Happy Creativity Thursday!

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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.

Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/11

Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com
Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the work of Sonya Clark, a textile artist extraordinaire who also serves as Chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Clark’s work focuses on her individual and collective identity as an African American woman with Caribbean roots from her Jamaican mother and Trinidadian father.

Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark - Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/
Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark – Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/

I discovered Clark’s work and featured her Madame C.J. Walker, a tapestry made from black plastic combs, on my Black American Princess (BAP) Living social networking site in 2008. Since then, her work has been an inspiration for my own creative expression. Visit www.sonyaclark.com to learn more about her.

Ananda’s Speaking at 2nd National Summit: Arts, Health and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum in April

Photo Credit: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center web site - http://www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil/SitePages/home.aspx
Photo Credit: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center web site – http://www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil/SitePages/home.aspx

Hi All,

Since it’s Creativity Thursday, I thought I would share my news about speaking at the Second National Summit: Arts, Health and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum on April 10, at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I will serve as a panelist for the Discussion 2: Re-entry/Reintegration Military Treatment Facilities. My co-panelists are Linda O’Neil, a Smith Center artist, and Tara Tappert, Exhibitions Coordinator at Combat Paper Project and archives and American arts consultant. Ermyn F. King, Creative Arts Program Coordinator at Walter Reed, will serve as a the moderator. During the discussion, I will share my experience of working with wounded warriors, military personnel, and hospital staff as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.

Happy Creativity Thursday – 3/14

That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness by Ananda Leeke
That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness by Ananda Leeke

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Every person is born with a spark of creativity that can awaken them to an amazing life. Throughout my life’s journey, I have witnessed my spark of creativity expand through the nurturing support of other artists. Today, I am remembering Tasko Bey, an amazing master artist I met while working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital. When I met Tasko, he was a patient living with cancer and a graduate student in Howard University’s Master of Fine Arts program. Prior to attending Howard, his work was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Our first expressive arts sessions turned into a mini workshop where he served as a teacher and coach. He even gave me homework. For the next two years, he utilized our sessions as teaching moments. In 2005, he urged me to pick up a pencil and draw and use a paint brush to paint my first series of paintings. He showed me how to tap into my intuition for creative guidance and encouraged me to experiment with watercolor, gouache, and acrylic painting.

Photo Credit: http://columbus.utrechtblog.com/2012/03/
Photo Credit: http://columbus.utrechtblog.com/2012/03/

I fell in love with acrylic paints. As a result, I created a series of paintings that I later used to illustrate my book covers for Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One and That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery. One of my favorite paintings from this series is “That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness.” See photo above. It hangs in my sunny yellow kitchen and reminds me of Tasko and his passionate love of art. Click here to watch a video about the painting (starts with an introduction to another painting and some of my collages) and my art studio. Enjoy!

Do you draw or paint?

Who or what inspired you to begin drawing or painting?

What do you like to draw or paint?

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.

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

My Creative Process: Art Making and Memoir Book Writing

Ananda writing at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

I am in the middle of writing my second memoir, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years.  It’s my third book in five years!

My creative process is magical, messy, and SLOW right now.  I am struggling with the fear of writing a new book and wondering how it will be received.  I have turned to my artwork for comfort.

My creative soul has found sanctuary in Collagetry.  Collage + Poetry = Collagetry.  It is a technique I developed while working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital.

Ananda's art supplies
Ananda's art supplies
Ananda's art supplies

A few weeks ago I created several Collagetrys (my made up word) for patients I was working with at The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  I took photos of the collages because they spoke to my writing fears and life as an artist.  See below.

Collagetry

This Memoir Collagetry reminded me to own my story and voice in my writing process.  It also reminded me of the collages I made during my first memoir writing process and the energy and inspiration I received after creating them.  So I made a mental note to make more time in my writing process for collage.

Healing Artist Collagetry

The message of this Healing Artist Collagetry really touched me: Self-expression.  This is you. This is now. Healing artist. Your heart. Watercolor landscape.  It offered me permission to use my healing artwork as a path back to my  memoir writing.

Six-word memoir Collagetry

I adore six-word memoirs and have used them in my work as an artist-in-residence.  This six-word memoir’s message states: The Creative Kingdom. Healing Ways Soothe.  It led me to do a Google search for blogs written by collage artists who use words in their work.  My search introduced me to artist/blogger Kelly Rae Roberts and her book, Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings

Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts - photo credit: Amazon.com

After reading the book’s description on Amazon.com, I ordered a copy.  I started reading the book and have enjoyed the journaling exercises which are forcing me to confront my writing fears.  One of my fears is running out of inspiration.  So I have turned to Pinterest. I created two inspiration boards for my art and writing.  I use them on a regular basis to stay energized.  Check out the links below.

I also started listening to TED Talks about writing and creativity.  Two of my favorites include author Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on a new way to think about creativity and novelist Amy Tan’s talk on where does creativity live.

Photo Credit: Poets and Writers, February 2012

I returned to reading Poets & Writers on a regular basis.  The February issue focused on inspiration. I have been rereading Frank Bures’ article about creating inner space for inspiration.  It reminds me to UNPLUG from technology, my to do list, my writing deadlines, etc.  Unplugging creates more time to relax and recharge.  When I do it, I am able to surrender.  SURRENDER is the key that unlocks the door to my creative process.  So wish me luck as I practice the art of surrender from now until the fall season, make Collegetrys to overcome my writing struggles, and complete my  fabulous Digital Sisterhood book!