Abbey Bookshelf: Creative Inspiration Edition

How refreshing a Sabbath day can be.  I feel a little more spaciousness in my soul, more light-heartedness about the work I still have to do. I spent much of the day lounging in pajamas and reading through some books I have had sitting on my shelf calling to me. (Does it count as work if the fruits of my lounging ends up here in this week’s edition of the Abbey Bookshelf?) :-)

First, I found these delightful art journals at the website of Teesha Moore.  Teesha is the person behind ArtFest held each April in Port Townsend.  I had never been before and last week was perusing the remaining workshop options (it fills up very quickly after initial registration). I found one each day that called to me, so I signed myself up and ordered a set of these art journals.

I had long heard about this book from Karen Michel — The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery : Mixed-Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals, and More.  I finally ordered myself a copy and found lots more creative inspiration.  Similar in focus to Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery by Angela Cartwright, which is currently one of my favorite artsy books on my shelf (saying quite a lot considering how many there are!)  I am really drawn to new ways of working with photographic imagery, since photography remains one of my favorite art forms and Karen delivers some new ideas to play with.

Eric Maisel has a whole host of great books for artists.  I only had the chance to read the first couple of chapters yesterday of Creativity for Life: Practical Advice on the Artist’s Personality, and Career from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach, but already found this gem of a definition of creativity:

“people are artistically creative when they love what they are doing, know what they are doing, and actively engage in art-making. The three elements of creativity are thus loving, knowing, and doing; or heart, mind, and hands; or, as Zen Buddhist teaching has it, great faith, great question, and great courage.”

This quote will probably warrant a whole post of its own once I’ve had a chance to chew on it some more.

And last, but not least, I perused Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists edited by Rice Freeman-Zachary.  Lots of concrete suggestions from many great contemporary artists.  I liked the simple suggestion of writing yourself a prescription for “an hour of play each day, more as needed,” to be posted on the refrigerator.  Of course, I am lucky to have Abbess Petunia around to be my living and embodied reminder of the need for play each day. Other ideas about places to find inspiration, suggestions for keeping an art journal, creating rituals for your art-making time, and then some practical tips about how to bring finished work out into the world. It will definitely be a book I linger with.

In addition to a nap, a long walk, a dinner date with my beloved, and a stop at the store to buy some new pillows to go with clean sheets, I can say wholeheartedly that the day was a gift that breathed a little life back into my soul.

* Make sure to return tomorrow for our Sacred Artist Interview — this week features Tim Mooney. *

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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