0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday: Breathing Life Into Your Creative Dreams”

Happy Creativity Thursday: Breathing Life Into Your Creative Dreams

Photo Credit: "Kreative Grooviness: That Which Awakens Me " by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: “Kreative Grooviness: That Which Awakens Me ” by Ananda Leeke

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Have you ever dreamed of making something with your hands and then allowed your fears or lack of training to stop you?

It happened to me several years ago when I started dreaming of painting. I was afraid to try it because I had never attended art school. My perspective changed after I started working with a master artist during my tenure as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital. The master artist happened to be a patient I was assigned to work with on creative projects that would help him express his feelings. He transformed our sessions into art workshops where he taught me to trust my intuition and natural creative gifts. He pushed me to paint and gave me numerous painting assignments. This experience helped me create a series of paintings that I used to illustrate two book covers (see paintings above and below). The master artist breathed life into my creative dreams.

Photo Credit: "Be Love. Love Light. Live As the Spirit of Life." by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: “Be Love. Love Light. Live As the Spirit of Life.” by Ananda Leeke

Has anyone breathed life into your creative dreams?

How did the person breathe life into your creative dreams?

What creative actions were you inspired to take?

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Visit Amazon.com to learn more about my creative journey and book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009). My book is available as a Kindle download and a paperback book.

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

alchemical1-smctr

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Each month, I try to participate in an arts-related event in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C.  I usually visit the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Last month, I  attended the opening reception for the Gallery’s Alchemical Vessels, an exhibition featuring ceramic bowls created by 125 artists.

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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.

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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.

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Happy Creativity Thursday – 3/7

Ananda at Walter Reed
Ananda at Walter Reed
Artwork at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center - 4th Floor
Artwork at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – 4th Floor

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the amazing wounded warriors, military families, and hospital staff I get to work with as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts each week at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley - www.leighmosley.com
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley – http://www.leighmosley.com

I’ve been working as a Smith Center artist since 2002. My work at Walter Reed began in 2010. Since then, I have grown to deeply appreciate the many sacrifices our military women, men, and families make on behalf of the United States of America. I have also been able to witness the fantastic creative expressions of military women, men, and their families. What a blessing!

Art supplies
Art supplies
Wounded warrior's water color painting
Wounded warrior’s water color painting

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Click here to see photos from my Walter Reed experiences. Enjoy!

When I am not working at Walter Reed, I am always on the look out for creative inspiration. I find it in books, films, magazines, music, social media (Pinterest), web sites, and yoga. This month, I am getting a lot of inspiration from Poets & Writers magazine.

March 2013 issue of Poets & Writers
March 2013 issue of Poets & Writers

What are your sources of creative inspiration?

PS: If you would like to read about my creative journey, check out my memoir That Which Awakens Me on Amazon.com. It is available on Kindle.

My debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One features a main character who works as a museum curator and art consultant in Washington, D.C. Click here to visit the Love’s Troubadours’ Pinterest board which contains some great information about the novel. You can purchase it on Amazon.com.

0 comments on “Monday Musings, Digital Diet Update & Easter Sunday Photos”

Monday Musings, Digital Diet Update & Easter Sunday Photos

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #1 by Ananda Leeke

Happy Monday!

What’s happening in your part of the world?

It’s chilly and rainy in DC today.  The photos (above and below) I took on Easter Sunday while taking a walk in my Dupont Circle neighborhood warmed me up. They also reminded me how much fun I’ve been having as I embrace my visual voice with photography on a weekly basis.  Click here to see more photos expressing my visual voice.

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #4 by Ananda Leeke

My digital diet is coming along.  Last week I did a better job of turning off my laptop and HTC EVO smartphone in the evening.  I know my morning running and yoga practice are helping me stay centered.

This week I decided to use Monday and Wednesday as my primary social media days on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress.  Wish me luck!

Next week I plan to write a blog about my artist-in-residence work (photos included at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  My blog post will include a poem I wrote and recited at the  Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project held at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in March.

Enjoy your day and week!

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #3 by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #2 by Ananda Leeke
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Happy April & National Poetry Month

Spring 2012 004, originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

Happy April! Happy National Poetry Month!

This month I decided to share poetry and photos that illustrate my work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. Click here to see photos of my work at Walter Reed.

Check out my collage posted above. I wrote a poem about my Artist Romance below.

Ananda at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (standing by wounded warrior sculpture in the main lobby)

Artist Romance by Ananda Leeke
Copyright 2012 by Madelyn C. Leeke

Each week, I share my creative gifts with wounded warriors and their families, military  personnel, and civilian hospital staff.

We play with poetry, six-word memoirs, prayers, essays, creative writing exercises, water color paints, collage, model magic, and wire sculpture on our creative playground.

Laughter invites itself.

Tears often appear.

Smiles are always present.

Sometimes deep revelations occur.

Whatever happens, I am always left with an aha moment of deep gratitude.

It’s the perfect artist romance.

0 comments on “Ananda is speaking about her work with wounded warrriors at the Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project on March 15”

Ananda is speaking about her work with wounded warrriors at the Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project on March 15

Intersections International logo

Great news! I will speak about my work with wounded warriors as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on March 15 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project held at Smith Center in Washington, DC.  Veteran-Civilian Dialogue is a project sponsored by Intersections, a New York-based non-government organization that works at the intersection of communities in conflict The Project brings together veterans and civilians to discuss the impact of war in their lives and others.

I started working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center in 2000.  My first residency was based at Howard University Hospital where I served people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other health challenges from 2003 to 2009.  Click here to learn more Smith Center’s artist-in-residence program.

0 comments on “Ananda’s 9/11 Smith Farm Center Wellness Workshop Adventures @Allen AME Church in DC”

Ananda’s 9/11 Smith Farm Center Wellness Workshop Adventures @Allen AME Church in DC

September 11th was a pretty special day for me this year. I spent the entire day at a wellness workshop sponsored by Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts at Allen AME Church in Washington, DC. During the workshop, I taught a short kind and gentle yoga class for African American DC residents. I also had a chance to connect with Howard University Hospital’s Cancer Center representative. We had a great time talking about the work of Smith Farm artists-in-residence at Howard University Hospital.  By the way, I worked as artist-in-residence at Howard Hospital from 2003 to 2009. Great times! Click here to see more photos from my adventures at the wellness workshop.

0 comments on “December 8: An Urban Retreat Day at Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts”

December 8: An Urban Retreat Day at Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts

Greetings All,

What a beautiful day it has been!  I spent it at an urban retreat held at one of my favorite U Street sanctuaries, Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts (www.smithfarm.com). 

The retreat was organized for Smith Farm artists-in-residence who work at local hospitals.  I joined Smith Farm in 2001.  I started working in the hospital setting in January 2003.   Howard University Hospital was the first place I worked.  I have also conducted workshops at Washington Hospital Center’s Cancer Conferences, Holy Cross Hospital’s Breast Cancer Support Groups, and the annual conferences held by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare (www.thesah.org). 

Smith Farm is an amazing place to work.  The organization always takes care of its artists with retreats and professional development workshops.  We are always learning and growing.  That’s why I love my Smith Farm family!

The urban retreat began with an amazing writing workshop.  Eight of us had a great time writing poetry and journaling exercises.  We also shared our thoughts.  Right before we lunch we experienced a wonderful gentle yoga session.  My favorite part was the yoga nidra.  That was the piece de resistance for me.  I felt like I was melting away! Yoga yummy! We had a yummy healthy lunch while we held our December meeting and shared our latest news.  I left feeling more relaxed and open to the holiday season and 2010!

What are you doing to relax and prepare for 2010?

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude OMs,

Ananda