Monday, October 6, 2014

Creativity, and how it works for Me

For this post I am joining in The Creative Blog Hop.  I was tagged by Julia over at Stamping Grounds with idea being to learn a bit more about bloggers by answering four questions about your creative life. 

What am I working on?

Autumn ATC's
Rolodex card for a through the alphabet swap
I complete a lot of swaps over at Swap-Bot.  I have been a part of this fabulous group since June of 2013.  My main focus is swapping ATC’s, rolodex cards and art journals although I participate in exchanging post cards and my photographs.  Over time, I found that I prefer sticking with series swaps; ongoing swaps that involve a monthly theme of some kind.
My art journaling has fallen to the wayside as I have been in a creative slump of sorts since July.  It is slowly coming back but mostly my confidence in working on anything of relevance is lacking.  I don’t trust myself to not like something then rip it up and throw it away.   
I have been planning on creating an Autumn Journal to showcase my photography.  I have everything I need to get started except the gumption to simply start.  I also have an altered Golden book that sits ¾ complete waiting for me to do the final pages but after several failed attempts at working on it I decided to let it sit until the time was right to get back to it. 
I am constantly taking pictures!  Photography has taught me to appreciate and notice the little things rather than simply recording big events.  I love taking photos of barns, abandoned buildings, fields, and my garden. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

SOC 2014 using a photo taken at Art Prize in Grand Rapids
I do not have a style, yet, although I know what I like. 
Texture: I enjoy adding texture by using molding paste, fiber paste, and glass bead gel. I also use burlap, lace, and ribbon.
Color:  While monochromatic pages have their appeal, it is not for me.   I love using color, especially while painting.  When I participated in Summer of Color 2014 I learned how to create using color combinations I never would have thought to put together. 
 Adding photographs: My passion for taking and editing pictures has blossomed since I first took that cell phone photography class.  Now I enjoy incorporating my photography in my art journals. Scrapbooking does not really appeal to me and while I took a course this spring in mixed media scrapbooking, I prefer simply sticking my photograph unto the page and painting or gluing things around it.  Keeping it simple works best for me.
ATC series through the colors

Why do I create what I do?

Stress relief!  I work in a rather dysfunctional, violent intercity school.  Teaching is a 14 hour a day, 7 days a week job which is stressful and offers very little in terms of rewards.   In 2012 – 2013 I found myself in a very low place and needed something to help dig me out of the hole I was in.  Teaching was literally sucking the life out of me and I needed an outlet, something as far away from teaching as I could get!  Change came slowly but arrived first via an invitation from a friend to join Pinterest.  A whole other world opened up to me that I never knew existed, mixed media art!  I spent the long winter months escaping by pinning photos of other people’s art journals and techniques on YouTube.  That spring I signed up for an art journal ecourse with Kelly Kilmer, A Journey Within.  About the same time I signed up for an online cell phone photography class over at Big Pictures.  My journey towards creating had begun. 
Over a year later, I have taught myself to create art journals, altered books, mixed media canvases, ATC’s, mixed media scrapbook pages and edit my pictures using apps on my phone. 

How does my creative process work?

First, I need to find inspiration.  My go-to source for this is Pinterest.  While I may begin with someone else’s idea, my finished project rarely looks anything like theirs (I still give the original artist their credit).  I have learned to take ideas I see, whether it’s on Pinterest, in an antique shop, or something hanging on the wall in a restaurant or hotel, and make it my own.  I use what I have on hand, chose colors I like and make something that turns out often totally different. 
Once I have an idea in my mind I gather materials, lots of them!  Do I use them all?  No.  But they are there within reach so I do not have to stop and go looking for something. 
I also clean as I go, a lesson learned from my mother while baking in the kitchen.  When I am done using something, I clean it and put it away.  This may sound counterproductive but I can’t stand working in a mess.  I have to clean as I go so I have work space.  I participate in Julia’s What’s on Your Workdesk? Wednesday and while I love peaking at other artist’s messy creative spaces, I can’t stand mine to be that way.  I have allowed it to get that way when I got behind creating this Magpie Journal and this Spring Journal but I found I hated cleaning up the aftermath! 
The hardest lesson I had to learn was to walk away when the process was no longer working.  Being the left brained, analytical sort, I have always problem solved my way through difficulties but it does not work that way with art.  Walking away and letting things rest is difficult for me yet it is the only way to ultimately finish a creative project.
When I am done creating I photograph it.  I update my Flickr account once a month with photos of my swaps and journal pages.  I also include them in my blog posts. 

Spring Journal
Two years ago if someone would have told me I would be creating art and writing for my own blog  I would have laughed in their face.  Now I can’t imagine my life without them!  Creativity truly does feed the soul.  My professional day job sucks the life out of me while making art breathes life back in.


  1. Being creative is definitely the stress reliever that you needed from your regular life. You are doing amazing for the short time you have been on this creative adventure!

  2. Art in any form can be very theraputic. You are so creative. I just loved the photo of the Yellow tree.

  3. You have created some lovely, original pieces, Diane. I'm really sorry that your work is so difficult and draining. That can't be easy, but I think your solution is spot-on. There's something in the human psyche that needs to create: once that impulse is stifled we run into problems, but if we feed that very basic need it creates a spiral of joy and energy in our lives. I knew you were a teacher from other blog posts and because of your creativity I always thought that you taught art. All the best, Bonny

  4. I can *totally* relate with the need to create art after a stressful teaching day. I just retired from being a Middle School (7th grade) Science teacher, also in a difficult inner city school and like you, I was so exhausted every day. Getting back to my art journal and doing ATCs and Mail Art was one way that helped lift me up from it all. I love that you also consider yourself learning your style. You have a nice way with colors and design and it is always fun to see what you are making.


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