really are endless.

No more chipping, no more drying time, no more expensive nail salon visits. No more destroying your self esteem after trying to replicate the intricate nail art you find on Pinterest. They are calling it the Nail Revolution. And you know what? I think they are right.

Do they enrich my creativity or distract from it? That’s entirely debatable. 

Achieve the Impossible

Only those who attempt the absurd...will achieve the impossible. -M.C. Escher

Six Stunning Handprint Art Projects

For Father’s Day (or any occasion), here are six stunning handprint art projects that will display like masterpieces.

1. FAMILY Collage





2. Andy Warhol Style


3. Handprint Hearts



4. Baby Heart


5. Handprint Tree




6. Daddy's Girl





Paint Like a Child

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. -Pablo Picasso
It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.   –Pablo Picasso

Color Words Brain Game

Thinking creatively is about breaking out of the typical pathways for thought processes. Exercise your creativity with this color name game. This is a hard one!




















More information on this exercise.

Fresh Air

Brooding in the dark can be restorative, but so is basking in the sun!



During summer, we tend to think of fun in the sun, but being outside helps your mind work better, too. Taking a break can make you more productive. Being outdoors reduces stress, anxiety, and depression—all of which hinder fluid thinking. 

Get some fresh air. Go for a walk or run. Picnic for lunch. Visit a local park.

Breathe. Release the stress of the day and enjoy connecting with nature. Refresh your mind. Revive your spirit.

More details on benefits of getting outside.

Be

 Be, from Jonathan Livingston Seagull... (full lyrics)
Be as a page that aches for a word which speaks on a theme that is timeless. Neil Diamond, Be, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Be as a page that aches for a word which speaks on a theme that is timeless.

Playful Thinking

Kids play every day. But as people get older, play comes to us less naturally. We get comfortable in certain routines and habits. Stretching our minds gets harder.

Exercise your creativity! Pick up an every day object and approach it from a new angle. Pretend like you don’t know what it is, and try to guess its purpose. Think of as many uses for it as you can. Flip it around. Look at the bottom as the top. Write down all your ideas. Have fun with it!


Dancing in the Rain

I love all the rain in spring—the downpour on the deck, the rumbling sky, colors warping in the changing light. I revel in a dimly lit room and imagine I’m in a cave a hundred thousand years ago, watching nature’s display. 


This year, my kids started playing in the rain. Most of us used to do the same at some time in our lives. I haven’t in years, but now I wonder why I gave up such an enjoyable habit. Something about having to clean up the wet clothes and wait for the shoes to dry takes the magic out of it.

But watching my son dance in the rain—soaked and carefree—brings sweet comfort. It feels good to know in this stressful, fast-paced world, the newest generation can still appreciate the rain.

What the heck is a Graphic Designer?

I wanted to be a graphic designer my whole life. I just didn’t know it.

My mom recognized my artistic vein early on, and encouraged it however she could. She signed me up for fifth grade Art Club. She found a friend to give me drawing lessons. Every time my artist aunt visited, mom made sure we had time to draw together.

Lucky for me, mom was an elementary teacher. She would sometimes hand me markers and posterboard and ask me to make posters for a lesson. I will never forget the summer she served as youth music teacher for church camp. I got to put all the song lyrics on posters and embellish them with illustrations! In high school, my favorite part of cheerleading was making posters each week to support upcoming games. The ironic thing is, I never took art classes in high school. Drawing pictures did not capture as much of my attention. Imagery with type and a message was the thrill I sought.

Growing up in a small, rural area, my counselor was ill-equipped to craft my career. I was on a college-prep track, which was fine. I planned to go to college, but had trouble deciding on a major. When I told my counselor I wanted to make posters for a living, she said, “A commercial artist?! No, you’re too smart for that. You need to be a doctor or a lawyer.” Thanks, but no thank you.

When I started college, I was on a mission to find my career, to learn what it was called and how to achieve it. After many visits to the campus career center, I found an index card entitled “Computer Graphic Designer”. It sang to me.

So what the heck is a graphic designer? The role is so immersed in our culture that most people don't realize it exists. Everything you see that has words and imagery—billboards, ads, websites, stationery, greeting cards, signage, street banners, clothing, invitations, product packaging, etc.—was created by a graphic designer. While we use computer programs to layout the art, most of our ideas start as sketches first. Some of us specialize in web media, some in print materials, and some in motion graphics (think opening movie credits). We supply the digital art files. It’s a vast, long-established, evolving field.

Still, when I told my friends and family I was going to be a graphic designer, I got mixed reactions, and had a lot of explaining to do. Most every time I tell someone what I do for a living, I get a blank stare in response, and quickly launch into my explanation.

Bold Color Choices

Art comes naturally to children. They effortlessly express their choices in colors, patterns, shapes— and end up with an intriguing image. You’re not just impressed by it because it’s your child (or grandchild). There’s real aesthetic value (along with breathtaking fun). Picasso once said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

I’ve seen living spaces professionally designed with the same fabulous color palette as the tutu ensemble my niece just put together. I’m not kidding. See below.

















As children, we express ourselves intuitively. Through growing up, we learn to judge that intuition, to hinder it, or ignore it completely. As adults, we strive to reconnect to these instincts—to express ourselves effectively. 

People who are bold enough to experiment with color exude confidence. Encourage them and look to them for inspiration. Make bold color choices. Choose colors to display the mood you want to invoke. It is indeed an effective way to stand out.

Image Sources:
BHG
Pinterest