Creativity and Time

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I’ve been on a remarkably even keel since the returning from the yoga retreat last weekend. It’s as if I rebooted. Reset everything to a new baseline. It’s wonderful.

It’s allowed me thoughtful space and given me new clarity. I’ve been thinking about how I’m spending my time. I’ve been pondering some little changes to focus myself back in on what’s important. Writing a book, for one. Evaluating what I want to tackle in 2015. And creating new work. Always, always creating new work.

I’ve been realizing a deep truth: As an artist, everything hinges on continual creation. Everything. Self-understanding, renewal, and growth all come from a creative practice. It’s in creating that I understand the direction I want to go. It’s through my artwork that I tease out the signals to follow. I don’t wait for inspiration and then create. I create and then I get insight. And so I create some more.

No matter what else is going on, creating has to be at the core. It has to be a priority for my time. The pace may change, but it can’t go away. If it does, eventually the fuel for everything else that swirls around the art I create… this blog and the book and the workshops and the art events… will slowly, quietly fade away. And you know what else will fade away? An important, even vital, connection to my heart and soul. The connection which provides understanding of who I am and the confidence to seek my own path, no matter the influences around me.

We forget this. Our culture tells us to do otherwise. It tells us to focus on all of the other things that require our time: Work and family and friends and commitments. Things beyond ourselves. Get the work done first, then have fun. Then, with your spare time and energy, with the dregs left over, only then can you create. Everything else, everyone else comes first.

That doesn’t work, for the artist. For the artist to have a thriving creative life, creating art has to be part of the priorities. It has to be the work. You have to give it your best time and energy, on a regular basis. You have to make the right choices for yourself, even if others aren’t happy with you.

So I renew the choice, for myself, to continue creating new work. I don’t do it because I need new images to share or to blog or to show or to sell. I do it because I’m not me if I’m not creating.

I’ve worked long and hard to figure out who I am amidst the clutter. I’m not going to let that knowledge or connection fade away.

Creative Display

I’m always looking for creative and easy ways to display 2D art. For many years, above my computer I’ve had multiple magnet boards to hold art cards, postcards, tickets, receipts… any little bits and pieces I wanted to see regularly or keep handy. Every so often I would clear off the magnet board and start with a clean slate, but most of the time it was a messy mismash of stuff. Kinda like life, huh?

Over Spring Break we stayed with some family in Washington, DC, and our cousin Kate, an artist herself, had an awesome solution for displaying 2D art. After arriving home I found myself looking askance at my messy magnet boards, dreaming of a solution like hers. So I emailed for the scoop on how she did it, and was extremely pleased to find out that all I needed was a trip to IKEA!

IKEA DIGNITET RIKTIG Kat Sloma Photography Postcard Art Display

I bought two sets of the DIGNITET wire hangers, along with the RIKTIG hanging clips. The primary purpose for these items is hanging curtains so you’ll find them in the drapery section. It was approximately $30 total for two sets. It’s a perfect way to cleanly display a lot of paper items, especially POSTCARDS, don’t you think? It would work great for photographs as well, and I think our holiday cards will have a new place for display this year.

Right now, it just feels nice to not have all of the magnet board clutter hovering above me at my keyboard. My husband told me it looked waaaay too neat for my studio. I’m not quite sure how to take that comment. :)

IKEA DIGNITET RIKTIG Kat Sloma Photography Art Postcard Display

Next, I just need to clean off my desk. But that’s a project for another day…

Sign-Inspired Art

We’re one week into this month’s Exploring with a Camera! Are you seeing signs everywhere? We are fed a constant stream of information through them, and yet we may not consciously notice them until we really start to look.

One of my favorite types of signs are the little icons of people doing various things. Every culture, maybe even every city, throughout Europe seems to have their own take on how to warn people with these little icons. This one is from the subway system in Lisbon, Portugal, warning you to not get caught in the doors. He’s a bit stiff, don’t you think?

The best part of this little icon is the art it inspired! In Lisbon, all of the subway stations have a different artistic theme. The Martin Moriz station had marble knights lining the walls, as if they were waiting for someone to say, “Charge!” But tucked at one end of the station, almost as if it was an inside joke to see if anyone would notice, one of the knights was peeking out of the wall in the same manner as the warning icon. I caught a glimpse of it out the window as we flew past one day, and had to go back and this bit of humorous art.

Sign-inspired art. I love it.

What kind of signs are you finding? Have you noticed how much they already show up in your photographs? Share your own sign-inspired art and visit the art that’s been shared so far. Lots of fun!


Recipe for Creative Success

Take one person with vision.

Jess Greene, founder of Seek Your Course and creator of the Jumpstart Creativity Tour

In an empty venue,

McMenamin’s on Monroe

add people who would like to explore their creativity and sprinkle liberally with supplies.

Mix in creative prompts and cool tools like a vintage Typewriter.

Spread evenly and allow to dry.

Enjoy your creative success!

The beautiful, creative mess at the end of the evening.

Jess Greene brought the Jumpstart Creativity Tour to Corvallis, Oregon last night. I was excited to host Jess and finally meet her in person! We had a wonderful time getting ourselves messy and creating some art, while meeting new people in the area.

The tour may be coming to a town near you! Check out the Jumpstart Creativity Tour website to find the events and register.

Make Space for Art

An epidemic is sweeping our nation. We are discontent. Workaholics. Stressed.

Often what we need is engagement in a process that allows us to have a voice. We need places to make things without judgment. We need supportive communities of other creative people. We need space to make art and a creative community to join.

The Jumpstart Creativity Tour bringing 50 FREE art-making events to cities across the USA and Canada. The 2 hour events will empower, engage, and introduce attendees to a world of opportunities. Come get inspired and stay inspired.

The tour starts in 10 DAYS! Will you support it? Will you help light a spark in someone’s life? Will you feel the spark?
Attend an event or support the tour at jumpstartcreativitytour.com

– Jess Greene, founder of Seek Your Course

The door is always open for Art

I share Jess Greene’s message with you today because I sooo believe her words. We need art and creativity in our lives. We need community. We are better for it. Jess will be making a stop here in Corvallis, Oregon on her Jumpstart Creativity Tour in July. I can’t wait to meet her and others in our community here as we join together to create! Will she be stopping near your home? Visit the Jumpstart Creativity Tour site to find out.

Redefining My Art

In my newsletter article over the weekend, I wrote about redefining productivity. How I haven’t been feeling productive recently, but that feeling was based on an old definition. I’m not sure where the old definition came from exactly – my old artistic practices combined with external influences, perhaps. It was a reminder that I seem to gather these definitions and rules up as I go along in life. I think we all do. Sometimes we need to reexamine them and redefine them.

What was more important in that article than redefining productivity, I realize today, is the redefinition of my art. I wrote, “My art is using photos and words to explore the connection between heart and the world around us.” Up to now, I haven’t quite figured out where I “fit” in the photography world. If you look at what I practice and write and teach it’s not standard “photography.” It’s something different. Something that doesn’t have a word for it. I’m an artist that combines photos and words together. For me, they can’t be separated.

Realizing that brings freedom. I can remove the labels from who I am, what I do. I can just be me, as I have been, but without trying to figure out where I fit. I don’t fit any standard mold. I can be the seamless blend, like building and sky in this photograph, if I choose. (And no, the photograph was not edited to look this way.)

It can be uncomfortable, though, being without a title. Being without name that defines me, in the eyes of others. It makes it harder to communicate what I do, what I care about. That makes it all the more important to keep using the “words” part of my art. Maybe someday I’ll come up with one word that communicates my art to others. Until then, I’m going to memorize this phrase:

My art is using photos and words to explore the connection between heart and the world around us.

I have a feeling that this moment may be as important as when I claimed myself an artist a couple of years ago. Time will tell.

PS – If you missed it yesterday, I announced a new class coming in April: A Sense of Place. Visit the link here for more details.

PPS – Only THREE DAYS to the next Photo-Heart Connection link up. I can’t wait!