Guess what I am doing next week? I’m taking artist Tina Lassiter’s “An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight” workshop on July 11 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Tina describes the workshop as a collage-making “joyshop” that will evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. It’s just what I need to jumpstart my own collage-making painting process.
More About Tina: She is also a writer, photographer, and Director of Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, She became a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist in addition to receiving certifications in Reiki and Acupressure. She is currently working to help Children’s National Medical Center establish an integrative medicine program.
What are you doing to celebrate creativity in July?
Today, I am excited about Exhale, a provocative new talk series about African American women on ASPiRE TV that features five of my favorite creative women: Angela Burt-Murray, Comedian Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams, and Rene Syler. Thank goodness these ladies have been blessed with the gift of gab. Their candid discussions will offer intergenerational commentary on a wide range of topics including family, relationships, money, faith and everything that African American women are talking about. I know the show will influence, inform, and inspire me and my sistalove friends! That’s one of the reasons I am so excited about it!!!! So watch it tonight at 8:00 p.m.
I AM EXCITED ABOUT EXHALE BECAUSE…..
I AM EXCITED because I am hungry … no starving is a better word. I am starving for positive television programming that features women who look like me and share my interests and concerns.
I AM EXCITED about hearing from Angela Burt-Murray, founder of CocoaFab TV and former Essence editor-in-chief. I miss Angela’s voice. When she was at Essence, I enjoyed reading her letter to the reader each month. Her interviews and articles always informed and inspired me. I need Angela to inform and inspire me each week!
I AM EXCITED about Malinda Williams because she stole my heart when she played the character Bird on the wildly successful Soul Food television series on Showtime years ago. I also adore her down-to-earth personality, passion, and style! I need Malinda to remind me to stay grounded and focused on my passion as I live life with style!
I AM EXCITED about Rene Syler because she speaks her mind and writes with a soulful honesty that makes me say “AMEN.” The first time I learned about Rene was at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2011. She was a luncheon keynote speaker who shared so passionately from her life. I left Blogalicious as a Rene Syler fan. I need to witness Rene’s passionate honesty and humor each week!
I AM EXCITED about Issa Rae because she is incredibly gifted as a digital entrepreneur, writer, director, producer, and actress. I fell madly in love with Issa’s webisode series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl a few years ago. Since then, I have followed her online and watched all of the programs she has created and produced. Last year, I met and heard her speak at the Minority Media & Telecom Council’s 10th Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference. I need to receive a weekly dose of Issa’s creative energy dipped in authentic and awkward humor.
I AM EXCITED about Erin Jackson because she is dangerously funny. I discovered her humor and wit when ASPiRE TV starting promoting Exhale several months ago. She reminds me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I love her crazy sense of humor. I need to catch Erin’s laughter train on a weekly basis!
Creativity Thursday Request
My excitement is so great that I want to see these ladies succeed beyond their wildest imaginations. So I am using my blog and social media platforms to encourage others to watch and support the show. With that said, please take some time to give these five Exhale ladies some social love! Encourage your social network of family, friends, and fans to do the same.
Today, I am celebrating the work of mixed media artist and sculptor Lisa Schumaier, an Alexandria, Virginia native. I met Lisa two weeks ago while visiting her studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a down-to-earth woman with a deep passion. She was happy to explain her art-making process and shared several stories about her artwork.
I was immediately drawn to her mixed media collage sculptures of women dancers.
I marveled at how she was able to blend her ceramic work with found objects and recycled materials. Click here to watch a video of Lisa talking about her passion for art and the Torpedo Factory. For more information about her work, visit www.keenthings.com.
Today, I am celebrating Tim Okamura, a fabulous painter from Edmonton, Canada (one of my favorite places to visit for art and creativity). Tim’s paintings explore identity, popular culture, and the urban environment. He uses collage, spray paint, and mixed media in his work (and I adore collage and mixed media!).
After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. By the way, Les Nubians are one of my favorite Afropean neosoul singing duos (they make several appearances in my Love’s Troubadours novel).
I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his “Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!
More About Tim (from his official bio)
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada.
Growing up in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area afforded me many opportunities to visit and fall in love with the Smithsonian Museums. My love affair with the Smithsonian and other museums was nurtured by my mother and the nuns who taught me art history and appreciation at St. Elizabeth Seton High School.
The exhibition is scheduled to open on October 19. It will feature more than 120 works that explores yoga’s goals; its Hindu, as well as Buddhist, Jain, and Sufi
manifestations; its means of transforming body and consciousness; and its
profound philosophical foundations.
About the Crowdfunding Campaign
The Smithsonian launched its crowdfunding campaign on May 29 (will end on July 1) with a funding goal of $125,000. To date, the campaign has raised $12,800. The purpose of the campaign is to raise money to create videos, publications, and pamphlets; print catalogs, offer yoga classes during the exhibition, and more. After reading about the exhibition and watching the crowdfunding campaign video on YouTube, the yoga teacher, artist, and Internet geek inside of me became excited and inspired to make a donation. Why? Three of my passions have come together in one project I can support: yoga, creativity, and the Internet. Click here to make a contribution.
Crowdfunding is a web-based financial model that allows individuals to network and pool their money in community to support projects and ventures initiated by other people and organizations. gofundme,indiegogo, and Kickstarter are three of the most popular reward-based crowdfunding platforms. The Smithsonian is using Razoo, a crowdfunding platform for nonprofit organizations. To learn more about crowdfunding, click here to see my Crowdfunding Pinterest board of resources.
Each artist made a ceramic bowl that reflected his or her own personal aesthetic and medium. Together, the ceramic bowls symbolized the importance of creating healing space.
The creation of healing space is a core element of Smith Center’s mission and my intention as a Smith Center artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Click here to learn more about the exhibition. If you are in the D.C. area on June 7, plan to attend the artists’ closing reception at 7:00 p.m.
Writing a book is a journey in itself. When your write about yourself like I have in my debut novel and creative memoir, you may encounter moments in your writing journey that force you to deal with your fears and past experiences. That’s what has been happening during my Digital Sisterhood memoir book writing process. I have started and stopped many times. I have been overwhelmed and wounded by my own need to control a creative process that requires constant surrender. I have allowed my reaction to the edits I received from my publisher in December to stall my publication process. In short, it has been a creative struggle I often wish I did not have to deal with, but I am hanging with support, positive energy, and love from an amazing team of family, friends, peers, yoga teachers, an acupuncturist, a book editor extraordinaire, a keep it real life coach, and detailed copy editors who keep me on track.
I have also used inspiring books to strengthen myself from the inside out as I finalize the manuscript. One book that has inspired me greatly is writing teacher Judith Barrington’sWriting the Memoir. In her book, Barrington writes with emotional honesty about the memoir writing journey. It gave me the words I was looking for to describe the bottled up emotions I have been carrying around about my writing fears. It was liberating to read her guidance on theme selection, voice, tone, form, plot, scene, and character development. She also stressed the value of having a disciplined practice. I enjoyed her references to writings by Alice Walker and Virginia Woolf. After I finished her book, I felt refreshed and ready to pick up my editing pen and complete my Digital Sisterhood book edits. What a blessing!
I love watching people express themselves through the clothing and accessories they wear. The color combinations, shapes, sizes, and textures are all very exciting to see. Each piece of clothing and accessory has meaning and perhaps a story.
How do you express your creativity through clothing and accessories?
What does your favorite piece of clothing or accessory mean to you?
Does it have a story?
Today, I expressed my creativity by wearing blue and cranberry red together. The color blue corresponds to my intention to have a calm and peaceful day. Cranberry red represents my intention to have a spring easy breezy day of positivity, passionate and playful fun. Click here to read about the meaning of colors better known as Color Psychology. My accessories included a wrap around lapis lazuli necklace (purchased at the Essence Music Festival in 1997), silver bangles from Forever 21 ($4 — purchased a few weeks ago), and a lapis lazuli ring (purchased from a Dupont Circle DC vendor in 2003).
Clothing Details: My blue blazer is from Dress Barn ($35 with a coupon). My blue t-shirt ($10 weekend sale in April) and cranberry red skinny pants ($40 from Fall 2012 sale) are from Ann Taylor Loft. My comfy Anne Klein black wedge shoes are from Macy’s (30% sale two weeks ago – approximately $45).
Maiden Nation was founded by my digital sisters Willa Shalit, Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, and Juliana Um to empower women through ethical fashion and to create a marketplace where items are designed with both beauty and social consciousness in mind. Maiden Nation’s designers are of the moment, their products are ethically sourced, and profits are reinvested into women’s entrepreneurship projects. Famed designers such as Yoko Ono and Chan Luu have contributed designs. See photos below.
Chan Luu’s “Kiss Kiss Bracelets” – named for the signature Haitian greeting of a peck on each cheek – are part of a line of Chan Luu jewelry created especially for Maiden Nation members of Hands Together Cooperative in Haiti, in partnership with the Glamour Women of the Year Fund Initiative and the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. Each purchase will help the survivors of the 2010 earthquake build a new life by supporting this new business. Additionally, for every bracelet sold, $6 will be donated to Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization to support community development in Haiti. Additionally, to support victims in the U.S. and Haiti coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Maiden Nation will also donate $2 to the American Red Cross.
Click here to visit the Maiden Nation online marketplace.
Happy Mother’s Day Shopping!
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with product from Maiden Nation to review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.
The book begins with a forceful statement that has become my mantra: “Your first task as a creative person is to “mind your mind.” Maisel’s words forced me to go deep within to define, accept, and take full responsibility for my career as an artist, coach, and writer. It also helped me better understand my doubts and fears.
My favorite chapters (Chapter 1 on the Mind Key, Chapter 2 on The Confidence Key, Chapter 3 on The Passion Key, Chapter 3 on The Freedom Key, and Chapter 8 on The Identity Key) helped me develop a series of affirmations and action steps I am using to:
Ground myself daily.
Complete my Digital Sisterhood book edits by May 31.
Finalize my book publication process with my publisher by June 30.
Finalize and launch my book marketing plan by July 15.
Increase my creative expression opportunities, clients, and revenue streams as an artist/coach/writer on a monthly basis.
In short, the book was a game changer for me!
If you are an artist, writer, painter, singer, filmmaker, musician, sculptor, dancer, actor, and creative person or professional who is faced with challenges, doubts, and fears in your creative process, click here to buy a copy of Making Your Creative Mark. Enjoy!
Maisel is amazing! He is a creativity coach and the author of many books including Creativity for Life and Coaching the Artist Within(two books I plan to read this summer to further develop my own practice and services as creativity coach). He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit www.ericmaisel.com.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written as a review for New World Library.