Category Archives: Tips

Restore

Several years ago, I engaged in a decadent 5 day yoga teacher training. Thanks to Renee DeTar, a small studio owner in Wichita, Kansas and Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew training. Five days of blankets, bolsters, blocks and eye pillows to support my body in luxurious yoga poses. Five days of focusing on my breathing. Five days of friends and five days of being, Julie. It was refreshing. At that time, I had a 21-month-old and a 3-month-old. I was bone tired and attempting to carve out an identity for myself. I loved being a mother but I missed being “me.”

Flash forward, today I have a 17-year-old, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old. As each child becomes more of who they are meant to be, so do I. It is a process, a pact we made long ago. Someday they will be prepared to separate and move fully into their own lives. For this reason, I take the time to nurture myself along the way. I paint, sing, dance, write, think, move, laugh or just breathe. You see, in that teacher training long ago, something stuck. Judith offered a way of practicing restorative yoga that worked for me, a busy mom. It goes like this. Daily, practice one restorative pose for 20 minutes. Weekly, practice a short series of restorative poses for 60 minutes. Yearly, practice 60 minutes of restorative poses each day for 7 days. Judith shared that the week between Christmas and New Year’s was a wonderful time for 7 days of restorative yoga. Genius!

Now I will share with you that I do not always stick to this schedule but I do my best. I’ve applied this concept to other practices too. For instance, I am nurturing the habit of 20 minutes of creative time daily. Once a week, I go for a painting class. I have not had a full week of creating for 60 minutes daily but I will eventually (a week long retreat, is on my list). If I make it 3 to 4 days, it’s a success. Start small. Set up for success. Cheer when it works out. Reboot when it crashes. As the saying goes, “tomorrow is a new day.”

When you are making your resolutions and grand plans for 2016 make space for the “you” that boldly burst into this world to draw breath. Then ask, “What is it that I must boldly draw in right now?”

Tips and Tricks

It happens. I know it does. But it is still frustrating even after 20 years in the creative business. The dreaded “off” day. You know what I mean, one of those days where all attempts to create turn out awful. My sketches are uninspired. The selection of colors is a struggle. Subject matter alludes me. My brain won’t work and my heart is not picking up the slack. The muse has left the building. There is no spark of imagination to be unearthed. Or is there?

It used to be that when this happened I would turn to art related books or magazines. Now I find I turn to the internet. Quicker but not always productive, I fall down the rabbit hole of
images never to be seen again. Today I am trying a new way to attain inspiration. I am returning to my sketchbook with new eyes and a desire to crop something. Pages of doodles, potential designs, paint swatches, samples of new mediums and techniques all lovingly compiled to help me learn and grow as an artist and human.

Armed with my view finder (a piece of paper with a 1″ x 2″ hole), I set out running it over my pages in hopes of finding an interesting composition. It worked! I like part of a sketch I have been working on. I taped the view finder down, grabbed my tracing paper and 2B pencil then traced the cropped area. Now I can enlarge the image to whatever size I want and experiment with color.

Aaahhh, I am on my way! Hope this helps you on those “off” days.

Check out the Happenings page  (www.creativelyonward.com). I will be teaching classes locally in the fall and plan to have an online class available before the end of the year.

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