A Little Creative Flow

After my October residency at HJ Andrews nothing happened. It was like the experience stopped any and all creative flow. I actually started to get worried that I had used up my good idea quota. It took three months, but then an idea started to form. In late January I headed back to HJ Andrews to take some reference photos. My plan was to go to two locations on Lookout Creek, at a bridge, the other higher up along a trail in the old growth forest. It was a cold, wet day, but fairly warm for January. It was only spitting slush; at least it wasn’t snowing. But as I got closer to my first... Read More

Creative DNA – Memory

What is the first creative moment you remember? Was anyone there to witness it or appreciate it? Twyla Tharp, in her book The Creative Habit, includes a questionnaire as a tool for self-discovery. I encourage you to take the questionnaire with me. Here are my first two answers.

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Day Job

Lately, as life would have it, I’ve been dealing with more obstacles to the creative process rather than to the creative process itself. Studio time has become more scarce. Much more scarce. I needed to get a day job a few weeks ago. It severely cuts into my art making. After a non-productive bout of feeling bitter about my situation, I got on with it to see what I could do to ensure that my art making doesn’t fall by the wayside as it has in the past because of day jobs. Let me backtrack a bit to before I got this new job. I knew that I hadn’t been the best at juggling art and a job.... Read More


That big project that I had in mind, the one that I have formally announced that I am starting… Yeah, that one. It’s not exactly rolling smoothly and effortlessly. The creative wheels haven’t started to churn efficiently. Just because a commitment is made to start a project doesn’t mean that it will actually flow. It doesn’t make the door into the heart of the project any more clearly defined. Nor does it suddenly announce a logical starting point. Committing to a project only means that I have said that I am going to pull the idea out of the large file cabinet of my mind, dust it off, and... Read More

When an Idea Becomes a ‘Project’

One of things I want to do is examine my own creative process more closely. I’ve started a new project, so now would be a good time to start this process. There has been an idea bumping around in my head for years. I’ve been meaning to transfer it from my mind’s Potential Project file to the In Progress Project file. maybe I was waiting for it to transfer itself. It didn’t do it. Then it made the first move. At least that’s how it felt. There are many reasons (excuses) for not making the transfer earlier. The first is that it’s a big idea. I had, and still... Read More

Mojo Costume

Many artists have undergone name changes. Pen names are common enough for authors. But why? What advantage do you get with a pen name? Identity Crisis I’ve thought about the possibility of changing my name professionally, but it never developed into anything more than a thought experiment. There’s nothing wrong with my name, although Wilson isn’t terribly memorable or unique. I thought about including my middle name to be known as Leah Catherine Wilson. Or maybe just Leah C. Wilson. What’s kept me from doing it is the simple fact that I would have to go changing my... Read More

7 Creative Ways To Make Eggs

What Is Creativity Anyway? It occurred to me that although I do something considered creative I was still unclear what the word creativity really means to me. Sure, I could go to a dictionary to find a definition (and in fact I did, but it didn’t help at all). I want something more meaningful, something with more depth than the concise dictionary definition. Although I don’t think that creativity is magic, I also don’t think that it is one simple or singular process. Which means that I don’t have an easy, clean answer like the dictionary has. Creativity is complex. The word creative is often... Read More

Changing the Education Paradigm to Support Divergent Thinking

This one was brought to me by my mom who is a professor in the Department of Education at the University of Nebraska, hence this is a lecture that is primarily addressing issues with the education system. But is is so applicable to art. Sir Ken Robinson makes a strong argument for changing the paradigm in a way that will support the arts. The current system squashes aesthetic experiences, experiences when your senses are operating at their full capacity: when we are fully present. A victim of this system is the arts. Changing the education paradigm must also include increasing divergent... Read More

Some Creative Habits

Ever curious about other people’s creative process, I recently picked up renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life. Tharp weaves insight into her own creative process within a very practical guide to honing your own creativity whether you are an artist or a business person. Her philosophy about creativity is in line with my own: creativity takes hard work. Inherent skill is great, but nothing can come of it without hours and hours of work. The creative process is much less romantic than Hollywood would have us all think. Mine... Read More

How Shea Hembrey Became 100 Artists

This is a new favorite TED Talk find. I’m feeling a tad bit envious of Shea Hembrey. Not because I wish I had done what he has, I don’t wish that, but because I love the way that he asked a question that was based on the frustration he felt with the contemporary art world (a frustration that I have felt oh-so-often!) and went about solving it with such gusto. I love contemporary art, but I’m often really frustrated with the contemporary art world and the contemporary art scene. A few years ago, I spent months in Europe to see the major international art exhibitions that... Read More


Art is theft – Pablo Picasso I want to just cut and paste the article It’s Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It’s ‘Repurposing.’ by Kenneth Goldsmith. I know that the author would have no problem with it, but the Chronicle of Higher Education might. I will, however, repurpose it to fit my needs. Kenneth Goldsmith would surely give me an ‘A.’ I will start by summing things up with a quote from an entirely different article: From Carol Kino’s interview with sculptor Tony Cragg in the Art Economist (no story link – you have to subscribe to read the... Read More

Fear, Sex Toys and Driftwood

The fear never goes away The day after I wrote A Confession of Narcissistic Fear, I came across a podcast conversation by Dave Charest and Kesha Bruce addressing How to Squash Your Fears and Advance Your Artistic Career. This is a great conversation to listen to if fear has ever held you back, even if you are not trying to advance an artistic career. Fear, after all, is universal. Listening to their conversation inspired me to write more about fear as an integral part of the creative process. Squashing my fear isn’t my technique. If I do that it just seems to squish itself out somewhere... Read More

A Confession of Narcissistic Fear

Why Lines and How Did They Come to Dominate My Painting? Those of you who have known my work for some time may be thinking that this recent obsession that I seem to have with lines as of late is something of a large and abrupt departure. After all, these lines are so regular, meticulous and straight where any line that I created in the past was probably anything but. I have to admit, creating a painting of thick, regular lines come as sort of a surprise to me too. But continuing to create even more paintings of lines comes as even more of a surprise to me. Because it intrigues me that I can... Read More

Where are you? Kimberly Brooks on the Creative Process

Kimberly Brooks Tedx talk started to get much more interesting once she added the importance of silence to her 8 stages of the creative process. In out plugged-in world, silence is becoming much more rare until we may begin to forget its importance altogether. Kimberly’s creative process progression looks something like this:   Silence: (I love this one, especially because of this plugged in world we live in) Vision: When that amazing idea hits you in a flash Hope: Swooning over that idea as it bumps around in your head Diving In: This is that critical stage for creative people.... Read More

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