Creativity, Art and Spirituality

In the continuing search for how to become more creative, I add several new suggestions.

#7.  You must have a connection with the arts.

It is my firm belief that a civilization is remembered through its arts.  Knowledge of the history of your art form will serve as an inspiration and allow you to carry on conversation about your artform in an intelligent and cultured manner.  You don’t have to spend the afternoon in a museum.  How about an afternoon at your favorite book store?  Recently, my friend, student and sister, Kathleen Krucoff, purchased a book of Mucha’s paintings. ThoughI have loved his work, which he produced during the fin-de-siecle, I never realized how much the colors spoke to me.  When Kathleen shared the book with me, I fell in love with his work and colors all over again.  Later, I pulled out my old 19th century art history text, and spent a snowy afternoon in front of the fireplace looking at the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and reintroduced myself to one of my favorite paintings, Flaming June, by Frederic Lord Leighton.  This Victorian era painting has held my attention for many years, and I have a small   reproduction in my study.  Suddenly I realized just how much I love the color orange.  There is power and majesty, mystery and magic in orange.

Suddenly so much color has come alive in my world.  I am stopping by windows in the mall while Christmas shopping, and looking at color.   I realize that whatever connection you have in the arts, and art comes in many diverse forms,  it will effect your life.  At this time of the year, here in the mountains of Colorado, the cold, crisp mornings  bless us with rosy Alpenglow on the mountains, and deep evenings grace us with magnificent blues.  As I drove home from our gallery in Fairplay,  Coyote Creek Studio Arts, it was about 7 degrees, with imminent snow, and crystal clear.  The world was a deep periwinkle, with yellow tiny twinkling lights of ranch houses in the distance.   Mannheim Steamroller’s “Silent Night” was playing through my  car speakers on my iPod. It was like a scene from a Meg Ryan movie.  But it was also the color of the blue Swarvoski crystals.  So a new beaded bracelet was born, and today I’m cutting out snowflakes,  (Ok, maybe  only one, since they are so complicated) and have made a new bracelet for a gift for my neighbor.   All of this has come from my friend, Katheen, casually showing me her new art book.  Thank you, my friend.

Along with this comes another suggestion, and the time is right for this one.

#8  You must have a spiritual practice or belief.

I am an archaeologist by schooling.  I have studied many cultures, but two in microscopic detail.  One is a neolithic pre-Judaic/Christian nature based culture.  The other is a collective ethnic grouping of stone age/contemporary cultures, again with an Earth based spirituality.  One thing I have learned from both cultures is they are art-based, and in one culture, the word “nung” means both people and pottery.  Their art is so inter-related with their spiritual practices that you virtually cannot tell where one stops and another begins. In that culture, they do a private ceremony before they start their artwork.  At that time, they ask for the Earth Mother’s guidance in their work, and thank her for her gifts and offer that their work is acceptable in Her sight.  I find this extremely comforting and calming.  As Julia Cameron states in her inspiring series, “The Artist’s Way,” some people are uncomfortable with the word “God”.  However, it can stand for Good, Orderly Design.  So at this time of the year, when we speak of many miracles,  stop and thank the Earth Mother for her goodness in supplying the materials with which you work.  Those materials, themselves, are a pretty fantastic miracle. I’m fairly certain that whatever you work with has been mined from the Earth Mother,  and she has kept these treasures safe in her bosom for eons,  offering them to you as a vehicle for you creativity.  Try to do your part, and make Mom proud.  Who knows, she may put a photo of it on her refrigerator door.  The world of nature and art is a banquet, and yet so many people insist on starving.

May the beauty and quietness of the snow delight your senses.