CollagePlay! In the Flow of Creativity

Above image is Marie’s mixed media piece “Tell Me Your Dream”
Time stood still in the CollagePlay mixed media class yesterday; we were definitely in the flow of creativity. We created together, shared ideas, laughed a lot, and the day just flew by. We didn’t want to break for lunch, but knew we needed nourishment to keep going—that’s the only reason we stopped at all!
I was so delighted with everyone’s finished piece, and, more importantly, so were they. I shared several techniques—ways to start, backgrounds, making your own stencils from chosen images, sponge painting, along with some basic tips on design and composition. Honestly, beyond all that, I think what made the time extraordinary was the supportive and encouraging environment that the group created together.
The collective energy of creative spirit was with us yesterday. At one point we made a rule (actually the ONLY rule we had all day!) that we would have an apology-free day; no apologies necessary! You know that automatic response “Oh, I’m sorry…” to any small thing we did or mistake we might have made? Well, it was verboten yesterday!
The creative flow we experienced may also have something to do with making art on a rainy spring day. Spring season is the direction of the East on the medicine wheel, where the sun rises. The medicine of the East is inspiration, birth and new beginnings. Here’s to new beginnings in art and creativity.
My good friend Maggie said as she got in her car to go home, “You’re the best damned art doula I know!” One of the highest compliments I’ve ever received.
Do you feel spring stirring within you? If so, how does the inspiration of the East speak to you?

Anteo’s Space Chicken Adventure MeCard

Anteo’s story poem
The Space Chicken Adventure
I am the wonderful chicken king
I wonder what it would be like to fly in space
I hear the universe calling me
I see stars and planets with my telescope
I want to be a space chicken
I pretend to fly in space
I feel like I could float forever
I touch the very edges o the universe
I worry about my other hens
I cry for I’m not able to reach space
I am going to build a barn ship
I understand now that space travel is quite long
I say to Leiutenant Bajajara “Put the warp drive at maximum!”
I dream of touching the stars
I try to go to the nearest star
I hope there will be life
I am the space chicken king

Silas (3 y/o) and his One-Winged Dragon MeCard

Silas’s story poem:
I am a dragon
I wonder if the sun
I hear my scales shivering
I see the water
I want to dive in cause
I am a sea dragon
I pretend I’m a fish
I feel alone
I touch the seaweed
I worry that I go up to the sky with two wings
I cry in the sky
I am a walrus
I understand that I go in the water deeply
I say I’m a whale dragon
I dream I dunk down and my eyes bump against seaweed
I try to stand up
I hope I climb up to the top
I am a dragon

Ilari (6 y/o) and her MeCards

Ilari’s story poem:
I am a snowy owl
I wonder that I wish I had a little chick
I hear other owls that look cute…
I see angels
I want them to come here
I am happy
I pretend that the other owls are going away
I feel great
I touch the angel
I worry that the angels are going away
I cry because I think they are going away
I am super happy that they are not going away
I understand that the angels are happy
I say they are pretty
I dream that they angels come to me
I try to make them come to me and they do come to me
I hope they are not leaving
I am happy

Kids Share Their MeCards and Story Poems

Thea Wren (6 y/o), Anteo (10 y/o) and Channing (7 y/o) take turns talking about their MeCards and sharing their story poems.

Thea’s (6 y/o) Fairy MeCard

Thea Wren’s story poem:


I am a fairy

I wonder if fairy cats will play with me

I hear birds

I see flowers

I want cats to paly with me

I am sad


I pretend they play with me

I feel a soft bird’s tail

I touch the bird

I worry that the cats won’t play with me

I cry because I feel the bird’s soft tail

I am so happy


I understand that cats chase birds

I say “Cats! Don’t chase birds!”

I dream that the cats will play with me

I try to feel my heart beat

I hope they will play with me tomorrow

I am happy

First MeCards4Kids Class in the Down to Earth Studio

On Saturday afternoon, March 8th, I offered my first MeCards4Kids class. It was much more fun than I even imagined it might be. Being around children definitely brought out the kid in me and the class flowed along quite comfortably and joyfully. There were five children, three grandmas and one mom in the Down to Earth Studio. As the photos show, the kids made some amazing cards and story poems. The photo featured here is three year old Silas and his “One Winged Dragon” MeCard.
The kids took a few play breaks now and then, but they created for a good two hours down in the studio making their MeCards. They were thoughtful of one another and shared images (“Oh, you like space? Here is a picture of a star galaxy for you.”). Ten year-old Anteo gave one of his cards away to 7 year old Channing saying “I think one story poem is about all I can handle.” It was encouraging to watch the kids work and play together so happily and easily. There was a lot of laughter and I so loved having the energy of kids in the studio. And, as with the SoulCollagers who gather here, their cards were as varied as their little souls and spirits; and all of them were just perfect! I was really tired and very inspired at the end of the day. Here’s to more MeCards4Kids classes here at the Down to Earth Studio.

Art on a Snowed-in Saturday – What’s your favorite creativity mantra?

“Birdsong” 10″ x 14″ Mixed Media – Glenda Goodrich
February 2014 will go down as the year I cross-country skied in my own Salem neighborhood. What an unexpected treat. After complaining about no snow in the mountains this year for skiing, snow came to me. What would’ve thought? If you would have told me a couple of weeks ago that my Saturday Poetic Word Art class would be canceled due to snow, and I would be skiing to LifeSource to get my groceries, I would have laughed at you.
Besides skiing in my own neighborhood, the other joyful part of my snowy weekend at home was watching mixed media art videos on I came across Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. I nicknamed her “Balzer to the Walzer” because of her enthusiasm and messy over-the-top style. She’s a “color outside the lines” type of artists, and just what I need to help free up my own work.I’ve been looking for ways to challenge my love of symmetry and repeated patterns in my work. Don’t get me wrong, I like my work. But artistically I think it’s fun to find my edge and then push it just a little. Do you know what I mean? Just where is that line that we are timid about crossing, and how can we fool ourselves into crossing it? This is all part of my quest in this lifetime to discover my full creative potential. What am I capable of? What kind of art could I make if I step out of judgment and just let ‘er rip?
I know one thing, that a good starting point for me is to get out of my mind and more into my body. That’s where watching Julie’s mixed media helped. I watched her quick and care-free movements—not going back and fixing little things here and there, but just letting the lines and the color “be” as they land. She shared the quote “Competition is the thief of joy.” In my mind I changed it a little to “Perfection is the thief of joy”…either one fits. Anyway, I took notes and did some sketches, then went down into my studio and started in.
I had a great time getting big and bold in my work, and didn’t go back over anything—just let each step take its place on the paper. It’s interesting: I try to be very encouraging to my art and SoulCollage® students to step out of any judgment and let creativity from the heart lead them…whatever they make is exactly as it ought to be because they created it and they are unique. While I was doing this mixed media process a thought came to me: the same encouragement and open approach I offer to my students can be offered to the paper and paint, as if they were creative Beings in their own right. In other words, let them Be as they show up; don’t go back and pick here and there at them as if they aren’t good enough and need to be constantly fixed and re-fixed. Of course, there are some pieces that ask for primping and arranging, and believe you me I’m there for those little beauties.
This piece, “Birdsong”, I really like. It’s made with cut and torn paper strips of book print added to a watercolor paper with matte medium, then covered with gesso and cut out transparencies of birds and music; lastly it’s sprayed with water soluble ink sprays. What I like most about this piece is that it doesn’t look over-worked or forced. It looks like just what happened—I let the paper, images and color land where they landed.My new mantra? “Let them Be who they are!” The “them” I’m referring to here are me, you and all the mixed media paper and paint Beings who have shown up in my studio ready to be employed! May sound a little strange, but it’s workin’ for me in my effort to rock on with my bad self! I’d love to find out the mantras you use when creating. Or post a mantra you think you might want to starting using. Let’s share the love of art and encouragement for one another!