Lighting My Creative Fires

I adore talking to people about their creative projects. Hearing about all different types of creative projects in all various stages of projects gets me going, energizes me, and makes me want to create more myself. And because I get so enthusiastic and genuinely interested, it can help energize the people I’m talking to as well.

Which is why I am bummed we missed out on our annual New Year writer/artist retreat this year. We’re hosting a gathering in a few weeks where I’ll get to hopefully get some good creative conversations in, but since I’ll be playing host to a lot of other people as well, I don’t know how much inspiration I’ll get.

That being said, if any of you would like to share what you are working on, please do! You can keep details vague if you are afraid someone may steal ideas, but I would love to get excited for you and then use that to fuel myself.

Time Away

We’ve run away to our aunt’s cottage on Lake Ontario for a couple of days since we didn’t get to travel anywhere really this summer with my being very pregnant and then delivering. Even though we’re still responsible for our two children, it feels nice to step away from the daily routine and be around the water for a bit.

I’m hoping to have a couple of months of being able to get outside more, now that the baby is almost 4 weeks old. Last weekend, we sat with some family at their campsite at a state park for a few hours, and we’ve started taking walks around our neighborhood. It was really difficult being cooped up inside for several weeks, and I want to get to my favorite hiking trails at least once before they close up at the end of October.

Getting back to nature is one of the ways I draw inspiration for my creative work and heal myself, and I am so glad my son likes to walk the trails with me. I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to that as well.

Discarded Art

I’ve been picking at two gouache paintings for practice for a long time now, and I put a few more layers on last week and I’m just sick of looking at them now. So I’m setting them aside before they’re finished. Giving up? Yes, but they were just for practice anyway, and I learned some interesting techniques and areas I need to strengthen, and it served the purpose of getting me used to painting in the medium again. I’m going to share them even though they aren’t “done”.

Eyes-web

Eyes – Copyright 2016, Kat Micari

This one was a practice in painting flesh and eyes.  It was getting there, but needs some more shading. Part of my problem is the watercolor paper I’m using isn’t that great. I actually really enjoy using gouache on illustration board and that is what I’ll be doing some bigger projects in.

daisiesinherfootstep-web

Daisies in Her Footsteps – Copyright 2016, Kat Micari

This one was an idea from the Ben Folds Five song “Kate”, taking the line ‘Daisies in her footsteps’. The idea is a cute one but could have been better executed. I’m confident I got the shape of the foot right but there needs a lot more shading to get it to look 3 dimensional, and I just am not feeling it anymore.

I get to do art for me so rarely that I need to move on to more soul-deep, meaningful work. Has that ever happened to any of you? You chip away at a project, and give up before coming to the end? I hate feeling like I’m throwing in the towel, but I need to.

My Fickle Muse

There are days where creation pours out of me, and there are days where my well is dry. Sometimes I can’t wait to jump into my work, and sometimes I have to trick myself into beginning, tap dancing around my hesitancy to plunge into the depths of my subconscious. Tricking myself to do the work most vital to me because to do otherwise would be a waste. And there are projects that flip flop back and forth between these two extremes, a love-hate affair maddening and necessary to my existence.

There are days that I am confident and vibrant and powerful, and there are days where I want to hide, yet many people can’t tell one from the other. I feel contrary to myself and wonder which version of me is closest to reality. And I think there’s a connection between my confidence and my ability to connect to whatever my creative inspiration is.

Shakespeare spoke of a muse of fire, but I long for one of gentle, steady rain. I will take whatever I can get happily though.

What “Stuff” is Most Meaningful? What do you carry closest to you, or what carries you?

My husband and I did a flurry of cleaning this weekend in preparation for putting our Christmas decorations up next weekend (while we no longer consider ourselves Christian, we still love to celebrate and have combined the season into a glorious hybrid holiday, but my spirituality is not something that needs to be discussed now so we’ll just leave it for the moment).  And part of our cleaning involved FINALLY decorating our bedroom.  When we first moved into our current apartment, our son was still sleeping in our room, and the tops of our dressers became depositories for his diaper-changing accessories and then became the dumping ground for a myriad of other things (clean clothes that we were too tired or too afraid of making noise to put away, old shopper’s club cards from when we lived on the west coast, etc).  He moved out of our room for at least part of the night over a year ago, yet somehow decorating our own space just seemed like the last thing we had time to do.  We also truly believed that we would only be in this apartment one year, but then signed a lease for at least another year this summer.  We keep telling ourselves that Fate will never let us leave if we don’t unpack everything!

It feels amazing to have our pictures hung, our dressers decorated, my jewelry organized and not in a giant messy pile.  I’ve actually made our bed for five days running now, including the pillow shams!  Then I started feeling a little ashamed about feeling so GOOD about having our shinies out, like I should be better than that, above such material goods.  But my husband reminded me that this is our feng shui. We artists are inherently tactile people.  I see something, and I want to touch it and soak it in.  I thrive in texture and color and shape.  It’s also such a lovely mixture of “stuff” that we have.  New prints that we’ve purchased from various art shows and conventions we’ve been a part of, antique statues mixing with new figurines, a fountain that was a gift to us from my brother-in-law, a reverse blade samurai-sword on a stand from a costume my husband wore one year for Halloween, lots of cat figures (both antique and new) as I’ve been drawn to cats since I was a little girl and have found big cats to often be my spirit guides in meditation, pretty stones and polished shell pieces found at the beach mixing with gifts of crystals from Pagan friends that sit next to a statue of the virgin Mary crushing the snake and a rosary from my great-grandmother… it is a glorious riot of things to feed our senses, and it’s actually less than it used to be as we now have a toddler with a reach that grows daily to contend with.

We’ve survived the past year and 1/2 without this decoration in our room, without many pictures hung, with boxes still piled in the corner.  But having a place of sanctuary to return to each night means so much.  My creative drive has been soaring, my libido is through the roof (something that’s been very touch and go since giving birth – lack of sleep and financial stress will do that for you), and I finally am starting to feel like this apartment may be an okay home instead of just a dwelling place.

The next time we move will hopefully be to the house we will live in for at least the next decade, if not longer.  We’ve moved way too many times since 2008.  But wherever that house is, and whatever work needs to be done, I think we should focus on getting our bedrooms done first so we can all have that place to retire to and dream.

I’m curious, what do you value in your life, as far as your material possessions are concerned?  I can go days without my cell phone (sacrilege!).  I often go all weekend without checking my emails/social network sites.  We went several months without a TV (we would watch shows/movies online occasionally).  But I hold little pretty things and art work and gifts from those who know and love me close to my heart.  I think even if I lived in a tribal society, I would be collecting pretty stones and painting or drawing or carving anything I could to fill that need I have to decorate.  I don’t really think that makes me materialistic in the modern sense of the world, but I do wonder if I could be happy living a minimalist lifestyle.