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Summer is the perfect time to get back in touch with your creativity and renew your passion for work and life!

What will YOU do to “recharge your batteries” over this warm summer season?  Will you plan for time outdoors, time with family, and time alone to nourish your creativity?  Will you make time to do what gives you pleasure, what thrills you, what makes you feel that all your efforts are worthwhile?  Will you pay yourself back for all the time you put in?

I’d like to inspire you to GET CREATIVE this summer, and make a plan to do MORE to replenish your spiritual soul, your inner artist. When Fall rolls around, you will be glad you did.

I have been immersing myself in my own creative process this year, as part of my “self renewal” now that my children are in college.  This summer I am doing even more to nourish my creative spirit by enrolling in a few weekend art classes and reconnecting with girlfriends who like to visit art galleries and go to summer festivals.  It’s building nicely, this effort to renew my creative side, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. It’s working!  My creative side was beginning to feel a bit dormant, but with small but consistent efforts, I’ve revived it again.   So from my own recent experience, here’s what I’ll suggest:

How to Jumpstart Your Creativity – A Summer Plan:

1. Visit Local Art Galleries

There’s nothing like visiting an art gallery or museum to immerse you in the language of visual thinking. We use the principles of right brain stimulation in the classroom, so why not apply these same values to ourselves?  Just this morning I passed the LA Craft and Folk Art Museum and noticed a new display in their window.  Can you believe this “sculpture” is made entirely out of sponges? Now why didn’t I think of that?  This is a great example of thinking outside of the box, and something that might spark some ideas for your own classroom.  It certainly evokes the question “what is art?” and may have you looking a little differently at foam package stuffing or things you see in the trashcan. 

2. Have Fun at Summer Festivals

Summer is the time for festivals, so make a plan to visit at least one for fun. As part of my commitment to jumpstart my own creativity, I attended The Brewery Art Walk, something I had meaning to do for years. I was glad I went, and even my husband had fun in spite of initially going with me as “a favor.”  All the adult art studios were open for viewing, but I also I discovered a wonderful Art Studio For Children called The Peddler of Dreams. 

Check out these incredible children’s art projects, all so creative and beautifully displayed.  These delightful paper bag fish were made from white paper bags, markers and watercolors and dangled nicely from dried tree branches so they looked like they were swimming.  And how about these recycled plastic bottles made into bird feeders, aren’t they amazing!  I was so impressed with the birdfeeders that I searched the Internet later for “bird feeders made out of plastic bottles” and found plenty of tips for constructing them with ease.  Check out how The Peddler of Dreams studio had children decorate their bird feeders with tissue paper and watered down white glue. Beautiful and oh so creative, my inner artist was definitely tickled. 

3. Renew an Arts & Crafts Hobby

Take a class in something creative, even one simple weekend workshop can revive your creativity and a few weekend workshops will deepen your sense of renewal.  Check for low cost classes at your Parks & Recreation, Adult Schools, and local retail craft shops.  It’s fun to do art in a group, and classes let you bond with like-minded spirits and get to know other people in your community who value self-expression. 

I attended a Bead Show last Fall (another thing I’d always meant to do, and finally DID) where I took a 3 hour workshop in Shrink Art.  I found it so relaxing that I have been making little Shrink Art Charms ever since.  Here’s one of my latest inventions. 

I loved learning how to apply rubber stamps and pastels to the surface of Shrink Art Material, so they look more “grown-up” than children’s shrink art. I love the process of making them, and then giving them away in Birthday Cards and as little tokens of affection.  But what I love most about Shrink Art is that I can make them in a short amount of time because I’m a very busy lady and I like creative projects that don’t take too long.  Which brings me to my next suggestion:  find a place to leave your art supplies out so you don’t waste time setting up and putting away your supplies. 

4. Create Your Own Art Area at Home

The most tedious part of an arts or crafts hobby is the setup and clean up of supplies.  Find a table or corner of your home that you can dedicate as your Art Area, and let your family know it’s your personal studio area, not to be disturbed. 

That’s what I did here in my garage. As you can see, it’s nothing fancy but it has all the basics, and I put it together for less than $100 using Craig’s List). It’s important to have your own wind-down place, your sanctuary, your place to revive your creative spirit. My sanctuary is my Art Area where I can drop in anytime, and not worry about having to set up or clean up. I can bring music or watch re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop (haha) as you see me doing here, along with my shrink art set up. 

5. Keep a Digital Camera in Your Purse

Keeping a camera handy will awaken your visual thinking, and help you connect to the world of color and sensation that surrounds you.  A camera helps you identify and capture “magical moments.”  It also helps you remember things that you may want to try yourself later.  Here’s a magical moment I caught on film recently, that I definitely want to try sometime – it’s a community candlelight mandala made entirely from fresh flower petals. Wow. This reminds me that creative ideas surround me, and having my camera handy helps me “borrow” other peoples ideas and use them later with my own special twist.   

If you investigate creative outlets in your community, you will be richly rewarded. Anything that gets your hands and heart working together is bound to jumpstart the creative process inside you – whether it be painting, photography, scrapbooking, ceramics or any other artistic activities that excite or delight you. 

Last but not least, if you want to be TRULY inspired, take time to watch this incredible video called “Happiness Revealed.”  I guarantee it will make the rest of your day more meaningful. It is the most beautiful message of hope and happiness that I have ever seen.  Have a great summer, and take time to listen to your dreams…those are the sounds no one else can hear.

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