Monday, March 29, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Eleven

Eleven weeks, and eleven chapters, into Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and never have I felt more creatively blocked. I’m on deadline to post this blog and finish a painting for an upcoming group art show and I don’t feel inspired to complete either. I feel like I’m running on empty.

I’m blaming my lack of inspiration on the sore throat I’ve been trying to sooth all day. But that doesn’t explain my lack of productivity this past weekend. That is, if you call grocery shopping, washing, drying and folding three loads of laundry, preparing meals, and attending a women’s self defense class as unproductive. What I mean is, I didn’t get any writing or painting done this weekend, so despite my busyness, I don’t feel like I have anything to show for it.

My apologies, dear readers, that I don’t have any insights or inspiration to share this week about The Artist’s Way. But I can’t force it, despite how much I have tried. It seems working full-time AND being a full-time artist has taken its toll on me.

Please check back next week as I finish Julia Cameron’s 12-week course outlined in her book The Artist’s Way and reflect on the progress I’ve made these past three months unblocking my creativity – despite this week’s minor set back.

The women’s self defense class I took this weekend was taught by my friend and 1st Degree Black Belt Melissa Barrow, along with 7th Degree Black Belt Master John W. Rankin, and instructors from the Mountain Academy of Martial Arts. For more information about their school please visit

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Ten

During week ten following Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way I circled back around to last week’s chapter on, “recovering a sense of compassion” and reflected on a time in my life when I took a creative U-turn.

"The September Issue" DVD cover

My memories of running from my creativity were triggered by this week’s solo artist date when I watched the film The September Issue. It’s a documentary that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion industry. It follows Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, and Grace Coddington, Art Director, as they pull together the September Vogue – the highly anticipated annual issue in which the designers’ fall collections are revealed.

Not following a career in fashion has to be the biggest U-turn I’ve taken. It’s the only explanation for why I’m not working in fashion in some capacity today. Throughout high school I poured over the pages of Vogue and made all of my clothes in the sewing classes I took each semester. During my senior year of high school I studied Fashion Merchandising for three hours a day. And when I wasn’t modeling I worked as a dresser – dressing other models during fashion shows. But my proudest accomplishment during my last year of high school was when I was a finalist in a fashion design competition.

I have spent the past eighteen years harboring resentment towards my parents because they weren’t willing to pay out-of-state tuition for me to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design or the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. It has been easier to blame them for not providing me with the “proper” education than to accept responsibility for the choices I made due to fear. The truth is, I doubted my abilities to design and construct clothes.  So my parent’s willingness to “only” provide me with an in-state college education instead of the out-of-state experience I thought I desired gave me permission to turn my back on the fashion industry – thus taking a creative U-turn – even though there were other avenues I could have followed to pursue my dreams.

As I embark on chapter 11 of The Artist’s Way and, “recover a sense of autonomy,” I can’t help but begin to ponder what’s next for me after I finish Julia Cameron’s 12-week course. Opportunities to show my paintings keep presenting themselves. I have two group art shows in April and one group show, a silent auction, and a solo art show in May. But I also have an opportunity to submit a book manuscript without an agent to Hay House Publishing following the seven-night writer’s workshop cruise I’m taking in June.

The thought of putting painting on hold for six months so that I can focus on finishing my book makes me wonder if I could be taking another creative U-turn. But if don’t take advantage of the opportunity to submit my book to Hay House – whose policy is to only accept manuscripts from agents – that could be a regrettable U-turn too. I just have to trust that as I continue to write my three daily morning pages that I will remain connected to my creative Source and be divinely guided as to how best to invest my creative energies into the opportunities – both in painting and writing – that continue to present themselves.

Visit to view the trailer for the documentary The September Issue.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Nine

"Magic Moment" 2010
Acrylic & Acrylic Mediums, 24x24"

Nine weeks into Julia Cameron’s 12-week course outlined in her book The Artist’s Way and I’m exhausted! Instead of “recovering a sense of compassion” this week, I spent every free waking minute working on a new painting for the next Fine Arts Ministry juried art show at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colorado.

My morning pages fell to the wayside as I laid down a layer of paint upon waking each morning. Lunch was spent driving 30 minutes round trip from work, to home, and back to work again just so I could put down yet another layer of paint during the remaining 30 minutes of my mid-day break. Painting was also the first thing I did when I got home from work each day and the last thing I did before collapsing into bed each night.

Was neglecting my morning pages, failing to do any of the weekly exercises, and abandoning this week’s solo artist date worth it? Perhaps I will think so if my piece is selected for the show. But I won’t know until Friday. In the meantime, my exhaustion is accompanied by self-criticism and I have lost perspective as to whether or not my new painting has any merit. All I can see when I look at it is what I would do differently if I had more time.

There is that word again: time. The only thing I managed to do this week regarding The Artist’s Way, in addition to reading chapter 9, was take a quick glance at some of my earlier morning pages. When I was still writing morning pages! A consistent theme I saw was my perception that I don’t have enough time to do all the things I need and want to do.

Despite my looming deadline, I made time this weekend to attend Rev. Cynthia James workshop “What Will Set You Free” and Jennifer Burnett’s concert at Jazz @ Jacks in Denver, in addition to starting and finish a new painting. That is, if you call running out of time and being forced to accept that it’s the best I could do with the resources I had available to me as finishing. Just don’t get me started on the dirty laundry that has pilled up next to the mountain of unopened mail and sticky note reminders that I need to pay bills, get an oil change, and do my taxes.

Check back next week as I embark on chapter 10 of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, “recover a sense of self-protection,” and resume my daily morning pages, weekly exercises, and solo artist date.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Eight

Test boards for commissioned painting

Maybe I’m being lazy, but I don’t think so. Week 8 following Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and I have found that my favorite solo artist dates are the ones when I stay home alone. I blew off the art shows I had planned to check out in LODO and the RINO art district. I didn’t even go to First Friday Art Walk for the second consecutive month in a row. Instead, I spent the evening listening to music while I prepared dinner. Later I watched back-to-back encores of the last two Project Runway episodes while folding laundry. I missed their original airing because of my busy schedule. Watching a reality TV show may not sound like a viable artist date, but Project Runway is the only show I follow because I enjoy watching the fashion designers’ creative process as it unfolds.

After a lifetime of shyness and isolation, and my relocation from Detroit to Denver last year, I am finally getting out in the world, having new experiences, and meeting new people. It’s great, but lately I haven’t been making enough time just for me. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to allow myself to enjoy an after work nap or given myself permission to dance in the kitchen while listening to music and cooking dinner. Heck, just preparing a home cooked meal is an accomplishment in self love! But more importantly, I haven’t been making time to slow down to appreciate what I already have (my health and supportive family and friends), what I’ve already accomplished (moving to Denver and honoring my creative nature), and who I have already grown into (a more confident woman who’s no longer afraid to take risks and express herself).

An added bonus of staying in instead of going out? While I cooked dinner I felt inspired to cook different dishes next week and wrote out my grocery list. Normally I spend Sunday afternoons standing in the center of the kitchen, pen in my right hand, empty grocery list in my left, staring into barren cupboards, stumped as to what I want to eat in the coming week. But Friday night, as the pasta sauce simmered and the noodles boiled, I felt yearnings for the comfort food I ate growing up: meatloaf with ketchup, tuna noodle casserole, brown sugar baby carrots, banana bread, pumpkin pie… Not as one meal of course, but smells, textures, and tastes I would like to experience again.

Who would have guessed that when I began to unblock my creatively that I would find myself inspired to cook – and the Midwest comfort food I grew up with no less? And as I got caught up on episodes of Project Runway, I was grateful that I brought my old sewing machine with me when I moved to Denver last year. Just the thought of dusting off my old Kenmore 12-stitch reminds me of my other forgotten passion – sewing my own clothes.

Despite resting and deepening my connection with the creative Spirit Friday night, the week was not completely without art. Monday I attended Eric Matelski’s First Monday Art Talk at Dazzle Jazz Lounge where Nemo was the featured artist. Saturday morning I showed my sketch and test boards to my commissioned painting customer. And Saturday afternoon my friend and artist Stephanie McCandless and I visited the William Havu Gallery to experience Amy Metier’s abstract oil paintings. And because I had gotten my laundry and grocery shopping out of the way, I spent the greater part of Sunday painting.

Next week I’ll embark on chapter 9 of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and “Recover a Sense of Compassion” while asking my self “What Will Set Me Free?” at Rev. Cynthia James’ weekend workshop.

New episodes of Project Runway are aired on Thursday nights on Lifetime at 8 pm Mountain Time. Encore episodes can be seen Friday nights at 7 and 8 pm Mountain Time.

Visit for a list of artists and dates for future First Monday Art Talks.

To see Nemo’s art visit

William Have Gallery is located at 1040 Cherokee St, Denver, CO 80204. Visit for hours and Amy Metier’s show dates.

Learn more about Rev. Cynthia James and purchase her book What Will Set You Free visit Register for her upcoming workshop of the same name at

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Seven

Hallelujah! As I made my way through week seven of Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way I didn’t have to have a biopsy! When I went in for the procedure on Tuesday my doctor told me he no longer saw any abnormal cells, that my body appears to have healed itself, and that he did not feel a biopsy was necessary. I just have to go back every six months for the next year for follow-up tests.

Image courtesy of Google Images

Having had two biopsies, and invasive surgery, in the past what did I do differently this time to turn my immune system around from when I received my doctor’s call until I was scheduled for the biopsy? Was it being more mindful of the projects I choose to get involved in and making a conscious effort to get more sleep? Was it incorporating more raw vegies into my diet through blending and juicing like Kris Carr in her documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer? Was it prayer and meditation? Or was it reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and following her 12-week course in “discovering and recovering your creative self”? I feel it was a combination of these things and it seems the work I’ve been doing to release my creative blocks also helped release what was creating dis-ease in my body.

Kris Carr: actress, film maker, and cancer survivor
Photo courtesy of Kris Carr

In addition to healing my physical body, it became evident to me that I have also healed my creative Spirit this weekend when I attended the Friday night and all day Saturday “Bridge of Dreams” workshop at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colorado. As I released past beliefs and feelings that no longer serve me, I replaced them with new beliefs and feelings that support my dreams. The process of crossing over the “bridge” was not an easy one, but as I participated in exercises with my partners and small group it appeared that the workshop was easier for me than it was for others. It seems the work I’ve been doing as I follow Julia Cameron’s 12-week course prepared me for this weekend. Because I already purged – literally – a lifetime of suppressed emotions just two weeks earlier, I was able to move quickly through the releasing and forgiving phases of the workshop and easily step into a space of believing in and loving myself on a deeper level, resulting in rekindling my dreams for painting and writing.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

How timely that week seven’s theme in The Artist’s Way is “Recovering a Sense of Connection.” Never have I felt more connected to Spirit, the source of creation and my creativity, as I do after reading this week’s chapter, completing some of the suggested exercises and tasks, receiving a clean bill of health, and participating in an intense experiential workshop.

Join me next week on my 12-week journey of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way as I embark on week eight and “Recover a Sense of Strength,” attend Eric Matelski’s First Monday Art Talk at Dazzle Jazz Lounge where Nemo is the featured artist, and decide if I’m going to attend First Friday Art Walk in the Sante Fe art district or attend artist receptions instead in LODO (lower downtown Denver) and at Lisa Kowalski’s gallery in the RINO art district.

Visit  to learn more about Kris Carr and view a trailer for her inspiring documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer.

Visit to follow Kris, her guest bloggers, and their “wellness warrior” adventures.