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 #CreativityThursday Adventure: Fashion Field Trip to Macy’s

Photo Credit: Macys.com
Photo Credit: Macys.com

Since it’s Creativity Thursday, I thought I would take a fashion field trip to Macy’s Metro Center this evening to get some creative tips on the five Spring Essentials I need to enhance my lifestylista wardrobe.

Photo Credit: Macys.com
Photo Credit: Macys.com

I am excited about seeing the Spring Fashion Show and meeting Daisy Lewellyn, style expert, author, and TV personality, who will be sharing her spring style tips. Daisy is known as the “Queen of Effortless Chic.” I hope she brings copies of her book, Never Pay Retail Again.

Photo Credit: www.daisylewellyn.com
Photo Credit: http://www.daisylewellyn.com

I’ll be live tweeting during the event. So follow me on Twitter @anandaleeke. I’ll be using the event hashtag #5Essentials and including @Macys and @DaisyLewellyn in my tweets.

PS: I’ll post a recap blog about my Fashion Field Trip to Macy’s in a few days.

DISCLAIMER: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about the Macy’s event. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

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


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.

Happy Creativity Thursday – 2/21

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the power of creative community. Being around like-minded creative people inspires me to open my heart more to all forms of creativity. It also helps me to express my creativity in unique ways.

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com
Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

On February 8, I attended Live Unchained’s Anniversary Celebration and launch of its “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign at Local 16 in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Live Unchained is an international arts organization for women across the African diaspora that was established by Kathryn Buford. Click here to read Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project’s profile of Kathryn.

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com
Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

Live Unchained’s “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign is preparing to bring London-based Somali poet, Warsan Shire to Washington, DC for a “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” series and awards ceremony in 2014. The campaign’s name “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” is taken from a line from one of Shire’s popular poems, “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love.”

Kathryn Buford on video
Kathryn Buford on video
Kathryn Buford at event
Kathryn Buford at event

During the February 8th celebration, I had a chance to hug and chat with Kathryn about her amazing work. I hung out with one of my favorite digital sisters and creativity accountability partners, Jessica Solomon, Live Unchained’s Connectivity Director. We chatted about the powerful images Live Unchained has been able to share with its online community for the past several years.  In addition, I had some great conversations with my digital sisters Nae Carter, founder of I Choose the Sun blog, and Adrienne Burke, a media curator, as we posed for photos.

Adrienne, Ananda and Nae
Adrienne, Ananda and Nae

My creative heart was thrilled to pieces when I viewed the video introducing the “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com. Click here to watch the video. And if you are like me, you will make a donation to support Live Unchained. For more information about the fundraising campaign, click here to read the press release.

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Last week, I had so much fun sharing articles, quotes, reflections, web links, and videos about creativity that I decided to dedicate one day per week to celebrating creativity. So join me for my first Creativity Thursday celebration. It’s something new I am trying out on my blog and social media platforms. So far, it is keeping me focused on my own creative expression. Thanks to HootSuite I have been able to schedule many posts for today, February, and March. My hope is that my sharing inspires you to be more creative!

So what’s cooking in your creative life today?

How are you celebrating creativity this week?

What are you planning to do in February to keep the creativity energy flowing in your world?

Here are a few highlights from my Creativity Thursday.

One of my favorite creativity books
One of my favorite creativity books

1) I shared how Gail McMeekin’s The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women has been a source of inspiration for my creative process especially with my books. Her book is currently helping me finish my Digital Sisterhood memoir. I even quote her in the memoir!

Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

2) A Facebook friend posted a photo of Eileen Fisher, one of my favorite creative women entrepreneurs. The photo included a quote that made my day! See below.

“I want to encourage women entrepreneurs and firmly believe that business can be used to create social change, even if the economic climate is uncertain.”

PS: I have been wearing her clothes since 1994! I still have one of the first black silk sweaters I purchased back in the 90s! Vintage EF!

Photo Credit: Leah Piken Kolidas
Photo Credit: Leah Piken Kolidas

3) I tweeted how much I adore my digital sister Leah Piken Kolidas’ Creative Every Day and Art Every Day Month celebrations. They helped me move through writer’s block during my novel and memoir writing days. PS: Leah was named 2012 Digital Sister of the Year – Creativista!

Photo Credit: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
Photo Credit: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

4)  Spelman College Museum of Fine Art posted a great photo of its upcoming exhibition, Multiple Choice: Perspectives which opens February 7. It features the work of ione rozeal brown, a Washington, D.C. born and bred artist I simply adore! Seeing the photo got my creative juices flowing about my own painting. I need to get back to the paint brushes and canvas.

That Which Awakens Me - my creative memoir
That Which Awakens Me – my creative memoir

5) I shared several links to videos that feature me sharing reflections during my book launch for That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir in 2009. Seeing the videos really made me proud of my work. See video links below.

Happy New Year! Happy January 2013! Happy Creativity Friday!

2013 new year sparkler

Happy New Year! Happy January 2013! Happy Creativity Friday!

How has your new year been so far? What’s been bubbling up in your world this month?

My month has been so much fun! I gave myself the gift of regular yoga classes at Tranquil Space and have been taking time to slow myself down and breathe in the beauty of each day!

I also found a groovy new coffee and crepes cafe to hang out in. It’s called Coffy Shop. My creative digital sister Jessica Solomon introduced me to the place. I love it because it’s based on Pam Grier’s 1970s movies. She’s one my favorite actresses! See photos below. Click here for more photos.

Coffy Cafe in Columbia Heights in DC
Coffy Cafe in Columbia Heights in DC
Ananda at Coffy Cafe
Ananda at Coffy Cafe

Last week, I had a ball at the Inauguration events. Check out one of my photos from the “To Sir With Love” Inauguration Ball for Creatives below. Click here to see more photos.

Ananda at "To Sir with Love" Inauguration Ball for Creatives in DC
Ananda at “To Sir with Love” Inauguration Ball for Creatives in DC

Right here and right now I am taking a few moments to pause and look outside of my window. Why? It’s snowing. It’s the wet kind of snow. I wish this D.C. snow was the Michigan stick to the ground, make a snowman kind of snow I was born into so many years ago. I wanna walk in it … Be zen-like with my Starbucks apple cider as I walk down U Street or up 16th Street to Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park, breathing in the fresh morning air. But that’s not happening. So I decided to write this blog post to share some of my creativity thoughts I’ve been spreading around the digital world via Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.

A fabulous creative manifesto of sorts
A fabulous creative manifesto of sorts

This morning, I woke up feeling very creative. So I named today Creativity Friday. Have you ever had a day like that?

After proclaiming it Creativity Friday, I launched my creative inspiration and content sharing efforts with the help of HootSuite (my dear scheduling tool that allows me to post  content and messages minutes, hours, days, and months in advance).

So here’s what I shared.

1) Inspirational Quotes

  •  “There’s room for everybody on the planet to be creative and conscious if you are your own person. Tori Amos, Pop Rock Singer (WISDOM and TRUTH)
  •  “Creativity takes courage.”  Henri Matisse (been needing courage these days to make the changes my publisher iUniverse recommended for my book, Digital Sisterhood — been dragging my feet in a silent protest…. Note to self: Time to get back on track and finish the book).
  • “Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”  Dee Hock (SO TRUE – cleaning your home helps too — I just finished my two year decluttering project thanks to my amazing life coach Yael!)
  • “Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.” Alan Alda, actor (Taking this with me into February!)
  • “Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” Tina Turner, Singer (let the creative church say AMEN!)

2) A groovy Pinterest board of Creative Inspiration (I love Pinterest!) http://pinterest.com/anandaleeke/creativity-inspiration/

3) My Creative Coaching session video on what creativity looks like. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/5010388

Thanks for stopping by!


PS: Next week, I  will share news about my 2012 favorite moments, more updates on my January yoga/creativity/Internet geek adventures, and lifestyle blog on Tumblr — Ananda@16thandU: Lifestylista in Love with DC!

Digitial Diet Update & Nurturing Creativity with Collage

Collage and photo by Ananda Leeke

Happy Monday!

My digital diet for the week of April 9 helped me be more mindful about my time.  I was able to write, rest, practice yoga/Reiki/meditation, go to the gym, take care of home and personal finance responsibilities, attend an art exhibition opening at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, participate in the monthly artists-in-residence meeting held at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, create collages with patients and staff at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center, and read chapters from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection during my morning commute with greater ease.  I noticed my creative juices were flowing much better.  The best part of the week was not carrying my smartphone with me most days.

My biggest challenge was going online in the evenings to check my email and other social media accounts.  On some days, I spent more time than I originally budgeted. So I am working this week on sticking to my plan.

My greatest lesson learned was that when I write my Digital Sisterhood book chapter drafts on paper instead of my lap top I am less likely to go online in the evening.

Collage and photo by Ananda Leeke

Last month I started making a weekly collage to nurture my creativity journey.  These collages help me stay on track with my commitment to expressing my visual voice.  Many of them serve as visual affirmations that I use to support my fierce living commitment to self-care, fitness, unplugging, and completing my Digital Sisterhood book.  I included two collages above from my April collection.  What do you think?

How are you nurturing your creativity?

Are you making collages or artwork?  If yes, share links in the comment section.

Good Friday Positive Inspiration for My Writer’s Soul from Kelly Rae Roberts & Brene Brown

Happy Friday!  Happy Good Friday! Happy Early Easter!

How is your day going?  I hope it is treating you well.  Mine started with a confession and a double dose of positive inspiration for my writer’s soul.

Here’s my confession: when I write books, especially memoirs, I have an opportunity to really explore some deep parts of myself.  Sometimes the writing journey can get emotionally draining, scary, and overwhelming.  When that happens, I look for positive inspiration. Today I reminded myself to slow down, breathe, and look for some positive inspiration.  Guess what? I found two great sources.

Photo Credit: KellyRoberts.com

Artist Kelly Rae Roberts’ April 5th blog post was the first source of inspiration.  Roberts’ post about the benefits and pitfalls of an online life reminded me I need to continue taking great care of myself by setting more boundaries on my online life.  In short, it’s time for me to revisit my online boundaries, establish a new schedule for going online, and have a more consistent practice of daily and weekly UNPLUGGING (my digital sister and friend Danica Kombol calls it a digital diet).

Photo Credit: Brene Brown photo from The University of Houston

My second source of positive inspiration came from a YouTube video featuring storyteller/researcher Brene Brown’s TEDx Houston Talk on the power of vulnerability. Click here to watch the video.  What a game changer!  It’s making me dig deeper into my Digital Sisterhood book writing journey. I’m so grateful for Brown’s talk, the power of connection, and the belief and acceptance that I am enough as a spiritual being having a human experience as a woman, friend, daughter, sister, author, artist, coach, yoga teacher, innerpreneur, speaker etc. etc.

So what positive inspiration have you discovered lately?

How do you keep yourself inspired?

Any plans to unplug, set boundaries on your digital life, go on a digital diet (check out Daniel Sielberg’s The Digital Diet — great tips), or take a digital sabbatical (similar to the one Gwen Bell talks about in her book Digital Warriorship – fantastic book I read in 2011 — had a chance to participate in Bell’s BlogHer 2011 workshop — awesome experience)?

Nurturing My Creative Spirit in April with Creating Time by Marney K. Makridakis

Photo Credit: Springtime in Crystal City by Ananda Leeke (2012)

Last month I made several creative commitments after I returned from the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville.  See below.

  • To embrace my visual voice with digital photographs and videos that record authentic moments and tell stories.
  • To affirm my visual voice by sharing what I create on my blog, Animoto, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.
  • To nurture my creative spirit weekly with journaling, artist dates, and reading time (articles, blogs, books, and online creative communities).
  • To affirm, fully claim, and respect my creative journey as an artist in a professional manner.
  • To seek and pursue ways to expand my professional career as an artist.
  • To respect and treat my creativity as a business.
Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke's One Drop of Black Blood painting taken by photographer Leigh Mosley - www.leighmosley.com
Photo Credit: Hamiltonian Gallery - http://www.hamiltonianartists.org

Here’s the good news!  I was able to take action on all of my new commitments.

  • I started carrying my digital camera with me every day.  That helped me capture my favorite Springtime moments.
  • I was able to share my digital photos on my blog, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.  It felt great to receive positive feedback from my social media friends.
  • I created three videos with Animoto that featured my photos from BlissDom and artwork.  The videos were posted on my blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.  Posting the videos helped me see the value in sharing my work with others. It also gave me much needed feedback.
  • I started reading Kelly Rae Roberts’ book,  Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings.  The book’s journaling exercises helped me get in touch with my creative spirit. I also took a walking tour of galleries in my neighborhood:  Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Morton Fine Art Gallery, and Hamiltonian Gallery.  Seeing new art created by a diverse group of artists was inspiring.
  • I took a HUGE leap of faith to expand my professional career as an artist when I  submitted my application to the Hamiltonian Fellowship Program in DC.  The application process required me to write an artist statement and artist CV, and prepare a digital portfolio of ten pieces of artwork (see photo above of one of my paintings that was included in my digital portfolio).  After I finished my application, I decided to post my artist statement and CV on my web site.  Doing that helped me affirm my professional career as an artist and respect and treat my creativity as a business.

This month I am using Marney K. Makridakis’ new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life, to nurture my creative spirit as I move through my Digital Sisterhood book writing journey and take small steps each week to embrace my visual voice.  FYI – I am also reviewing Makridakis’ book at her request.  Her PR team sent me a free copy to review a few weeks ago.

Photo Credit: Artella.com

What’s going on with your creative spirit?

How are you nurturing your creative spirit this month?

Have you made any creative commitments this year?