Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creativity Prompters, Challenges and Exercises

Last month I learned that three of my collages got into an online juried show called "Personality" at Caladan Gallery, ongoing through the end of March 2010. How did I ever hear about the opportunity? Through subscribing to the free Art Deadlines list, emailed monthly. You can also take out a paid subscription for even more listings.

I've always found contests, deadlines and challenges to be inspiring. Right now I am finishing up two entries into the Crafty Chica's Love Shrine Challenge on Flickr. I've completed my assemblages but am obsessing over getting the final photograph ready (deadline is tomorrow at 11:59PM). Although I've made shrines and retablos before, this challenge was just what I needed to get myself in gear. What I love about assemblage is that I get to run around the house pulling out boxes and bags of junk I've saved for no apparent reason than possible future creative projects, and at those rare moments feeling justified for being an obsessive collector.

Once upon a time I entered a little contest at Lilliput Review to answer the question "Why Did Buddha Sit Under the Tree? Fourteen short poems were published in the issue dated January 1996, mine included. One of the nice thing about that was becoming pen pals with editor Don Wentworth. So I'm a big believer in looking around for opportunities to share your art. Otherwise making things, be they poems or paintings, can be a lonely game.

The Artist's Way: a Spritual Path to Higher Creativity (Tarcher, 1992) by Julia Cameron has also been inspiring to me. I am cycling through that book for the second time in about fourteen years, with a group of artistic friends. Just the intention involved in committing to this book's 12 week (or longer) process gives your creativity a boost.

In the creative writing classes and workshops I attended, it was common for quick, so-called "free writing" exercises to be assigned. Sometimes it was writing from a photo, or from a random group of words, always fun and surprising as to what you might come up with. The book Poetic Medicine: the Healing Art of Poem-Making (Tarcher, 1997) by John Fox is a great source of such exercises.

The Caladan Gallery site is diverse. Among their artists is a horse named Cholla. I am tempted to buy one of his watercolors! I was impressed to read that their online gallery gets as many as 50,000 hits per month, and has been in existence since 2003. It is fun to be in a show with artists from places as far away as Spain and Taiwan. I am humbled and thankful for this opportunity to share my collages on their site.

collage by KAO: The Artist Returns

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