How Curiosity Sparks New Ideas

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Curiosity has me pondering changes I might take on my blog.  I’ll explain.

Yesterday I received an email from someone touting a new way to interact with other people who share the same interest on my website.  I was curious so I read to the end of the lengthy article.  Rather than the blogger lecturing to their audience, I would be building relationships with other like-minded followers, people who are also curious and want to be in deeper discussions, answering each other’s questions, and learning from each other.

I guess that’s what you could describe as a tribe.  This would be a group of people interested in the same subject, dedicated into delving into their experiences, sharing what helped them to overcome blocks and obstacles, and growing as a result.

This concept piqued my interest because I’m feeling more and more that I’m closing myself off  by separating myself from other people.  Blogging requires me to find subjects other people would be interested in, and I don’t really have a clue without some repartee.

Besides that, I love learning.  Writing by myself doesn’t give me the opportunity to have exchanges and to learn from others.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

This sounds more exciting, more stimulating, and more interesting to me than sitting yet again in front of the computer, trying to come up with the idea that will make a difference.  But  without feedback, I write material that interests me at the moment I’m writing.  But I envision a much more meaningful interchange with the help of a group of people who have similar interest.  I see us in a lively exchange of ideas, making new awarenesses, and receiving  inspiration to try new things.

We’d all be inspiring each other to move forward.

I’m curious about how this could work.  Certainly I need to have feedback from those of you who might be interested in such a group.

Would you be interested exploring how your creativity shapes you and your life?  You might want to share what you’re aware of with a like-minded group of people, people who wouldn’t look at you curiously, wondering what the heck you’re trying to say?  Have you ever considered meeting with more people who “get” you?

Please comment on this post if you’re also curious about being in a group such as this one.  Share any ideas which have.  And please let me know if you’d be interested in helping to form this kind of tribe.

The button to post a comment is to the left of the post.

Thank you so much.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Doretta

If you’re interested in reading more about this subject, go to:

http://try.mightynetworks.com/start-a-blog-in-2018/?utm_source=Mighty+Network+Hosts&utm_campaign=f1292b500a-5StepsEmailtoInactiveHosts_080917&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a0d6be056c-f1292b500a-29020521

Why we often create the same theme multiple times?

I came across the painting above going through 300 slides that were recently converted to digital.  It’s one of many paintings I did in the past depicting lovers in a jungle scene.  Since I’ve been noticing that same themes  crop up in my artwork a lot, I asked myself:

Why have I felt compelled to examine this particular subject over and over again?

This quote may elucidate this conundrum:

If there were only one truth, you couldn’t paint a hundred canvases on the same theme.

Pablo Picasso

Many writers and painters have often used the same theme to create their art. John le Carre wrote spy fiction.  J.M.W. Turner, considered the founder of English watercolour painting, was famous for his landscape paintings with their unconventional emphasis on light, colour and atmospheric effects.

And then, there’s this that further clarifies why I felt drawn to paint this subject.

I do not think writers ought ever to sit down and think they must write about some cause, or theme, or something. If they write about their own experiences, something true is going to emerge.

Doris Lessing

I know it’s getting into muddy waters discussing “alternate” truths.  It’s been a hot topic since Kellyanne Conway spoke those words in defense of our president.  But without questioning what a truth is, how can we know how our truths affect us?

The one thing I know for sure is that knowing a truth doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same truth for someone else.  We all carry a set of beliefs that we hold as the truth. This doesn’t make my belief any more true than what’s true for others. 

Our truths may be like other people’s truths, but often they are not.  Contrasting beliefs can often causes division and sometimes conflict, especially when some people want to force their beliefs on other people.

My own beliefs have changed over time.  Big changes have caused new, different circumstances in my life, and with those new circumstances I felt impelled to reevaluate what is the truth for me in the present.

The Impressionists faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France, but through the impressionist’s independent exhibitions and their well-heeled admirers, they were brought to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.  This was a result of the changing belief and acceptance of impressionism as art.

So it stands to reason that there’s no one truth.

Even though I was painting the same theme many times, the paintings included different subject matter.  Some were the jungle scene with a single person, some included a couple, some depicted dancers. 

The answers to my question began with remembering the time I first saw a jungle scene in a painting.  It was a painting by Rousseau of a woman next to a lion in a jungle.  The painting impacted my 12 year old self because I’d been struggling with the truth that women didn’t count for much in the fifties.  My interpretation of having the lady next to lion, both peaceful,  meant that a woman could be as strong as a lion–a colossal awareness for my disappointed and angry self at that time. 

As I look at my different jungle themed paintings now, I realize that I have approached each successive painting with a new viewpoint of the subject—updating the truth.  No longer needing the lion to remind me of my strength, I am safe in a jungle alone.  Lovers and dancers are depicted enjoying the beauty and expansiveness of the setting.  I am aware now that it was that jungle scene which set me free to be my highest, true self and now I’m free to be there in any guise I choose.  

The truth does emerge when we paint our experiences.

How I Changed my Mind to Be Happy

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This morning, writing in my journal, I began to list what I intended to achieve during the day.  Would I query some new agents with the book I’ve written, or should I begin painting again today?  I’ve put my art on hold while I wrote my book, and then after that a book proposal.  Several other options to stay busy poured out on the page, and I began to feel discombobulated.

When I made a decision to write the book, I had a singular purpose.  There were no other options than write, write, write some more.

Because I focused on my art for so long, I questioned if I could handle adding another separate activity to my life.  But the pull to write the book was so strong, I was willing to quit painting for the duration of producing a book.

Now that the book is completed, I don’t have any single purpose driving me to accomplish something.  Now I’m waiting to hear from agents who are in the process of reading my manuscript, and I’m feeling antsy.

How do I make a choice when there’s no purpose?

The painting above was painted about fourteen years ago.  A friend had written a poem about a mother twirling with her baby in a field of poppies.  I immediately wanted to capture the intense feeling of pleasure that filled my heart when I read the poem.

I was feeling the exuberance of being in an open field, the sun shining down on us.  I was soaking up the beauty around me.  Full of love for the baby in my arms, I appreciated the moment, the two of us together, twirling in the expansive surroundings.

I had an epiphany.  Why can’t I let go and enjoy this moment, like I did with my imagination about the painting?  Why do I always have to have a purpose for anything?

What difference does it make if I let my heart choose instead of having something concrete to show for that moment?  Why can’t I have the same passion for whatever is happening in the moment as I do for all that I’m able to achieve?

That’s when I realized that real knowing comes from the heart.  It doesn’t measure success by what you’ve created.  It’s the other way around.  You have to let go and open your heart to create.

That’s when you’re in the flow.  That’s when you’re the happiest.  That’s what I should be striving for now.  To be happy.  Not to depend on some external circumstance to bring me joy.

So I did let go and allowed myself the experience of letting each moment dictate the next action I took.  No matter if it was feeling good about getting the dishes washed or doing one other thing on my list, I approached each moment seeing and feeling it through the lens of happiness.

I know from experience that the best ideas come to me when I’ve been in a state of repose, away from constant concentration on one thing.  I may get an idea in the shower or while walking.  Since that’s true, I know that having faith and trusting always brings me all that I need.  I don’t have to wrack my brain to make a choice.

Since nothing I do now will make a difference in whether the agents reading my manuscripts offer to represent me or not, I’m free to live my life without worry.  Besides I also know that nothing comes to me when I’m not connected to feeling happy and loving, so chill out, Doretta

 

How Appreciation Can Change Your World

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Since I’ve always been inquisitive, and because I’ve always wanted to know why I act as I do, I’ve come to realize that creativity (which I once associated only with the arts) and Life (which was another world, ruled by circumstances beyond our control) are One.  Whatever motivates a person in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that you can apply to any situation in life.

Hold on, please.  If this doesn’t make sense yet, it will in a little while. I am going to share an experience I had today to illustrate this concept.

Today, getting ready to write this blog post, first I read my horoscope.  I receive a daily intuitive horoscope from Daily Intuitive Horoscopes written by Ghazaleah Lowe. I’ve found her horoscopes to be insightful and pointedly true most of the time.  If I don’t have the clarity to understand what she’s said yet, I’ve been willing to admit that I might not  be ready to see that in myself at that particular time.  Here’s today’s horoscope for Gemini’s ( that’s me).

I wouldn’t overthink it if I were you, dear Gemini, in fact, the truth is that your thoughts are way off and they are nowhere near close to whatever you seem to think is happening. Best you take your attention off of these thoughts and focus on your own life. A situation in your life requires more love than you are giving it right now and so it’s best that you focus on bringing more love to this situation than giving your attention to the thoughts in your mind.

The situation I found myself in when I read this was trying to figure out what to write about in this blog post.  I was having a hard time deciding.  So when I read this, it rang a bell.  I’ve realized that in order to create anything that excites and thrills me, I do have to feel love.

And then the next thing that happened amazed me.

As I was setting up my laptop computer at my desk, I noticed a quote I had scribbled on a post-it note.

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”

Tony Robbins

I can do that, I thought.

The moment I felt appreciation, thinking about both of these serendipitous events–the horoscope and the quote–those moments opened a flood of love within me.  I was feeling enormous gratitude to Life for bringing me the ways to experience ease and effortlessness in writing a new blog post.  And appreciation that I didn’t have to battle with my mind commenting and judging what I’m writing.

I picked the painting I’ve posted up above, one I made fifteen years ago, to illustrate how appreciation can and does change your world.

I painted my son with his first daughter at that time because he was the father to his daughter my father never was to me.  Sometimes in life the appreciation we never felt before surfaces in a different, but as meaningful way as the way we hoped it would have.

Appreciation is the closest to love in our world.

So what does my story have in common with the concept that whatever motivates us in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that we can apply to any situation in life?

It’s often easier to let go when we are creating because we aren’t as fearful to lose control.  In life, to let go means we have to face our vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a word that implies being susceptible to being wounded or hurt by criticism or attack.

But when I opened or let go to feel appreciation for my son treating my granddaughter with the love I had wished from my father, it did change my world instantly.  Just as letting go to appreciate the serendipitous events in my life today opened me to clarity, knowing exactly what I wanted to write on this blog post.

 

How to Be a Child Again

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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Picasso

Do you sometimes question whether you’re good enough, qualified, or worthy enough?

Are you sometimes at a loss of what to say, and do you struggle trying to have ideas come to you?

When we creatives grow up, we “think” that, in order to excel at whatever we love to do, we must designate ourselves as an artist. After all, when we are older everyone asks us what we do. However, labeling a name to what we do is fraught with problems.

The title, Artist, to us, connotes that we are now fully qualified to be equal or better than other artists in our field. We now have expectations of what being an artist implies to us. If we “fail” in our estimation to meet an expectation we have, we label ourselves a failure.

We “think” that in order to live up to our expectations, we have to be perfect.  Perfection is impossible, and actually keeps us from experimenting and growing as artists.  So how could we deal with the dilemmas we face as Artists?

We could go back to being a child again.  A child is not just open to learning, a child is consumed with curiosity.  A child can’t wait to experiment to see what each action they take will produce.  A child lives in the moment, and what they love to do each moment is play.

What would happen if, instead of judging ourselves by past successes, we move into this moment and allow our inner child to play?  What would happen is that we would be opening ourselves up to receiving ideas and inspiration from Source, from God, from our higher selves.  When we let go to receive, as opposed to some agenda our thinking mind has conjured up, we are surprised, thrilled and delighted with what comes to us.  We are now the artist we have always been.

In the middle of writing this blog, my daughter, Tracy, texted me a picture of some of her students playing.  I asked her if she would teach me how to be a kid again, and if she had some wise words to share with me.  This is her answer,

“Just be yourself.  No one else can do it any better than you.”

3 Ways to Let Go

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In order to create a visionary interpretation of an object, an artist or writer or dancer or other creative must dig deeper.  Our eyes only see what we think of as reality, so in order to really be creative, we need to go past our five senses to get in touch with our sixth sense, our intuitive power.  How do we do that?

1.  Get in touch with our feelings about the subject.  Our feelings come from a nonobjective place.  They describe how we feel about the object.  When we are open to “seeing” in this way, we bring vividly to mind what is significant about the object to us.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance.”

Aristotle

2.  Open our hearts to Love.  Love is one of the highest vibrations of the human spirit.  Love is consuming and allows us to let go of fear, meaning we receive total focus without any of the “should’s” or “cant’s” interfering.  We are free to easily and effortlessly receive ideas and inspiration.

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

Vincent Van Gogh

3.  Let Go for the Flow.  So, what is Flow?  It’s what you’re feeling when you are fully alive.  It’s when you’re involved with what you do and in harmony with the environment around you.  Flow happens when you are carried by a force outside of you.  Self-consciousness Disappears, and we become One with God.  You are only in the flow when the experience is the only reward, is the only outcome you’re focused on while you’re loving what you’re doing.

All artists know that those paintings that are created freely and effortlessly are the best – let it flow !

Dianne Middleton

For more information on how I used flow for a painting see:

http://dorettab.com/2016/12/01/flow/3 Ways to Let Go

 

 

Why Beautiful Paintings Capture the Imagination

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In my last post, Painting a Picture, I shared that I want to paint from my imagination instead of copying a photograph already produced from reality.  The painting above is an example of allowing 1/2 to flow from my imagination, and copying 1/2 from a photograph.

After posting my last blog post, I asked myself what constitutes art.  That’s a subject I took in college and there’s no easy answer.  There are no guidelines.  It’s more visceral.  Art can be copying (it’s allowed) or visionary (distinctive).

What I did realize is what I’ve always tried to achieve in every painting I do.  Regardless of whether it’s coming from my imagination or some picture I want to reproduce, I need to paint beauty.

Why do I think beauty is essential?  Without a doubt, beauty is a higher vibration than ugliness.  It’s more uplifting than something less attractive.  Beauty is more inviting, less disenchanting.  Beauty is Love.  Ugliness is Fear.

When we’re feeling the surge of Love, we’re connected to the sensation of pleasure.  It’s not difficult to look at ugliness.  It’s all around us.  We see it every day.  But all that ugliness serves for me is a reminder that I have a choice.  Do I choose Love or Fear?

Of course, if I tried, I could find the beauty in what others perceive as ugly.  But in that instance, I am still choosing Beauty and not allowing the fear to enter the painting.

Painting a Picture

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This commissioned painting is one of the last I recently completed.  I copied a picture I was asked to reproduce.  I did make a few changes, though.  For instance, I wanted to have the couple walking towards something, and that turned out to be the light in the background.  Everyone who’s seen the painting is impressed with how real the painting looks, telling me, “It looks like a picture.”

I asked myself, “Why paint something when all you manage to achieve is something that looks like something else?”  That question led me to question why I wasn’t painting what I really wanted to paint.  I’ve always wanted to paint something like a Chagall, something ethereal.  Or something so spiritual, it would stop the viewer in his/her tracks trying to figure out why the painting seemed to speak to their soul.

I found that the answer I was so easily able to express ended up being charged with all the reasons I haven’t painted what I really want to be able to do.  I’m afraid that if I allow my subconscious to control the outcome, people will judge me for what I painted.  If I give up control, I’m afraid that something I’d rather not see will emerge in the painting.  Painting out of my control will make me feel vulnerable.

I’m ready to tackle those fears now.  How about you?

Offering

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I’ve come to a place in my writing where I’m approaching “changing hats”, taking my writer hat off and putting my artist one on.   Even though I was in the middle of writing the book I’ve written, focusing on ideas for my story, images of possible ideas for paintings never stopped floating through my mind.  It’s as if my being has become accustomed to them being a part of me.

However, as I step into being the artist, now that I’m so full of wonderful possible images I can begin to paint, I find myself still needing help.  I thought that, since I had become accustomed to trusting and allowing my guidance system to lead me with my writing, the transition would be easy.  But the images that have occupied my imagination are diametrically opposed to the type of painting from the past.  The images are not sharply delineated, more like a feeling.  I’m so used to having a photograph to copy, I don’t know how to begin to paint something suggestive.

The painting posted above was done several years ago when I was up against a similar problem, that of how to get started with an idea.  Beginning a project is always the hardest part for me.  That is, until I let go.  I wanted to paint a vision, something not tangible enough to know where to get started.  Like my writing, I must’ve trusted and allowed my guidance system to lead me.  In this painting the idea I had was to offer something in exchange for my freedom from something that was keeping me in bondage to past generations.

Don’t laugh.  What is on that plate, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is a chicken breast.  How apropos!, I think now.  If I had brought rubies or diamonds for an offering, I would have worried that I’d be foolishly out of line for what I wanted to accomplish. The offering of a chicken breast is full of nourishment and sustenance, what one needs to get through a problem by letting go.  Though I’m feeling hesitation and uncertainty now, there’s one thing I can count on that makes all the difference.  If in the past I was able to pull off something without knowing how, I can do that again.  I’m not alone in this.  I can find answers.

 

 

 

Flow – The End

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My daughter asked me, “How do you know when a painting’s done.”  I thought about it and, at least, for this portrait I completed today, I decided it was finished because I couldn’t see anywhere I needed to make it better.

I promised in my last post I would share what I’ve come to understand for myself about how I experience flow in my life.  The example I’m going to use couldn’t be more perfect to illustrate how flow is as necessary in our everyday life as it is as we create.

Like so many others, I’ve been reeling from all of the unprecedented surprising laws Trump’s been enacting since becoming President.  I’ve never followed politics, so my becoming addicted to following all the news relating to the past few days is abnormal for me.

I noticed symptoms coming from this new obsession;  insomnia, anxiety, fear, and inability to concentrate, all disastrous emotions for creatives.  We can’t know what we want until we know what we don’t want.  I didn’t want to feel these things that had taken residency in my mind.  I want what feels good–all the emotions that help me to let go and allow my creativity to flow.

I wanted to feel love, joy, happiness, peace, contentment.  I wanted to be compassionate with myself and the world that is undergoing reactions from all these radical changes.  I wanted to be in the flow.

Again, we creatives know when we’re in the flow while we’re focused on doing what we love to do, whether it’s writing, painting, dancing, singing, etc.  We are feeling alive and vital.  We’re feeling in harmony with all that is around us.

So, now I know that anything that pulls me away from feeling my flow in my regular life,  is what I need to turn away from.  I love feeling good, so now I’m no longer going to subject myself to anything that takes me away from flowing in my life.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care what’s happening.  I do.  And I care enough to begin to trust that I, in my connection to flow, will be led to ideas and inspiration to make a difference.  It’s only in our state of the higher energy that we are able to be in harmony with something else that we’re a part of.  I’ll know when there isn’t anywhere  I need to make better anymore.