BRILLIANT is #Creativityat50 Lesson 6. One of my creative jewels (wisdom nuggets) is written on a cardboard plaque that sits on my artist desk. Each day it reminds me: Be the most BRILLIANT color in the box.
For me, being the most BRILLIANT color means being my authentic self. It means taking the time and actually doing the work to heal and release limitations I have imposed on myself and inherited from my ancestors, family, and society. It means owning and celebrating my strengths and weaknesses. It means being me (not doing me) — a BRILLIANT work in process!
SIMPLE is #Creativityat50 Lesson 5. Earlier today, I was creating content for a client’s social media campaign and discovered an Instagram quote by Charles Mingus, one of my favorite jazz musicians (see below).
Mingus’ words reminded me of a lesson my art teacher Tasko taught me 10 years when he insisted I begin painting: get out of your head and into your heart so you can surrender your ego and feel the simplicity of what Spirit is calling you to create. Keep it SIMPLE in your art and creative process is the short version.
#Creativityat50 Lesson 4 is PRACTICE. One thing I know for sure after living and working as a creative professional for 20+ years is that my creative expression deepens, expands, and improves the more I practice it.
While I was at the WordPress Press Publish Conference in Portland, Oregon last weekend, I attended two great photography sessions led by Joe Boydston and Sheri Bigelow, members of the Automattic team. During their sessions, I learned several smartphone photography tips including getting close up to an image and low on the ground to take photos, framing a photo, and turning photos into black and white for a different look. Their tips were easy and simple to follow That’s why I started practicing them right after their sessions. Check out my practice photo (based on framing tip) I took while looking out of my hotel room.
Did you attend the Press Publish photography sessions? What did you learn?
Here’s a photo from my Monday afternoon walk on 16th Street, NW in Washington, DC. I used the get low tip to take it.
Do you like to take photos with your smartphone? What kind of photos do you take? Any special tips for taking photos?
NURTURE is #Creativityat50 Lesson 3. Artist dates are one way I nurture my creative heart and spirit. Last week, I visited my niece Jordan at her college, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. While I was there, we planned an artist date to see exhibitions by mixed media artist and painter Chitra Ganesh and painter and sculptor Kehinde Wiley at the Brooklyn Museum, one of my favorite places to visit in New York City.
Seeing Ganesh’s awe-inspiring mural dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali reminded me how much I missed working with goddess mythology in my work as a wire sculptor. I fell in love with her life-size arms and use of hair to make words.
Wiley’s magestic and massively large paintings of young African America men and women stirred my desire to paint my story as an African American woman on a large canvas.
How do you nurture your creative heart and spirit? Do you make artist dates? What do you do on your artist dates?
COLLABORATION is #Creativityat50 Lesson 2. While writing my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, I learned that my creative expression relied on the collaboration of others. Leigh Mosley, my amazing photographer, is one of the people I have collaborated with on the publication of my three books. Since 2007, Leigh has worked with me to produce author and book cover photos.
This month, we had a photo shoot and editing session for my new web site photos. Leigh’s master photography skills were in full effect! I’m deeply grateful for our collaboration. Do you collaborate with others?
I’m bringing #CreativityThursday back with #Creativityat50 Lessons, a five-week blog series that will share the five key lessons I have learned as an artist and writer over the past 20+ years.
SURRENDER is #Creativityat50 Lesson 1. Each time I have created a piece of artwork or written a book, I have faced creative blocks stemming from fear and/or feelings of being overwhelmed. The one thing that has helped me overcome the fear and overwhelming feelings is making a choice to surrender my will and need to control. The act of surrender opens the door to my intuition and imagination. It also jumpstarts my courage to move with my fear and feelings while taking positive steps to express my creativity. I surrendered my fear and overwhelming feelings surrounding the content I am creating for my web site relaunch, upcoming email campaigns, and the creation of a newsletter today when I decided to attend a free class on MailChimp email campigns and newsletters offered at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC (see photo above). Thanks to DC Librarian Victor Benitez I walked away with tons of creative tips I can use in my MailChimp email campaigns and newsletter, web site content, and work with clients seeking to launch and offer newsletters. I also walked away feeling energized and more committed to the creative surrender process. Have you ever practiced surrender in your creative process?
Yesterday I spent time working with Jeff Brooks, an amazing photographer and founder of Photog4Naturals, at his studio in Takoma Park, a groovy part of Washington, DC. Jeff invited me to participate in his natural hair storytelling book and video project. Little did I know when I accepted his invitation that I would have one of the best creative collaborative experiences of my life. Click here to sneak a peek at our work.
During our time together, I learned so much about Jeff and his passion for photography, video, natural hair, and storytelling. He is truly living his purpose as a photographer and entrepreneur. His spirit is grounded in his calling as a connecter and community builder. His creative approach is AWESOME. His photos and videos tell stories that touch your heart and make you look with awe at his divine gifts. He teaches as he shoots (I learned about a photo and video app that is fast becoming my new BFF). Generosity, kindness, and a great sense of humor make him a joy to work with. Visit http://photog4naturals.com to learn more about him.
PS: Jeff let me take photos of him working during our breaks. Check out one of the photos above. He took the photo of me with my Samsung smartphone camera.
Today I am celebrating the creativity of natural hair entrepreneur Evette Chambers, my loctician for the past 10 years. Evette is the founder of City Kinks, a Washington, DC-based natural hair salon.
Her skills, style, and spirit are OUTSTANDING. She is a positive inspiration and a natural-born connector who believes in sharing the wealth. She supports her clients in many different ways such as facilitating health and political awareness sessions, encouraging people to follow their passion, sharing information, promoting client businesses and events, and hosting client gatherings. Her generosity of spirit and commitment to community building make her a true blessing!
Did you know that she was featured in Essence Magazine and its special hair issue?
What more can I say about her?
Check out my before and after photos from my session with Evette on Wednesday. My hair is healthy and beautiful because of her great work and teachings. For the past several months, I have been having a deep love affair with her creative expression of an elegant French braid. It is easy to care for and makes me feel “femme chic.” Also, I have received so many compliments on this style. It is definitely one in a million!
Here is a photo of Evette’s creative interpretation of a classic bun that was taken in 2013. As you can tell from my facial expression in the photo, visiting City Kinks is always a fun-filled experience. She infuses her “joie de vivre” into everything she does!
Today I woke up hungry for the words and wisdom of Dr. Maya Angelou. So I reached for a book of her poems that kept me company during the second semester of my freshman year at Morgan State University in 1983. Her spirit guided me to her poem, “Thank You, Lord.”
Her words reminded me to say a thank you prayer for waking up another day and being inspired and influenced by her creative spirit. Her poetry and memoirs gave me permission to write and publish my own books.
For the next six months, I have decided to write and publish a series of e-books. Today, I found a great article about publishing e-books on my digital sister and fellow author/blogger, Shonell Bacon’s LinkedIn page. It gave me some great tips for publishing my e-books. Click here to read it.
Do you have any plans to write an e-book? If yes, what resources are you using to write it?
What creative projects are you working on this spring and summer?