Sustaining Your Creativity

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When it comes to creativity, many complicated layers are worthy of discussion, and at this moment in time it is a hot topic. In my book titled THE CREATIVE EPIPHANY, available on Amazon and Kindle, I explored, with a select 18 highly creative individuals, the process of choosing and defining your creative direction. The subject common to all of their chapters was the event of experiencing a creative epiphany. I have written many blog posts about such an experience, (see my Archives) how I define it and how to encourage and recognize the epiphany event that will change the course of your life for the better, if you remain open to hearing it.

When a person is super creative, it oozes out in many directions, seeking the most fulfilling path that will bring the best results (not usually the path of least resistance). I do not believe that a person must confine her creative work to one lasting lifetime lane that moves forward like a turnpike and allows only one facet of creativity to get anywhere, with no exit ramps and no room for further adventures. What I do believe is that selecting one or two dominant and slightly meandering creative avenues will bring the best enlightenment and satisfaction in your journey. Certainly not at the dictatorial extinction of everything else – but to allow adequate concentration of time and energy in the primary pursuits that offer you the most potential for a life of moral and career enrichment. If you dilute yourself too much, you water down all your creative  endeavors to a thin, weak soup that never tastes very good.

Many creative people re-define themselves over a lifetime, using chunks of time to do one thing very well, then switching to some other choice and doing that quite well for another period of time. That is a wonderful way to keep things fresh, avoid boredom and follow the money trends to a creative work that will bring in some bucks. I love that. That is a fun way to live.

Through the years I have been advised to produce greeting cards, write children’s books, become an interior designer, run my own B&B, be a painter of faux finishes on walls, design clothing, manage art galleries and decorator fabric shops and the list goes on. Some of those things I did, some I wish I had done and some I may still do…. Underneath it all, however and sometimes on top of it all, I was an artist. In spite of being an artist I have spent embarrassing  amounts of time diluting myself to such a degree that I was crazy with juggling it all, and yet what ultimately happened was that I learned from it so that now I can write confidently about it with a high degree of credibility. In retrospect, perhaps in doing this writing that time spent has become worthwhile…even valuable and necessary. Phew – because I hate wasted time. Now I am an artist and an author and you can be sure that any advise I offer to you was gathered through my time in the trenches.

I am now beginning a sequel to The CREATIVE EPIPHANY,  title to be determined. I have more to say – I would like to assume that you have chosen a creative direction; you are immersed in it, devoured by it, and perhaps being driven crazy by it. I have some observations about all that…. I would like to get them all gathered up, organized and put them between the covers of a new book. I do not want you to smother the flames of your creative fire. Help is on the way! Stay tuned!

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January 6-The Day of Epiphany

 

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Several years ago after my success of writing a book about creativity and the epiphanies that had inspired 18 people to choose which of many available creative paths might give them their greatest fulfillment, I began this blog.

For many years I have written about just what an epiphany really is, how I define the contemporary meaning of it, in what circumstances and forms they come to us, how to listen for them and hear their messages over and over again, and how they have changed people’s lives for the better with the enlightenment they provide. My book is still available on Amazon.com under the title THE CREATIVE EPIPHANY, and my WordPress blog archives will provide additional information, including the historical meaning of the Day of Epiphany.

Epiphanies are essentially messages from our souls; they deliver truth; the only simple, pure agenda they have is to inform us and guide us. The epiphany will never steer us in the wrong direction. The voice we hear will start out as subtle messages that might whisper a suggestion or as helpful bits of new information that help us solve a problem and if we pay no attention at all the messages will repeat and repeat, becoming louder and stronger and more commanding until we truly pay attention and acknowledge them and alter our actions accordingly. Because you see if you ignore a message from your soul, you have a great deal to lose in life.

Most of you have had an experience where your better judgment, your conscience, your intuition, YOUR SOUL told you NOT to do something. Or perhaps it told you that you MUST do something. That inner voice is sending you a clue. It is giving you help. It is guiding you. It is from your soul and therefor it is sent to you as surely as if you had a pipeline to the universe where all the wisdom of the eons and the ages is stored….

I could wish nothing better for you than to experience a life-altering epiphany in this new year. If you are floundering and searching for some answers, you need one. And if you are just fine, you certainly want to stay that way. Meditation will facilitate your inner soul voice and clear a path for information and new viewpoints to percolate up through your layers of thought to the surface where they can be heard. But you must LIVE IN THE NOW, refusing to allow the clutter of prior disappointments to cloud your mind; you must BE QUIET and AWARE for a focused part of every day. Then you must LISTEN.  And you must ASK.

The Creative Epiphany – Amazon.com  by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

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My new novel – A CANARY FLIES the CANYON – Amazon.com

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Why would a canary be flying along in a Colorado canyon?

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How would you like to read a new novel, a love story in fact, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott about a woman artist?

You know how I like to talk about Karma, you must already know that I question randomness, you know I am passionate about art and I ask my imaginary friend the art Buddha for approval, you have heard me mention at least a time or two that creativity comes and goes but will stay with you forever if you feed her well…..and I am sure you know about love.

So reading this new novel will satisfy your craving for all of that and more. You need to read it. It is warm and funny, serious and profound, pertinent and relevant and it will introduce you to a new best friend – the heroine named Annie.

available on Amazon.com

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A CANARY FLIES the CANYON, available in about 5 days on Amazon.com

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BOOK COVER – A Novel by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, released in October, 2015

It has been a long time coming, and now I am able to say that in approximately 5 excruciatingly long days and nights this book of mine will be available anywhere in the world on Amazon.com. They tell me that my listing will appear in segments as it makes its total arrival on its Amazon page….kind of like waiting for paint to dry, jello to mold or rain to come.

I have published this book, my third, with the self-publishing division of Amazon which has been a creative, professionally rewarding experience; I received the hard-copy proof on Saturday, looked it over and found 1 tiny error that I decided to accept, in much the same way as the Amish women do when sewing quilts – they are not striving for perfection, because they know that is impossible, and so they purposely incorporate an abnormality into their quilts as an acknowledgment and an offering of human imperfection. Ok, I said to myself, rather than delay this book release one more single week I am just going to go with it.

There were several other terms of my surrender to the publishing process.

Other sundry aggravations, including a beautiful website I created through Yahoo SiteBuilder ( a DIY website builder that I am quite familiar with, having used it for over 7 years now) that will still not publish on all browsers, is still listed on my Yahoo SiteBuilder Control Panel as “Under Construction”  and which my tech support people in India still insist is in fact published. But it is not.

Try it for yourself at   http://www.joannbrownscottauthor.com

Lotsa luck with it…..I can sometimes get it to open on Google Chrome….but nowhere else.

I intend to get it fixed this week in another round of marathon phone conversations with Yahoo Small Business advanced tech support. The kind of conversation that has, up to this point, taken me to the brink of my patience and the edge of my tolerance with basic tech support people who are not able to rise beyond the glass ceiling of their tech knowledge…. and so you then have to purchase advanced tech support.

In the meantime I am over the moon with excitement about the book’s release. I hope nothing rains on my parade today!

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“OLD SOUL” Makes Her Debut for the DYAO

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copyright 2015, Jo Ann Brown-Scott, OLD SOUL

Every year the Denver Young Artists Orchestra hosts a fundraising event called the Painted Violin Event. Artists are selected, retired violins are sent out to them and we are all asked to paint the violins with a theme of our choosing, three-dimensionally,  then the violins go on tour for several months at many of the Denver area art galleries with the hope of attracting buyers to fund talented young kids who love music. It is an exciting time, receiving a violin, knowing your mission is to give it an inspired treatment by anointing it with a theme that is both appealing and marketable; one that speaks to people and sends them a message. Please visit  http://www.paintedviolin.com  or  http://www.DYAO.org  to see all the new violins for the 2015-2016 symphony season and those from all past seasons as well.

I have chosen to honor the authentic character of my particular old violin by embellishing her weathered patina with exotic stones and treasures including rare leopard jaspar from Madagascar (which is one of the oldest known gemstones containing healing powers), turquoise, African bone beads, Mexican silver, coins and other treasures from around the world. After all, she is a musical traveler, having provided the music of the world to audiences from all ethnicities and walks of life during her long career. The story of her origin and how she finally came into my hands is fascinating and involves the San Francisco Bay area and Yosemite Park to name just a few of the clues to her long life. Coincidentally or not, both of those locations are especially meaningful to my own family. Most of the items with which I have chosen to adorn her are from my own personal collection of magical found objects….saved through the years for some special purpose. This is an extraordinary purpose.

“Old Soul” is my second violin selected by the DYAO, (Denver Young Artists Orchestra) following my first violin included in the 8th season titled Scheherazade, which I have also written about on this blog. I have enjoyed a life-long career in fine art after obtaining my degree from the U. of Colorado. Most recently (2009) I  published a book titled The Creative Epiphany – Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations and taught mixed media painting in northern California. After returning to the Denver area in 2013, a place I consider my home, I enrolled in a class at Denver Art Students League taught by Homare Ikeda which further deepened my work as a contemporary abstract artist. My most recent work places an emphasis upon color, pattern and texture in compositions inspired by travels to Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Hawaii and the landscapes of the western USA. I am currently writing this blog based upon my art and my travels, which fuel my experiences with art, and I will soon publish my third book, a novel titled A Canary Flies the Canyon, within days…

This violin, as did my first, carries a deeper meaning than people will see on the surface – it truly found me. That is another story, but a story worthy of telling. Please stay tuned for continuing information and revelations about this violin and the larger story of one contemporary woman’s artistic life in my new novel A Canary Flies the Canyon.

On Writing…

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This is not the Year Long Canvas but it is by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, copyright 2012

Well ok, yes I have been doing some writing elsewhere, being unfaithful to my blog, seeking gratification with a more exciting venue and actually honest enough to admit that I love it and it completes me. I still love you blog, but this other exotic creature has got me by the scruff of my neck and it is choking the life out of me for more. More writing. Because it knows I am addicted.

I am writing a book, my third book, but the first two were just for practice, it seems to me now. This one is a novel and it is so much more fun that it surpasses doing either book and this blog, too, sorry to say. I am a woman possessed and I can’t stay away from the computer, which calls to me, coos to me, hoots and yells at me all hours of the day and night to write more. Ideas come to me in dozens, I have to carry a pocket tablet everywhere lest I lose some valuable tidbit. Because I do lose stuff – really great stuff – it just falls out of my mind sometimes in the time it tales to pour myself a glass of ice water, sometimes walking ten feet into the next room, or out to the car. I have the attention span of a gnat but it is because the ideas I have are coming at me like balls out of a batting machine and I can’t keep up. I guess it’s good problem to have, but it’s exhausting and I am all bruised up.

I have written so many computer pages in the last 3 months that it is pretty ridiculous. No one sits down and writes for 12 hours without batting an eye, 5 days a week. I don’t think it’s normal. I think I might have a problem.

You know how I love to paint – but I have forgotten what painting is, almost, except today I did some work on the year long canvas just because I felt so sorry for it. And it looks really good – I’ll send the latest and greatest changes soon. They only took me 20 minutes and now I can’t wait to write again.

I self-published my first 2 books with Amazon’s self-publishing division called CreateSpace and it was a very pleasant experience – I got listed automatically on Amazon, bought some marketing materials, used some other services from their menu of choices and it got done quite efficiently. I would recommend it to anyone.

This time I would like to approach agents or publishers and give that a chance, so I am hoping that if any of you have a connection, maybe you would let me know, because I do believe in 6 degrees of separation and the magic of networking. I was going to keep this a big secret but then I wondered what the point of that was. What would that accomplish? Certainly not a publishing deal. So please help me out if you can. I would provide a brief summary to anyone who might want to help me providing I can trust that whole thing.

Sorry I had to break this news to you that hard way – on the internet – rather than a personal note to everyone or even better, in person. But I have trouble tracking you down, all over the globe. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you, though. I still really, really love you, and I am going to break it off with the novel once I get her published. She seems a little fickle to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Art….

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Photos from my trip to Singapore, included here as a humble reference honoring my imaginary art Buddha.mantwo   photo 4 (3)

In the slaughterhouse of love they kill only the best, none of the weak or deformed. Don’t run away from this dying. Whoever’s not killed for love is dead meat. – RUMI, 12th century poet

First let me say this – HUH??? I have no idea what caused the spike in my stats yesterday and today but I like it – after 150 posts and a lot of fun, I was still not getting enough traffic. I am clueless – maybe someone else knows why I suddenly jumped the charts, but I don’t. I suspect a glitch in the record keeping of some kind….we all know that WordPress can do crazy stuff sometimes. If it is indeed a real phenomenon that increased my viewership then thanks from the bottom of my heart. I needed that. I am passionate about art – and I write for the love of my art and yours. I am so grateful for your attention.

It is almost the end of August and I am looking forward to a great Labor Day weekend. I have plans. Always flexible and always spontaneous, yes, but I do have some specific plans which can altered and enhanced along the way if need be. I do not plan to paint this weekend. I reworked 3 old paintings last week and made them sing again. I feel like that was a huge accomplishment. I totally ignored the YLC……but not really…..

I made a rogue decision about the YLC – the year long canvas. (See my archives for the whole crazy story with pictures if you have no idea what I am referring to – briefly it is an assignment from my advanced contemporary abstract painting  instructor, whom I admire very much, for me to work on one particular painting on and off for an entire year. Constantly adding new things, covering up some older things, taking it along a path of evolutionary change….and this painting of mine is just 6 months into that challenge.) As I wrote a couple blogs ago I am happy with the painting as it is right now – so happy in fact that I have decided to enter it into a large Denver gallery show. Yes I have decided to do that even though the painting is just halfway through its year and of course it will change again…. It’s a juried show, so my YLC might not be juried in, and I am gritting my teeth, putting my open self right out there with this entry and I will share the results with you – and I am not fond of rejection – so if the painting is not accepted then I will lick my wounds in front of a large audience and just take it home and continue to work on it. If it is accepted then it will be for sale, of course, and I run the risk of someone wanting to buy it. So I have to be willing to sell it and bring the entire project to a splendid, kind of fireworks-like conclusion. The price? I have not decided but it will be based upon my comparable work, in size and complexity, that I have sold before.

Why do this? Because I like to shake things up – I am an art adventurer, a risk taker, a constantly curious live-in-the-moment kind of person and I am anxious to see what happens. You know the art Buddha would be proud of this squirrely move. He would smile and nod and his eyes would twinkle with delight. He loves moves like this, but of course he makes no predictions and he is fine with whatever happens because it is all just another lesson in the life of an artist. There is no failure, there is only enlightenment. There is only the love of the doing. The enormous passion in the act of creating. And only the strong survive.

As we near the opening of the show I will keep you informed, provide some links, tell you where, etc – but I will be delivering my entries next week – yes I will be entering at least 2 pieces, maybe 3.

Wish me love and luck, OK?