Welcome to the 2019 Creativity Challenge!

Welcome to the 2019 Creativity Challenge!

If you feel the call to create, then you must answer that call. There is something inside of you that feels repressed. Secrets you’ve kept, feelings you’ve buried, a natural inclination to take a project into your own hands and mold its outcome - it’s time to let it out.

I don’t care if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush, or have only binged Project Runway without ever owning a sewing machine. If you’re the type of person who always worked very hard on decorating posters for class projects, made friendship bracelets at sleepovers, arranged sea shells that you collected on a beach trip around your bathroom sink, or “plated” your homemade meals to please Gordon Ramsey, there is creativity inside of you. You just have to believe in it.

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit. 

E.E. Cummings

Creativity applies to more than just visual art forms like painting and photography. Fashion, interior design, choosing Halloween costumes, brushing your teeth, dancing, dancing while brushing your teeth, curating a social media feed, cooking, practicing your cursive, decorating the Christmas tree, cosmetology, rigging a device to catch rainwater dripping from the roof over your bed, and more all require creativity.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. 

Maya Angelou

If you’ve had doubts about your creativity, welcome to the club. Steve Jobs was actually fired from Apple for essentially having a series of bad ideas cost the company money, and yet he didn’t give up - and because he didn’t give up we carry a little piece of Steve in our pockets every day.

Creativity is everywhere, pervading every corner of your life - if you let it.

2018 was my most creative year yet, and this was due to a major shift in my mindset. I took mantras like, “I could never do that” and “she is so much better than me” and turned them instead into thoughts like, “I have something to say. How can I use my art to say it?”

This wasn’t easy for me. I read a ton of books like Mindset by Carol Dweck, Find Your Why by Simon Sineck, and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and only sometimes believed parts of them. The real game changer for me came when I just gave myself permission to create for hours on end every single day, even if I wasn’t so sure that it was going to work out. I do not believe in a muse or “big magic” entity that chooses to bestow cool ideas on us if we are listening hard enough. That would mean that we are just vessels waiting for something ELSE to come along and give us something to do. That sounds so boring and empty. I believe that we are already full, ready to burst with ideas and creativity, but that we might just need a little help believing in ourselves.

ART IS MADE BY ORDINARY PEOPLE. Creatures having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art. It’s difficult to picture the Virgin Mary painting landscapes. Or Batman throwing pots. The flawless creature wouldn’t need to make art.”

David Bayles and Ted Orland, “Art and Fear”

If you are ready to believe in your innate creativity and just need a little push to help you get on your way, I would love to help you. This January, I invite you to take a deep dive look into my own creative process. I hope this will demystify my prolific collections and my ever-evolving style so that you can see what really goes on behind my curated social media feed. I plan to publish a series of blog posts right here, describing the following topics:

  • how and where do I get my ideas

  • how to believe in yourself as an artist

  • evaluating and reevaluating my style

  • the nuts and bolts of what materials I use and why

  • how honoring more than one medium enriches your art (did you know I write poetry?)

  • who are my influences, and how do I avoid being a “copy cat”

  • and more!

Each of these blog posts will have an accompanying video segment over on Instagram stories (so be sure to check those, too) and MOST IMPORTANTLY a practical prompt that will allow you to take what you learn about my experience and apply it to your own creative practice. I will also be offering some optional workshops that help you learn how to paint! By the end of the month you should have a really comprehensive look at my process and feel confident and established in your own routine!

Creativity takes courage.

Henri Matisse

Let’s start off this 2019 Creativity Challenge by checking in with where we are currently in our creative habit. Download this PDF worksheet and reflect on these questions. I would encourage you to start a new journal for this entire month (I love Moleskine) to take notes and reflect upon creativity, but do not let “oh I haven’t gotten a notebook yet” be an excuse to delay starting!

If you want to discuss your answers with me, I would love for you to post comments on this post to which I can respond. You can answer all of the worksheet here, or you can just give me your reflection on the question that got at you the most, or you can use the comment section to post questions that you’d like answered in the next blog post!

One last thing - if you would like to be emailed whenever new content is published, be sure to sign up for the 2019 Creativity Challenge email list here. I promise to only email you about the blog:

A Guide to My Materials!

A Guide to My Materials!

Guest Artist Series: Jenni Schaefer, author of "Life Without Ed."

Guest Artist Series: Jenni Schaefer, author of "Life Without Ed."