Tag Archives: Inspiration

Work in Progress

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Greetings! It has been awhile since my last post – 2015 is a busy year already!!!

I took a class on Creative Live taught by James Victore titled “Bold and Fearless Poster Design” a few days ago. He talked about being a creative person in general, not just in terms of poster design. My major take away from the class was the challenge to be sure I use my own voice to create unique and meaningful work.

Victore probably wouldn’t approve of this particular design – it is a bit cutesy – but I don’t really care because I enjoyed illustrating Sir Thomas Browne’s quote, and I feel good every time I look at it. Using crayons to complete this particular piece made sense because I wanted to embrace a playful approach to the illustrations. I am going to play with more designs that bring out other parts of who I am as a person and creator while continuing to work on illustrations that are simply pretty and happy – the world needs that too.

New cards are available in my shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan). I posted new pieces that will be lovely little trinkets for Valentine’s Day too. I’d love for you to stop by!

A local art gallery will be offering my cards in the gift shop next week, which is exciting for me. I’m going to be printing and packaging them over the weekend… and playing with color and words whenever possible. In other words, I’m a…

IMG_3731.. and really, aren’t we all?

May you embrace the wonders you carry within.

Creatively Yours,

Alexis

The Free Range Artisan

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.

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The Blank Page – or Adventures with Fecundity

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Fecundity is my favorite word. It is the ability to produce. When I am at my best creatively, I am relaxed, comfortable, and feel free. This state of being does not come naturally. I have (as do you, I suspect) what feels like A TON of things that must be done. I have roles of mother, wife, and friend that are important to me to fulfill. It is easy to feel very limited.

Yet, when I see a blank canvas:

behind the scenes 124I can’t wait to gather my paints:

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And fill it with color:

behind the scenes 129Don’t get me started when it comes to what is possible with polymer clay:

behind the scenes 126I can begin a piece feeling discouraged or sad, but it’s nearly impossible to hold on to those feelings when I play with colors and design:

dream onjourneywhat a lovely dayfeel betterjoymay find yourself smiling oftenbeloved let us love

As some of you know, I occasionally work with students in English. Yesterday, I spoke with a mother who needed guidance in how to help her daughter with her writing. She said that one of her assignments simply asks the student to write a story and provided a blank page. For the reluctant writer, a blank page is overwhelming. We discussed ways in which she could help her daughter brainstorm and organize her thoughts, which is really an amazing process when I stop to think about it.

Today, I think about how, even though a blank canvas, page, or a glob of clay doesn’t phase me, staring into the face of the unknown is daunting – just as a writing assignment with no real prompt and only white space was daunting to the reluctant writer. Jean Paul Sartre writes of this sensation in Being and Nothingness. To have nothingness can be ideal in that there is great freedom, but it can also be the source of great existential angst. Great power lies in the ability to create – and great responsibility accompanies that power.

I think, in the midst of experiencing some uncertainty in my own life, that returning to the metaphor of the artist is one that can inspire me to push through the angst and toward the sensation of hope, wonder, and playfulness. In the words of Fr. J.J. Lakers (who I write about in my post on Journeys), “I claim a certain right to expound a vision… by analogy with artists in a theory of artistic creation… when artists meet insuperable limits on the full and free expression of their longing in this actual society, they feel the limits intensely. Yet, where others who meet these limits may repress the longing or adjust to the reality, the artists refuse to surrender. They therefore set out to create new forms of life and interaction, if only in imagination.”

Here’s to the artistic spirit that dwells within us all – waiting to be unleashed. Here’s to fecundity.

– Free Range Al

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan

PLEASE NOTE: excerpts of this blog using Fr. J.J.’s words may not be used without written permission.

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Possibility

Receiving and Giving

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“How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!” – George Elliston

My chickadee and I returned from visiting people who are very dear to us last Friday. Our visit included kayaking, attending a baseball game (which I normally do not enjoy, but our companions made it delightful), and the general enjoyment of good company. On Wednesday morning, I rode a mountain bike trail at a wonderful location called Two Rivers in Springfield, Missouri. The beauty and the challenge of the trails made it an amazing experience. I completed a slope style course two times! I was tempted to take my camera to share the view with you, but I wanted to be sure to stay present in the moment – and to stay on my bike!

We visited in order to spend time with loved ones, but I also needed to have a small procedure to complete the process of having a dental implant. Usually, I’m put under sedation for such things, but this procedure only takes fifteen minutes. I was terribly nervous about being awake, but, thanks to a generous amount of Valium, nitrous oxide, and The Black Keys, it went as well as such a thing could go for me. While this was a really stressful experience, there was also an element of beauty to it thanks to a wonderful nurse who took such gentle care of me. I’m full of gratitude for the patient care she and my surgeon provided.

When we returned, we found my husband in a state of great discomfort. A friend of ours in Illinois, who happens to be an audiologist, was a source of great help as we realized the initial diagnosis we received in Urgent Care. The time he took to listen to me and to check in via texts to see how my husband was doing made me feel less lonely than I did in a city that still feels new at times. On Monday, our primary physician declared the cause seems to be a virus in the inner ear, and he prescribed medicine to help him function while his ear returns to normal. I spent every day after our return in a state of what felt like nonstop care – either for him or for our active six year old. At times, this was a frustrating state to be in. I had things I wanted to make, to read, to write. I wanted some time to myself. I felt as if it didn’t really matter what I did – my time away from my desired modes of creativity made the chances of me being on David Letterman before he retires even slimmer than they already are!  While there was no doubt in my mind that my husband and son were, and are, my priorities, it was hard to let go of what else I wanted to be.

Now that my husband has returned to work and our life feels more “normal”, I have no regrets in my decision to focus on caring for those I loved. The other things I wanted to do are right here, waiting for me, and I’m about ready to begin some exciting projects. I think about the nurse who helped me on Thursday. She will probably not be on late night television either, but she created a lovely memory for me during a time that initially began with great anxiety – I made sure to thank her while I was still coherent.

Sometimes, what matters most in this life receives the least amount of praise. While receiving positive feedback and accolades feels good, we are really the only ones who can make what we do meaningful. I like this idea, and I hope you take comfort in it too – although it’s also a call to meaningful and intentional action.

May you always see the value in what you do…

Free Range Al

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan

 

An Inspiring Ride

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Oregon is wonderful in that, among other things, it is very bike friendly, which was one aspect of our life there that I thought I would really miss when we moved to Missouri. Fortunately, we are very close to the Katy Trail now. While riding the trail is one of my favorite activities here, preparing to ride the trail, particularly when it comes to trying to carefully put my son’s bike in the trunk of our car, can be a bit laborious (although I’m not really sure why – when I think about it logically, it should not be as difficult as it feels). Anyway, I am really glad I put forth the effort, because we saw beautiful sights, talked, and just enjoyed a pleasant time together.

Our stopping point was a bridge, where we took a water break and enjoyed the view.

Bridge View

I had to take this picture on our way back to share with you:

Trail View

Flowers are among my favorite things to draw (I know I’m not alone in that). We stopped to take pictures of flowers we want to print and use to inspire future projects.

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Yellow Flowers

Write me if you know what this is:

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I’d love to see if these pictures inspire something within you – or if you have some of your own to share!

We rode next to a corn field, which was pretty cool for a little guy who likes to eat corn.

Corn

Our final treats were seeing this fellow:

Caterpillar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and practicing tree pose by a tree!

Tree Pose

We have a library event to attend tomorrow that involves making rockets, but we also plan to use our pictures to draw a bit. I’m hoping I can do something tonight – there are a lot of ideas waiting to be released!

Namaste!

Free Range Al