Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Living A More Creative Life, Part 3

We've talked about ways to bring creativity into our daily life by taking the time to use more soulful objects in our activities.  Now let's look at ways to bring creativity into our lives and the lives of others around you on a broader scale.  What are ways that we can reach out beyond our own experiences and make a difference for those around us?  Studies have shown that one of the strongest things we can do to lift our own days is to make an effort to lift the days of others.  I find, as a teacher, that the creativity I watch in my students is contagious. Let's look at some ideas for how we can develop creatively contagious moments.

What is it that you enjoy doing?  It doesn't have to be obviously creative.  
Perhaps you are a seamstress, perhaps a cook.  Maybe you are an organizer or communication is your gift.  Maybe you are naturally inclined toward hospitality. How can these gifts be used in a more creative way?

I know of a woman that taught sewing classes to young girls.  She taught 4 at a time with 2 at the sewing machines and 2 sitting on the couch doing handwork.  The teacher would sit on the couch with the ones doing handwork.  As they stitched, she would talk with them about what it meant to grow up to be strong and gracious women.  She found a creative solution to her own need and changed the lives of her students at the same time.  

What if a gifted cook invited 3 or 4 different children (or maybe even adults) over to their kitchen once every couple of months for a cooking lesson?  Many young mothers are swamped and tired from working and don't have time to teach their children and maybe don't even have time to cook.  What a gift of creativity to teach them to make a great pie crust. They would never forget it.

What if a beautician invited young girls over for a day of spa treatments. We live in a time when young girls are struggling to understand what true beauty is.  The spa instructions could be laced with talk about true inner beauty that reaches out to others.

I have a friend who is a very organized person and she has a heart for homeless families.  Determined to find a way to help, she began working with the administration end of a ministry to homeless families.  She not only uses her organizational skills to help make the ministry function, she uses her creativity for 'outside the box' ideas that help the ministry to soar.  She is able to use her creativity to help the people she cares for.  That is creative thinking!

I have another friend who started a ministry in her church based on a creative way of using her gifts.  This woman is a shopper.  She can find a bargain!  And she can talk people into giving her an even better bargain like no one else I know.  A few years back this friend became aware of a need at the local women's shelter in the town where she lived.  The women were only allowed to stay for 30 days at the shelter.  Most of the time they had left home in a hurry and with only what they could carry.  So when the women who had sought refuge in the shelter had completed their time they had nothing to begin setting up a new home.  My friend began going regularly to garage sales and buying furniture and housewares.  She then got permission to store these things in an unused room at her church. She also discovered that if she explained her mission to the garage sale owners, that often they would simply donate their items.  Then as the time comes for each shelter guest, she is invited to the church to "shop" for items needed for her new household and for her children.  And its all free.

Creativity can enrich both our lives and the lives of those around us.  And really, what good is a gift if it can not bless those around us?

So I don't know what your gifts are.  They may not look like the examples I've given.  But maybe these ideas have sparked some thoughts for you.  I don't know what your creativity looks like.  But you can be sure, its there somewhere.  My challenge to you today is to dare to look for it.  Dare to give it some time to develop in you.  And then to dare to step out with creative action to enrich both your life and your world.

Next time we'll look at this more from the perspective of those already living their lives as artists.

Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Living A More Creative Life Part 2

As promised I am continuing with the Living A More Creative Life series.  I will first approach this topic from the perspective of those who do not claim to be artists but who desire to live a more creative daily life.  These ideas can be helpful to anyone and everyone.  Then later we will look at the need to rekindle creativity in the life of the artist.

Before we proceed any further let's get one thing out of the way.  I know what you are thinking, and YES, you can!  Over the years when people learn that I am an art teacher, I receive one single response most often.  Oh, I could never do that.  I'm just not creative.  But you know, that simply is not true.  I know, I know.  I've heard it over and over - You just don't know me.  Why, I can't even draw a straight line.  Well, I've got news for you.  Being creative has nothing to do with drawing a straight line.  That's what rulers are for.  After years of being a teacher I can tell you that everyone can learn to be a more creative person, to make more creative choices, and to think in a more creative way.  We may not all be commissioned to paint cathedral ceilings in the next few years.  But we can ALL be creative people.

In the last post on this subject I mentioned that creativity is breaking out of accepted patterns and solutions in order to find a new way of doing something.  Everyone can do that.  It is just a matter of reminding yourself to stop and think before you continue, once again, down that same ol' thread bare path. So what is your area of creativity?  How does your mind work?  Where do your thoughts go?  Renoir once said that a work of art "must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself, and carry you away".  Maybe visual art is something that is within you and you don't realize it.  Perhaps you long to create in that way.  Maybe today is the day to begin trying.  Perhaps you should check with me about online classes or The Graceful Artist.  Or perhaps visual art is not your area of creativity.  Perhaps it is not the way your mind works.  What is it in life that, as Renoir said, seizes you, wraps you up, and carries you away?

Creativity is a way of life, a way of moving your thoughts in a certain direction.  You can begin to incorporate creativity into your way of thinking in simple ways. Stop warming your water for tea in the microwave.  Use a tea kettle - maybe one that whistles when the water is hot.  And even better yet, pour your tea from a nice tea pot.  Are soda's your favorite drink?  Take just a moment and pour it out of that plastic bottle or the styrofoam cup and drink from a glass - a real one made from real glass where the ice clinks when you drop it in.

Put a candle on the table when you eat dinner tonight - even if you are alone.  Listen to music rather than the news while you prepare your meal.  Use glass mason jars to store your refrigerator items rather than plastic.  Keep your cotton balls in a lovely vintage tin.  Its a simple change.  But every time you get a cotton ball out, you get to enjoy a creative stop in your day.  These kinds of small changes in our environment and our days actually only take a moment but they begin to shift our mindset toward a more soulful and creative way of living and thinking.
These are just a few simple suggestions to get your imaginations running.  You will want to find creative embellishments to add to your life, to your days, that fit your personality and style.  They may not look like the ideas I have.  They will be uniquely YOU.  As you think of other ways to begin incorporating creativity into your daily tasks, please do comment here and share them with us all.

In the next post in the Living a More Creative Life series I will talk about bigger more life changing things that you can do to bring creativity not only into your own life but into the lives of others.

Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday News 

You have the opportunity this weekend to save some money while staying at home in your comfy chair!  Just think... Black Friday savings and no crowds.  You don't even have to get up early.  How fun is that?!

Creative Workshops is having a Black Friday sale.  If you purchase my Pencils 101 workshop, you will get the Pencils 201 workshop for 1/2 price!!  You could buy it for yourself and then again for a gift to a friend.  Then the two of you could work through it together.  That would be lots of fun.  You can inspire each other.

And then at The Graceful Artist, there are 3, count them..., THREE drawings for prizes over the Black Friday weekend.  Each prize is a stash of enticing art supplies.  Oh, the things you could create!  You can find out all about those prizes and how to get your name in the pot several times, by going to the Graceful Artist blog.

Have a very blessed day of thanks whether you are in the USA celebrating the tradition of Thanksgiving or if you are just a person filled with gratitude.

Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Living A More Creative Life - Part 1

I have been thinking a lot lately about this series of posts that I did almost 3 years ago.  I have decided to rerun them as many of you won't have read my posts 3 years ago when I first started blogging.  And also, simply because I think this may be something we all should read again from time to time.

Sometimes life comes along and just sits on your heart challenging you to even breath.  These are the times when creativity is elusive.  And yet, finding creative expression can be a life saver at just such moments.  Some of you are artist by vocation or by hobby. Others may just enjoy art. For the artist, hard times can lead to a creative block.  But for all of us, hard times are, well just that - hard!

Finding ways to incorporate creativity into your daily life can be like a breath of fresh air in a heavy time.  This is Part 1 of a series of posts on Living A More Creative Life.  It is my hope that it will help you begin to think in a new direction as you come up with ways to bring creativity into your day to day life.  If this series inspires you or you come up with new ideas, please come here and share your ideas with us all.  

Creativity comes from the right side of our brains.  If you've read anything about the right brain/left brain differences, you know that scientist have learned that the left sides of our brains are our logical sides.  (My husband says I don't have a left side.  But we won't get into that!)  And our right sides are where we find our creativity and our feelings.  Creativity is a mindset.  And most certainly it is about taking risks and having fun.  If its not fun then what is the point?   

 Creativity is more than painting or drawing or pasting or sculpting.  It is tapping into the feeling right side of your brain to find a solution to a problem.  Creativity is breaking out of accepted patterns and solutions in order to find a new way of doing something.

In Part 2 of Living A More Creative Life we will talk about some practical ways to move your life into a more creative direction. 

Wind and Honey Creations

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quiet Tones on a Journal Page

I have been nose to monitor for 3 weeks now as I have been learning web designing.  This is not something I aspired to do.  But the Ning system is failing me and the necessity to move our Graceful Artist site became evident.  And, of course, the need arose just when it necessitated immediate action.  So, with no time to spare, I've been learning a lot.  But I am very proud of how lovely it looks.  I hope you will pop over and take a look.  The instructors are working so hard to present a wonderful and enriching experience.  They deserve a great site to feature their work.  Click here to see.

This year I have focused more on working in an art journal than I have in the past.  I've learned some ways to work around the need for paint and lots of elaborate supplies and have enjoyed expanding the thought of what my pencils can do on those pages.

But this week I enjoyed just a simple approach.  I have a Strathmore toned sketch paper journal.  I've not done much in it as the paper is so thin that it seems less than ideal.  But the colors call to me!  We had to be out of town the other day and had a block of time with no particular plan and not many options for filling that time.  So, I took along my toned journal and my Derwent tinted charcoal.  I took nothing else so I wouldn't be tempted to take another approach.

This drawing of Kenya was the result.  The toned sketch paper is not the ideal texture for charcoal but it worked and I enjoyed the process.  Now, if they would make some vellum bristol board in these toned colors, I would really be a happy girl!

Wind and Honey Creations

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I have spent several hours tonight cleaning up and updating some old blog posts.  Then I remembered that the last time I did that, a bunch of old posts went out to the lovely people that follow through email.   Oops!!!   So, I went to FeedBurner and read and read and then read some upside down trying to see if these updates would go out again and if so, how to stop it.  I found nothing!  So, if you have received about 30 blog post emails from me this morning, I am SO SORRY!!  Not sure what else to do about it though.  It seems that I am not in charge here. 


Wind and Honey Creations

Monday, September 30, 2013

Winner! We Have a Winner!!!

I'm scurrying in here before the day is finished to announce the winner of the free Pencils 101 Workshop on Creative Workshops.  Oh!  I wanted to let you ALL be winners.  You had such lovely and kind comments.  Thank you.

But, alas, there must only be one winner.  I used a random number generator to determine the winner.  And the number chosen was lucky #10.   Which was Shawn.  So, Shawn, you can just pop over and let Gail know that you are a lucky girl and you are ready to have fun with pencils.  I'm sure I will enjoy working with you.

For all of you that are interested in getting started with your drawing skills, the Pencils 101 Workshop will open on October 18.  But you can sign up now and be ready to go when that fun day arrives.  Come on over and join Shawn and I in Pencils 101.

Wind and Honey Creations

Monday, September 23, 2013

News, Party Prizes, and Fun

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
My Rose in watercolor pencils and graphite

As many of you are aware, I have been teaching pencil art drawing classes online through a video format for several years now.  And I have had my own site, Creative Pencils, for 2 years.  I love working with students from all over the world and watching them delight as they discover they can draw.   I am predominately self taught.  I was once a beginner too.  I know how it feels to be unsure.  And I know how it feels to be overwhelmed with laughter when I realized my pencil scratches actually looked like something real.  I love sharing the steps with new students and helping them find that same delight.  Here are some drawings by current students that all started out as beginners in Pencils 101.

Sandra Petersen
Jaffra Masad

Sandra Simpson
For those of you that are new here and don't know me, I am Elizabeth Johnson of Wind and Honey Creations.  I have created art in many mediums but my true love is pencil art.  I have taught drawing since 1999 in local settings and online since 2011.  I teach drawing from a right-brained perspective.  If you've taken any drawing classes from a traditional approach, this will be very different for you.  And lots of fun!  You can see a little more about me and the workshops I've been teaching here at Creative Pencils.

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
My Cat Eyes in Tinted Charcoal

The exciting news I have today as I join this blog party is that I am moving my pencil art workshops to Creative Workshops.   This decision has come with much thought.  I have loved having my own site.   But life has brought some new adventures to my schedule (see this post on The Graceful Artist).  I want to give my very best to my drawing students.  Moving my workshops to Creative Workshops will enable me to continue to do so.  I am very grateful to Gail for welcoming me with open arms.

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
My Portrait of Toby
The first workshops to move will be the Pencils Series -- Pencils 101, 201, 301, and Colored Pencils 101.  These are my foundational lessons.  They start at the very beginning and move quickly into rich lessons that will deepen your pencil skills and broaden your creativity.  After the first of the year, the Cat and Dog graphite portrait workshops will move.  Then the other workshops will follow as the months unfold.  

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
My Tulips in Colored Pencils

Creative Workshops has just moved to a brand new site.  And we are having a party with prizes to celebrate. 

Here are a few great things about Creative Workshops:
  •   Available online 24/7 to fit your schedule. You can watch videos as often as you want, when you want. AND ipad access!
  •   You get instant access with your receipt to any Open class you purchase. No waiting for u send you an invitation, no more confusing membership to join.
  •   All video content is available from the first day a class opens so you can work at your own pace. Doesn't matter if you are a turtle or a rabbit!
  •   Once a class opens there is no take down date to worry about so no pressure to be done by a certain date. If a teacher must retire a class (very few do) we give you 6 months notice.

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
Pencils 301

To celebrate the opening of my Pencils Series on Creative Workshops, the prize I am giving is one enrollment in Pencils 101.  

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
Pencils 101
If you are interested in starting on a new adventure in pencil art, leave a comment with this post.  The party runs Sept. 23-Sept.29. I will use a random number generator to choose the lucky winner and announce the name Monday Sept 30. 

J Elizabeth Gyles Johnson
Pencils 201
After you have left your comment here, be sure and check out the other teacher's blogs for their exciting prizes.   At the bottom of this post you will find a list of all the party participating teachers, and the links to their blogs.   Each teacher is giving away one of their classes for free to a lucky commenter!  You can follow the party trail from blog to blog, leaving a comment on each blog you visit.   This will increase your chance of winning a free class from one of the talented teachers. Fun, huh?!

Sara Naumann
Cat Kerr  
Jodi Ohl
Martha Lever
Nancy Lefko
Cathy Bluteau
Mechelle Harrison
Liz Miller
Terri Heinz
Kerr Pelto
Lori Vliegen
Diana Frey
Marilyn Harris-Mills
Nellie Wortman
Gaye Medbury
Ann Butler
Dawn Meisch
Gail Schmidt

Wind and Honey Creations

Monday, September 2, 2013

Exciting News and Prizes!

I have such exciting news to share with you. I've been waiting for a while to get to share this and waiting for just the right moment. Finally the time has come. 

 I am administrating a brand new site with a brand new concept.  The Graceful Artist is a collection of workshops presented from the perspective that our faith is enriched by our creativity and our creativity is enriched by our faith.  This idea is really an expression of what I have experienced in my own life.  They have each played a role in urging the other forward as I have moved through the challenges of life.  It is my prayer that this event will also encourage, renew, and blossom creativity and spiritual strength in those who participate.   

The event has a very talented line up of instructors who are committed to presenting high quality workshops in a video format.  There is so much more to tell.  You can read more on the Graceful Artist blog here.  

The Graceful Artist workshops open February 1, 2014.  The instructors are working to create the very best workshops just for you.  They are so excited as they prepare for and anticipate your arrival in their virtual classrooms.  

I will be teaching both a colored pencil drawing workshop as well as a workshop in art journaling.  Those are yet to be posted on the site.  

We are having a give away this weekend.  There will be a drawing from all the names of those that sign up on the site, follow the blog, and like the facebook page.  There are 2 prizes!  Fun, huh?!  The prizes will be a set of 12 Prismacolor Premier colored pencils in a handy tin and a Moleskine hardback watercolor journal

When you register (sign up) on site, you will be added to the newsletter.  Then you will get all the latest news and always know how plans are developing.  

Come on an join us.  Its going to be fun and refreshing.

Wind and Honey Creations

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Oh, you're gonna be SO jealous! Hahaha!!! 

Its my birthday month and the Poet bought me some drawers for my pencils! I couldn't be happier. Forget the diamonds. Just give me some quaint old junk to hold my pencils and I'm a happy girl. These drawers used to be part of a cabinet for a dentist to store his tools in. I wonder if the rest of the cabinet was destroyed in a fire because there was some black discoloration on the side.  But that was no problem since I would be painting it anyway.

So, here's what they look like full of pencils and in their spot on the desk.  This takes up a little more space than the pencil holder I have been using.  But actually, it is much better as the pencils can lay safely flat.  This is better for protecting those fragile leads.  And I can see what colors are there without having to take them out by the handful at a time.

This picture shows what they looked like when we got them home.  The finish is kinda boring, but with lots of potential.  I have this great weakness for lots of drawers!  Notice that the top is missing.  I think this was a part of a much larger piece.  But, the missing top is easily remedied. 

 Look at the insides of the drawers!  Don't they just shout the need for pencils?!  

My painting hopes were to make the drawers look like they were painted white many years ago and had endured much wear bringing a roughness to the paint.   What do you think?  Did I get that look?

I know that chalk paint is so popular right now.  I love the look.  But I have tons and tons of paint and I am determined to use up what I have before I buy more.
I'm pretty sure these knobs are original.  Well, there are 2 like the bottom one shown here that look like replacements.  However, they also look old.  I think they were replaced many many years ago.

So, here they are all finished, loaded, and in their new home on my desk.  Happy Birthday to Me!

Wind and Honey Creations

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