Weekend Inspiration–Turning Negative Into Positive

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“I don’t mind what the critics say.  The worst thing is to be ignored.”  Les Dawson (from Brainyquote)

Rare is the artist, writer, photographer, musician who doesn’t at some time receive negative criticism.  After getting past wishing for a VooDoo doll of the critic to stick pins into, try some of these very good suggestions from others who have been there.  Turning the negative into a positive can go a long way to not only restoring confidence but to neutralizing any painful feelings from the encounter.  There is no question that some people love to criticize for a multitude of reasons.  Reverse that negativity as fast as possible and turn it into a fresh green bud of new growth and freedom.  Ultimately, the opposite of the confines of criticism is the freedom of new birth.

Here are some great articles for turning the negative into the positive.

The Artists Network:

http://www.artistsnetwork.com/articles/inspiration-creativity/how-to-deal-with-criticism

The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/feb/09/reasons-tips-criticism-arts

ArtsBistro:

http://artbistro.monster.com/benefits/articles/9829-how-to-deal-with-negative-criticism

Colorful Fridays–Blow Out Blue

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If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue.”  Paul Gauguin (from Sensational Color)

Phthalo Blue is anything but a soft, peaceful calming blue.  Phthalo Blue will knock the socks off of any mix it comes in contact with.  Phthalo Blue is not for the feeble hearted.  Generally blues are thought to be the color of quietness for soothing the soul.  Or blues can also refer to sadness or depression as in “a case of the blues.”  Whoever coined that phrase clearly had never met the Phthalos.  The Phthalos are anything but soothing or depressing.

Phthalo Blue comes either with red undertones for a bluer blue or green undertones for a strong green.  Winsor Newton first introduced a Phthalo Blue in 1938 known as Winsor Blue to replace “the capricious less reliable Prussian Blue.”  Winsor Newton says Winsor Blue has good tinting properties but cautions to take care when using.  Winsor Blue and Phthalo Blue can quickly “overpower.”  Artist David Rourke says the Phthalo’s are “beautiful, lightfast and high in chroma.”  But he doesn’t use them because “they are too bloody strong.”  Artist Stapleton Kearns finds Phthalo’s “strength a drawback,” but says it also can be used to make “great greens.”

 Sensational Color says, “not all blues are serene and sedate.  Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic—an engaging color that expresses exhilaration.”  Phthalo Blue is the in -your -face blue.  If you must make a statement but just can’t go red, Phthalo Blue can do the trick.  Phthalo Blue will muscle its way in and take over, squeezing out all others.  Most blues drift in wafting around in a whisper sliding carefully over the furniture.  Phthalo Blue charges in knocking down everything in the path.  Sometimes you just want to make a blow-out production that won’t be soon forgotten.  That’s the time to call in the Phthalo Blue.  But look out.  He may take over.

Artists in Healthcare–Bloggers Who Know

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of daily life.”  Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s statement above pops up frequently.  It is a much-quoted line with a depth of wisdom that touches on many areas.  As related to the Arts in Healthcare, the line can literally mean the difference between sickness and health.  No.  I am not saying the arts can replace medicine but they can come in and wash off the dust leaving the pathway clear for healing.  Stress complicates the healing process.  It is a well- documented fact.  Art can relieve stress.  As the arts continue to grow in healthcare where can a person go for more information.  Aside from the big organizations, there are several blogs dishing out the skivvy.

Marti Hand of Creativity in Healthcare is both a nurse and an artist.  On her blog she states, “This blog serves as a platform for my passionate interest in integrating creativity and the creative process (the arts) into healthcare, particularly in the care of patients/clients.”  Hand talks about how the “science and art” of medicine has left off the art part.  Her goal is to bridge that gap by bringing art more into the healthcare setting.  Creativity in Healthcare features articles and important links for those interested in what is happening with creativity in healthcare.

Much has been said about the benefits of the arts with the aging yet few projects are focusing in geriatrics.  Dancing Hands is one blog that directly seeks to bring the arts to seniors.  According to the blog, Laurie Lunsford is an “Interactive Arts Specialist who promotes well-being and community through creative interaction in nursing care facilities.”   She particularly works with Alzheimer’s care.  Lunsford uses sensory stimulation through the arts by spontaneity and self expression and she is passionate about her work.  Read more at the Dancing Hands blog for up to date information on the growing area of Artists in Healthcare for the aging.

 Createquity is a “virtual think tank” and gathering of individuals covering all the basics of Arts in Healthcare.  The stated vision from the blog says Createquity “is a hub for next-generation ideas on the role of the arts in a creative society.”  While they cover more than just the arts in healthcare, quite a bit of the blog is devoted to bringing more arts and creativity into today’s healthcare.  Check them out for a wealth of resources.

The arts are growing in healthcare.  As usual, bloggers are helping to map the way.  These are just a small sample of the bloggers writing on this ever-increasing arts endeavor.  Follow the maps of these bloggers and check out what’s happening as the Arts in Healthcare gradually become an accepted and important part of “washing the dust off our souls” in the healthcare setting.  The field is in the budding phase and is about to bloom wide open.  The bloggers are on top of it.

Sunday Slideshow–Water Reflections

Water Reflections

As the winter moves on it is a wonder to see the bare branches reflecting in the water.  Spring will soon be here and these leafless winter trees will be forgotten as fresh new green takes over.  But for now they peacefully hang over the water calmly reflecting in the surface and on the ice.

Vexing Vexations

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“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.”  Antonio Banderas (from Brainyquote)

All artists experience frustration at some time or other.  It is a fact of life.  How one chooses to handle the frustration can make a huge difference.  Or not.  Fantasizing about destruction of another’s artwork may have occurred in the thought processes of some artists at one time or other.  Most people will grumble a bit.  Others will, perhaps, voice a few well-chosen descriptive words.  Some may even take to a blog to spout some derogatory witticisms.  Few will act out of violence toward another artist.

One artist recently vented his frustrations by very publically destroying the one million dollar work of another artist, (see note below).  His frustration was supposedly due to the gallery in question’s statement of intent to support local artists.  The destroyed artwork was by an artist who was not local. While the frustration is understandable, what purpose does violence toward another artist serve?  Or is this a case of civil disobedience?

In Max Ehrman’s famous Desiderata is the quote, “Avoid loud and aggressive people as they are vexatious to the spirit.”  While the frustration is understandable the reaction is quite vexing.  Where does smashing artwork get anybody beyond the “15 minutes of fame” spotlight?  It did call attention to the galleries statement.  That could result in possibly a few more pieces by somebody local.  But long-term change seems doubtful from this bit of destructive violence.

Insight from the blog, Johan Turdenmeier’s Miscellany pinpoints the innate problem with this behavior.  “I wonder when if ever the vexatious person will notice they are the cause of other’s retreat.  If they have any idea that they’re behavior is literally sucking the spirit out of their companions.”  Violence does suck the spirit out of those around it.  The art- smashing artist is probably wondering where his friends are about now.

Had this artist taken the time to examine his frustration a bit he might have come up with a less vexing response.  Organizing a protest would have been a good start.  His friends may have joined him for that.  The publicity would undoubtedly have been more favorable, not to mention the optics.  When expressing vexations it is always better to avoid vexing potential supporters.  Vexing the target problem would have garnered significantly less vexation and possibly led to future reductions in vexatious-ness.  We could all get behind that.

(This account is purposely not reporting the artist’s name or the gallery in order to not assist in perpetuating more of this behavior.   We observe the 15 minutes of fame rule whenever possible. We hope the smasher’s 15 minutes are now over.)

 

If you would like to read more there are accounts at these links:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/fla-artist-smashes-vase-worth-1-million-miami-museum-article-1.1617638

 http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/fla-artist-smashes-1m-vase-miami-museum-22554551

 

More from Johan Turdenmeier can be found at the blog:

http://turdenmeier.wordpress.com/

Arts in Healthcare–Doodling for the Health of It

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“Drawing is a frame of mind, a loving embrace if you will.” Susan Avishal (from The Painter’s Keys)

How often do students get in trouble for doodling during class?  Doodling, new research is showing, may not be such a bad thing at all.  In fact doodling may be good for your health.  While supposedly zoning out with some prodigious doodling, the brain is actually busy at work solving some major problems.  Instead of treating doodlers as slackers, perhaps it would be better to treat them as the smarter students because they just may be.

Psychology Today has a regular feature on Arts and Health by art therapist Cathy Malchiodi.  In an article about the benefits of doodling, Malchiodi cites recent research on doodling and memory retention.  It seems that the act of doodling while performing a specific function helps retain the memory of the function.  Malchiodi also discusses in the same article, the current “Zentangle” craze as another example of the health benefits of doodling.  “Zentangle” is more structured than simple doodling and creates a meditative concentration in the process that is both soothing and calming for the heart.

Maybe all those people who scold doodlers are the same analytical types who don’t understand daydreaming either.  Now we know.  Daydreaming and doodling are techniques of the right -brained creative types allowing the brain to work out and solve complex problems.  As both activities are meditative in nature, these creative folks are soothing and relaxing the heart at the same time.  So go ahead, doodle and daydream to your heart’s content.  You just may be about to solve a great human dilemma or come up with the next greatest invention.  You could be the inventor of the soon-to-be latest hot must-have item.  Grab a pen and start doodling.  The world is waiting for your great creation!  At the very least, you’ll be healthier.

The day dreaming post is Meandering Toward Insight

Mossy, Knife Sharpening Green

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“All theory, Dear Friend, is gray.  But the Golden Tree of Life springs ever green.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (from Brainyquote.com)

Landscape painters, ceramists, make-up artists, soap makers and more love this mossy green pigment.  Chromium Green has been available for two centuries and has recently been discovered in the paintings of J. M. W. Turner dating to around 1812.  Few warnings accompany this lovely green paint reputed to cause only some minor skin irritation in a few people.  Those who eat it could have mild stomach upset so it is probably best not to ingest it.  Otherwise Chromium Green has a wealth of uses.Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 10.14.24 AM

Brittanica reports Chromium Green as having been discovered by French chemist Nicolas-Louis Vauquelin in 1797.    The name derives from its multi-colored compounds.  Merriam-Webster says “Chromium Green is a moderate yellow green that is greener and deeper than the average moss green, yellower and duller than the average pea green or apple green.“ “This natural green provides landscape artists rest in a summer painting saturated with vibrant greens,“ according to Daniel Smith.com. Natural Pigments.com has the scoop on the Turner discovery and is also a great source for purchasing the pigment.

While you are obtaining the pigment for mixing paint, you can also grab a bar of Chromium Green for sharpening your knives and sculpting tools.  A bit of Chromium Green in your roofing tiles will add some UV protection.  If you happen to be considering building a spaceship, Chromium Green can be mixed with other metals for “super high performing aerospace products.”  Or just add it to your camouflage for high infrared reflectance, whatever that might be.Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 10.32.24 PM

For many artists, Chromium Green is a must have for the paint box.  Mossy greens add a wonderful richness in any painting.  Chromium Green is beautiful in ceramics, as well.  Other non-artist fans of Chromium Green may be found on the rooftops fitting the tiles.  Or that spaceship your neighbor is building could feature some bits of Chromium Green in the materials but I wouldn’t get too close.  He may be guarding his spaceship in his infrared reflectant camouflage with the knives he recently sharpened on the leftover Chromium Green.  It’s probably best to stick with the people who only use Chromium Green in artist materials.  Steer clear of the ones with the spaceships and the knives.

The Elusive Muse

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“Often the muse will not respond to direct and logical requests.  She must be lured in with the playful and the gentle.”  Jill Badonsky (from The Painter’s Keys)

One of the most painful issues for anyone in the arts is the feeling that the muse has gone.  All inspiration has dried up.  The art is continuing but with a lack of passion.  Only the motions are taking place.  Creativity is proceeding on automatic pilot.  This is the moment when many artists ponder succumbing to panic.  Will art remain forever in a state of mechanical practice?  Will those exhilarating feelings of profound inspiration ever return?  Can the muse be lured back?

Point one is not to panic.  Panic will only compound everything.  Waiting for Fairies.com says, “My muse is a fickle creature.  She dresses in moonlight and shadows and lives quietly in a forest glade, far from the reach of mortal thought.”  Waiting for Fairies suggests that on occasion the muse “can be lured out with the promise of chocolate, or a new toy to play with.”  Chocolate relieves many problems, including panic.   Muses probably crave chocolate as much as the rest of us.  Definitely, worth a try if all else fails.

The author of SpillingInk.com suggests those moments of heady oneness with the muse are the rarity and states that  for her, writing is “as much business as it is art.”  “None of that luring the muse nonsense,” will work.  Art as business does not stop and start on the whims of a fickle muse.  Art must carry on with or without the muse.  When muse is present, rejoice and enjoy the moment.  The rest of the time, continue making art.  The show must go on, with or without the muse.

When feeling the lack of the elusive muse, there are two possible options to be tried.  First, go for bribery.  Chocolate is an appealing allurement.  It is a well-known fact that much fickleness is cured with chocolate.  However if the muse is particularly stubborn, and you aren’t in the mood for bribery, forget the muse.  Drive the train without her.  Like Spring, she’ll come back when she’s ready.  In the meantime, eat the chocolate yourself.  If nothing else, you’ll feel better.

Meandering Toward Insight

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“We must jump into the unknown to gain new insight.”   Nicoletta Baumeister  (from The Painter’s Keys)

Artists are frequently accused of being flighty, flakey or daydreamers by analytical reasoning types.  The accusation is not intended to be flattering.  The artistic daydreamer is completely misunderstood by the analytical reasoner.  New research is pointing out the misconception in this thinking and the fact that the daydreamer may actually be in the process of coming to a place of new insight.  According to this latest research, those “Aha” moments of insight are actually the direct result of allowing the brain to wander off into unstructured daydreaming.

The Wall Street Journal featured an article on the latest neuroscience studies into the precise mechanism of how the brain arrives at the creative “Aha” moment that results in new and often complex insight.  The article’s author, Robert Lee Hotz, states the research has shown, “People who solve problems through insight generate different patterns of brain waves than those who solve problems analytically.”  The researchers, Hotz points out, found the brain of the daydreamers to be actively involved in complex problem solving while appearing to be lost in wandering thought.  The brains of the daydreamers have actually solved the problem about eight seconds before the “aha” moment arrives in conscious thought.

There you have it!  Daydreaming is a good thing so go ahead and indulge yourself.  Ruminate with the butterflies.  Relax in a sunny meadow and mediate on the clouds drifting by.  Sit by a stream and tune in to the water bubbling over rocks. Wandering off into the unknown thought world may actually be the process of jumping into new insight.   According to the Journal article, Post-its, ice cream cones and Velcro were all the result of minds allowed to meander into the unknown abyss of daydreams. Those mental meanderings could possibly be on the road to an epiphany.  You never know what insight might be developing.  It’s doubtful any of the so-called analytical thinkers would ever have the insight to come up with Velcro.