Posted by: Cathy | April 1, 2020

April Fools: how are you fooling yourself?

We all have blind-spots, limitations, and weaknesses. It’s important to be honest about them so we can use our strengths to build up or counter our weak areas.

All “weakness” is an opportunity for growth.

Don’t dwell on your weak areas, but acknowledge them and consider what you can do about them. Consider training or research you could do, people you could ask for help, or skills you could use in trade to fill in your weak areas. Focus on your strengths and the actions you can take, rather than what, at the moment, you may not be able to do. Focus on what you want to build and grow, not the obstacle hindering you.

Don’t fool yourself; look for the opportunity in your blind-spots, limitations, and weaknesses and decide what you can do about one of them. Then take action.

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Posted by: Cathy | March 30, 2020

Trust in the universe

Photo from unsplash.com

Today is my half-birthday. I like to celebrate my half-birthday because I do my annual planning by my birth year, not on New Year, and my half-birthday is the midpoint of my personal year.

Even just since my birthday six months ago, some big things have happened which were not fully on my radar then. I bought a house with my boyfriend and we eloped and got married. Both of these events required a lot of trust: in my boyfriend, in the process, and in the universe.

Chris and I first met March 28, 2019, and in just under a year we are now spouses and homeowners. Some people may look at the timing and think we were moving fast, but we are in our 40s and this is the first marriage for both of us. We knew what we were looking for, we were ready to find a life-partner, and fate took care of the rest.

It can be difficult to trust in fate or the universe. Our thinking-minds believe we can mentally break down problems or situations, when sometimes we just need to sit and wait for fate to bring us a missing piece of the puzzle. Timing is a thing. When we feel stuck, it’s good to take a time-out and notice if we’re missing something and, if we are, remember the moments of synchronicity we’re experienced in the past and trust that the universe will bring us what we need at the right time.

I trusted that I would find my life-partner eventually, and here we are, in our 40s. It was worth the wait.
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Posted by: Cathy | March 25, 2020

What have you made yet this year?

We’ve finished the first three months of the year! It’s time for review.

  • What have you made so far creatively?
  • What were your “highs”, personally, professionally, creatively, etc.?
  • What were your goals for the year? How did you progress on them?
  • What worked well for you so far? What do you want to keep doing?
  • What tripped you up? What could you change about those things/situations so they go more smoothly in the future?
  • Who do you want to be in Q2 and what do you need to do to make that happen? What do you want to change or add in Q2?

If you have other favorite review questions/prompts, let me know in the comments!

Regardless of what you did or didn’t do in Q1, tomorrow is a new day and you can start fresh. Take what serves you forward and leave what doesn’t serve you behind, and recommit to yourself and your goals each day.

You can do it! You’re creative; you can do anything when you combine vision and action.
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Posted by: Cathy | March 23, 2020

Are you doing my 365 creative prompts?

In December, I posted my new booklet: 365 objects to draw, paint, or describe in your writing! (With a bonus leap-day prompt!)

Are you following along and doing some of the prompts? You don’t need to do all 365! You can do them for a month, for a week, or just open it and randomly turn to a page if you need an idea of something to shake up your creativity.

Whether you draw, paint, or write fiction or poetry, I put together 365 prompts (with a bonus leap-day prompt) that can help you start or maintain a daily creative practice. The prompts are broken down month-by-month. They include a category of “travel”, and those 15 prompts are also listed as a batch at the end so you can do them all when you go on vacation.

How to use these prompts:
For drawing, painting, or photography, you can simply make a representation of the object.
For collage, you could find a bunch of images of the item on Pinterest and make your own digital or print collage.
For poetry or fiction writing, you can write a poem about the item, or write a paragraph or page of details/description about the item.

If you post any of these prompts on social media, please use the hashtag #365eyd

Download it here! ($0!)

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Posted by: Cathy | March 18, 2020

Happy Spring Equinox

Tomorrow is the spring equinox! The day and night are equal length. Take a few moments today to reflect on your life: how you feel about spring energy, and what is balanced or imbalanced in your life lately.

How do you feel about spring energy? Are you eager for spring, or do you want more time to hibernate in winter? We all have personal seasons, and those may cycle differently than the cycles around us in nature. Notice your personal season and honor it.

What is balanced in your life lately? What is going well or feels good?
What is imbalanced in your life lately? What could you change to move more toward balance?

Also, what do you want to experience this spring? Think about your favorite spring things and be sure to enjoy them over the next three months; fresh asparagus, walks in the park, gardening, bird-watching, etc.

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Posted by: Cathy | March 16, 2020

Creative Astrology: Creative advice by the signs

The spring equinox brings us into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. This gave me the idea to give you some creativity horoscopes!

Aries: Get impulsive with a kid’s paint set or even just some crayons. Pick a color, think of a shape, and put it on your paper. Play with different colors, shapes, and sizes. Don’t think, just create.

Taurus: Try something with yarn or fabric; knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, or quilting. The textures will satisfy your sensual nature, and the finished project will give you something cozy and functional.

Gemini: Play with words. Make a list of words you just like the sounds of, then read them outloud in different combinations. When you find one you like, write it as a poem and consider taking it to open-mic night at your favorite pub or coffee house!

Cancer: Fiddle with your favorite recipe, or make up a new recipe. Play with your food and maybe share the dish with a loved one for dinner and conversation.

Leo: Go big. Get a large roll of paper or tape some smaller sheets together and put them up on the wall. Draw, paint, collage, write, or try any combination of mediums on your paper.

Virgo: Try something meticulous, like mandala coloring. You could get a mandala-themed coloring book or find a mandala image online to trace and recreate.

Libra: In any medium, try representing a subject in two halves; a tree in day on one side and night on the other; an apple fresh on one side and eaten on the other; a child laughing on one side and crying on the other, etc.

Scorpio: Go deep. Make a poem or sketch representing something deep inside you. You can burn it in a fire-safe pot afterward to release any heavy emotions from the project if you find that helpful.

Sagittarius: Do something fun and athletic, like interpretive dance. Put on your favorite music and let it move you around the room in different shapes and postures.

Capricorn: Try something structured, like embroidery or cross-stitch. It’s neat and elegant, and you can make decorative slogans or quotes you can hang on the wall.

Aquarius: Play with modeling clay. Make one shape or figure, sit with it for a moment, then smash it and make something new.

Pisces: Make something abstract. Collage images relating to your favorite song or poem. Copy an impressionist or cubist design. Write a poem using only verbs.

Let me know if you try any of these activities, and how it went!

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Posted by: Cathy | March 11, 2020

Curiosity is a doorway into mindfulness

“Curiosity happens in the moment.” Rachel Rose

Curiosity is a doorway into mindfulness.

Curiosity is the desire to learn or know about something. It pops up in the moment when something stirs your attention. You lean in and give it more focus. It tunes you into the present moment, and is therefore a mindfulness tool.

When you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, try tapping into curiosity. Focus on a question. Start by being curious about what you’re feeling in the moment: where am I feeling overwhelm in my body? What color would that feeling be? Free-associate and see if your curiosity can diffuse the initial situation. Let curiosity carry you away into a fresh state of mind.

When is the last time you gave in to curiosity??
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Posted by: Cathy | March 9, 2020

Spring Fever

Do you have spring fever? What are you itching to do as the seasons change? Make your spring bucket list.

Here are some items on my spring bucket list:
* Take afternoon walks around the neighborhood
* Open all the windows on the first warm day and air out the house (done!)
* Plant a pair of lilac bushes in my new yard
* Plan a vegetable garden: get that corner of the yard cleaned up and planted
* Host a spring croquet party in our yard
* Learn how to make a yummy mint julep
* Eat fresh fava beans and peas
* Go to a local art walk and enjoy the warmer evenings
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Posted by: Cathy | March 4, 2020

Receiving Good

“The practice of self-care at its foundation is learning to align ourselves with the power of the Universe so it can easily operate on our behalf. Each time we treat ourselves well, it’s as if we are proclaiming: ‘I am worthy of good in my life and I open my heart and hands to receive it now.'” Cheryl Richardson

After a long winter, I’m feeling slow, stagnant, and pudgy. I can’t wait for the warmth and energy of spring! To speed things along, my boyfriend and I are taking a vacation to Cozumel for some sun and beach time. Leading up to that, I am trying to treat myself well and unwind. I always try to relax before a vacation so I don’t waste precious time during my trip to get into relaxation mode!

Some of the things on my self-care agenda include getting enough sleep, drinking more water and tea, going out for a quick walk if the weather goes above 55*, keeping up my daily creative practice, journaling, and trying to be mindful where I put my energy (dropping road-rage when I get where I’m going, keeping house-repair delays in perspective, being grateful for support and love in my life).

By being good to myself, I prepare myself to receive good from the universe on my vacation and beyond as we welcome spring energy. Feeling slow and stagnant isn’t a permanent thing; I can notice when I don’t enjoy the winter energy I’ve accumulated in my body and do something to change it, and I’m starting with nourishing myself to set a foundation for more activity in spring.

Are you being good to yourself? What could you do right now to receive something good from yourself?

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Posted by: Cathy | March 2, 2020

Play in your Art Lab

Photo from unsplash.com

Kids learn through play. During playtime, they can try new toys and games, use imagination to test different scenarios, and mix disparate elements to see what happens (build a Lego house for Barbie).

“Play and learning go hand-in-hand. They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.” Laurel Bongiorno, PhD

For the artist, play is your art lab. You can try a new tool or medium, paint in a different style than you’re used to or paint a different subject for a month to hone your skills, and mix and match your art supplies to see what new techniques or textures you can develop.

I aim to do some art daily and I also aim to give myself some art lab time each week. During art lab, aka playtime, I can copy a style or image I liked on Instagram, mix up my art supplies (what happens if you activate watercolor pencils with gesso, or use oil pastels on top of acrylic paint?), or practice drawing noses or feet or whatever needs development. Last week, I did two monochrome pages in my art journal to use up a tube of orange acrylic paint. Art lab time is just time for practice and play regardless of the outcome; it doesn’t need to look “pretty.”

Brainstorm some ideas to use for your art lab time:

  • What mediums do you want to try? Find a free video on YouTube to learn and follow along.
  • Who is posting interesting things on Instagram you could copy? Tag them in your own post when you finish your project inspired by her.
  • What things do you want to develop (drawing feet, color theory, shading, etc.)? Keep a list of things you could learn to improve your skills or expand your repertoire.

Give yourself some art-signments and go play in art lab!

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