Art is life is art: Daily habits & Inspiration

Yesterday, I got a precious note from a new art friend with the subject line:  Inspire. She says my pages inspire her.  So humbling and wonderful to hear.  It brought this quote from Marian Bantjes to mind: “Inspiration is cross-pollinating.”

"Inspiration is cross-pollinating" Marian Bantjes

I found myself dumbfounded when I read the word inspire, because I don’t think of my pages as inspirational.  I’m not trying to be overly modest or deny my talent, I am just very aware that my pages were created in the midst of everyday life. To me they’re muddy, messy and raw.  {and often in the never-never land of unfinished work/idea capture.} If there’s any inspiration in my pages, I think it comes from the fact that they happen in and around my life.  I love the quote because it captures the illusive way that inspiration happens.

It passes from person to person and from sunset to moonlight.  Sometimes flying through the wind or on butterfly wings…

"Inspiration is cross-pollinating" Marian Bartjes

I wrestle with managing time like most people and have found a tremendous amount of give and take in the small moments.  Left to my natural bent, I am very “all or nothing” in my approach to any project or task.  It used to be if I couldn’t finish it, make it perfect and/or win something {approval, a prize or recognition} that I didn’t even take it up.  This carried over into all aspects of my life.  Needless to say, life doesn’t work that way.  The unexpected comes.  Limits are realized.  Lack of perfection rears it’s ugly head.  People don’t see.  It had gotten to the point where my life was full of teaching and empowering other creatives, but I had stopped creating.  The list of why I had stopped was long:

*  I had no dedicated space.

*  As a homeschooling mom of five, there seemed to be no time.

*  Art is messy.

*  Art costs  money.

*  To justify making art, I felt like I needed to sell art.

*  I wasn’t sure anyone wanted to buy my art.  {circle round to points above}

*  Because I get lost in my all-or-nothing ways, I was afraid that wouldn’t tend to my family properly.

These were just a few of my objections, which stayed firmly in place, until I traveled with a friend to CO for some down time.  No kids, no husband, just time away for thinking and retreating.  It was January and I had the new camera that my husband had bought and put in my hands at Christmas.  Despite my arguments against the purchase, he said simply, “It’s time.”  On that trip, I realized how uncomfortable I had become with my creative self.  And acknowledged that I had put all of my creativity, literally and figuratively, in a box in the closet.  I had taken a blank journal on the trip with me, but I had entered nothing but the words of others.   When I came home, I had a few photos on the new camera, some thoughts of my own that needed a place to go & the realization that I couldn’t hand The Creative Life to my children if I didn’t model it.

And thus began the transformation of my daily habits.  I started carrying my camera and an empty book around with me.  At first the books were filled mostly with sermon notes and quotes from the books I was reading.  My sketching was really rusty and a constant source of frustration, so, for images,I turned to the camera more and more often.  Until I found this book:

The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn

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My pages started to change.  First, with swirly text, then to turning the book around occasionally and writing upside down or in circles.  Eventually I was gluing in ephemera and adding color and paint.   And then I found this book:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Artist's Way

In its pages,  I found a little more permission to call myself an artist and make art.

Today, art is a daily habit.  It’s the way that I begin my day.  I am more myself, if I wake up early in the morning to read and write for an hour. In that time, I also, orient to the calendar, and often decorate a page for the day.  These days, in addition to my camera, I carry around ridiculous numbers of pens and crayons for making pages.  And I don’t apologize for stopping and writing down a quote or taking a photo.  Despite those habits, I have continued to avoid sketching.  Mostly because it’s a skill that’s rusty and not perfect.

Then yesterday, I ran across this book:

Start to Draw your Life by Michael Nobbs

starttodrawcover250

It’s full of inspiration and ideas for adding the habit of drawing to your life.  {you can download the free ebook HERE}

Here’s my first sketch. {I took 30 min. of my morning time.}  It’s not finished, nor is it perfect, but it’s a start.

Draw Your Life 08/19 2010

I’ll have to work this habit into my days.  No doubt one thing or another will fall through the cracks, but I’m getting better at picking up the pieces and gluing them into my books.

I have been and am being inspired by others.

And I am, with my every day life and daily habits participating in the cross-pollination of inspiration.

Inspiration, pass it on.

sun on a rainy day

By | 2016-10-19T14:20:39+00:00 August 19th, 2010|Art is Life is Art, photography|11 Comments

About the Author:

I create containers for words and paint and I fill them. I craft safe, sacred spaces for people to wrestle, create, heal and shout from the mountain tops.   And I teach people to do all of these things for themselves.
  • Thank you, Betsy. The fact that your pages were created in the midst of your every day life is THE EXACT REASON they are so inspiring and beautiful to me!

    • Shay – Thanks for stopping by. I’m enjoying your pages and your story. Que Dios te bendiga.

  • Joshua

    The cross-pollination thing is cool if you don’t go too deep into the metaphor (:

    thanks for inspiring us all to graft art into everyday life.

    -joshua

    • J – Art is life is art. {btw – Listened to your Lalalu song today. I’ll admit I cried just a little. Glad you’re writing and making music and being an all-around creative guy.}

  • ooo – thank’s for the recommendation on this book: The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn. It looks wonderful.

    • Julie – some of my early inspiration. You’ll love it! She has a new book called, “The Decorated Journal” that’s on my Oooh-I-want-it list.

  • This is still one of my all-time favorite posts of yours. Thanks for being you & scooping up creatives as you go :]

  • Thank you for sharing the evolution of your efforts to add more creativity to your life. I gradually added little bits of creative time into the corners and pockets of my days, and now I cannot imagine not doing art or taking photographs!

    • “evolution of your efforts” It has been that…an evolution. I only hope that I’ve grown and changed as the pages have. Thanks for stopping by. {I know that I enjoy stopping by over at daisy yellow!}

      ~betsy

  • have you read danny gregory’s books? 🙂

    • Lori – thank you for the recommendation! I just read a lovely delightful POWerful interview at the altered page that includes not only his story, but some of his favorite books. Thanks again for the inspiration. {and tweets too!}