#creativebeing prompt of the week: Emerging Like a Butterfly


Butterfly – drawn, written (including with my nondominant hand, AND backwards), and at the bottom left, a caterpillar. 🙂


This post is my contribution to the #creativebeing prompt of the week. The prompt is as follows:

This week’s prompt is inspired by the start of my brand new eCourse, Follow the Butterflies, which is now underway.  The postings in the private Facebook group are already filling me with inspiration and it’s only Week one!   If you missed the start of this course, do not despair as I will run it again in May. This week’s #creativebeing prompt is:  ‘Emerging like a Butterfly’

Just do it

Every time I think about art, I know that deep in my soul I have the yearning to be artistic. I also know that at the surface, I face doubts, and comparison monsters (much thanks to Jani Franck for the brilliant name for them!), and… well, more doubts! I start thinking that I’m not good at art, and that I don’t have anything to create art about, and that even if I had a subject I could never do it justice.

Today I stumbled across Shaun Tan’s book The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook and read the following quote in the Introduction:

I’m often wary of using the term “inspiration” to introduce my work — it sounds too much like a sun shower from the heavens, absorbed by a passive individual enjoying an especially receptive moment. While that may be the case on rare occasions when an idea pops into my head for no discernible reason, the reality is usually far more prosaic. Staring at a blank piece of paper, I can’t think of anything original. I feel utterly uninspired an unreceptive. It’s the familiar malaise of “artist’s block” and in such circumstances there is only one thing to do: just start drawing.

I have heard the same thing said of writing. There are tons of quotes from writers who have spoken (or written) of the dubious merits of a blank page. Ultimately, the only way through writer’s block is to write. In fact, when I look at some of my favorite quotes from writers about writing, I can relate to them all because they all have a common theme, which I know very well: writing can come naturally, but it’s still difficult. See for yourself:

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it is done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”  – Neil Gaiman

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

“Writing is a delicious agony.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

It’s important to remind myself that even the most renowned writers struggle with writing. And I imagine that even the most renowned artists struggle with creating art. So then struggling to create is a natural part of the creation process, and I should welcome it as a sign that I am part of the club. Nike has the right idea, just do it!


For more of my favorite inspirational/writing quotes, check out this old post.

Grand Central Station Centennial

Last month, I started Jani Franck’s free Unearth Your Creative Nature e-course. I got a little stalled when I got to the week 2 exercise to go on a creative adventure, but I’m back on track now and will finish it soon. I got stalled because I found out that Grand Central would be celebrating its 100th Anniversary on February 1st, and since I live a short train ride north of New York City, this would be a perfect time and place for my adventure. On the way there, I wrote Morning Pages. So here’s what I wrote on the train, followed by some photos and info on what I did.

February 1st, 2013

Finally doing my week 2 creative adventure – going to the 100th Anniversary celebration for Grand Central Station. aka Grand Central Terminal. Like the movie The Terminal, I don’t plan on stepping foot out in the city. This is something I need to do for myself. To reassert my independence to myself. And for my art, to reaffirm that it is important, worthy, and worthwhile. Because it is, or should be. Today I will go into stores I’ve only passed by. I will eat at restaurants I’ve only smelled. I will sit on a wall, observing and drawing, and pretend to be an artist. I’m excited already at where the day will lead me. No schedule, no responsibilities. Just me and my camera, my sketch book, my art supplies, limited and limitless as they are. Free as the boat on the river. The sky is full of clouds, but it might as well be warm and sunny. The train surges ahead, hurtles toward my destination. A bird flies over the river, another reminder of the freedom I feel. A stop. Usually I get off the train here, but not today. No work today. Goodbye, coworkers. I’m sure I’m not missing out on much. The train pulls away. A thrill.
I’m still here. This is real. This is happening. This is further than I usually go by myself. I look at the sky again and realize there are patches of bright blue. The conductor finally comes. “Thank you.” He takes my ticket, punches two arrow-shaped holes in it, and gives it back for my return trip. He moves on with his routine, not knowing how un-ordinary today is, how special to me already. I love the train. The sounds, the acceleration and stops… the sound of the whistle is much more exciting than a car horn. Attention! Passing through! Taking people to the best city on earth. New York City. The bright blue patches are growing larger, fighting the clouds for prominence. Tunneling under bridges, alongside a running track. Taller buildings tell me we are here. It’s not yet Manhattan, but it’s the outskirts of The City. We pass Yankee Stadium. Old buildings, the paint peeling. We cross a bridge to the island that is Manhattan, and now my heart starts to race. Harlem, such a historical place, goes by, and I wonder if Langston Hughes ever took the train. We pass a high school football field, possibly the last sign of nature I will see for hours. Now the sky is only half full of clouds. Buildings so tall I can’t count the number of floors before they are gone. And then, at last, we enter the long, dark tunnel that ends at Grand Central Terminal. Here I come!


After I got off the train, I headed for the main area, where I was delighted to see the special numbering in the windows:


I walked around that floor for a while. My favorite store was this cute little place with kid stuff like games, books, and toys. The store is called Kidding Around. I was really tempted to buy this Olivia lunch box, and I kinda wish I had gone back for it:


I also saw a book called Do You Doodle? that reminded me of the e-course, because one of the exercises is to doodle every day.


And I loved these little unicorns, one with a rider and one without.


I bought Wreck This Journal, which I’ve been thinking of buying on Amazon for the past month. Seeing it in the store was like a sign that I need to get it. I got a tiny notepad of the Eiffel Tower, because I have been to Paris and I want to go back some day. I got a button-making kit, which I plan to have fun with. And I got Mark Silly Putty, because I figured he would love it. (Turns out I was right.)

Then I was a little hungry, so I went downstairs to get a yummy smoothie at the Dishes kiosk. I went for Agua Fresca, which is strawberries, pineapple, and orange juice. I didn’t get a photo, but trust me, it was delicious. I did take a photo of an old man falling asleep on a bench, which was pretty funny.


I actually stayed in line for Magnolia Bakery because I had heard that their cupcakes are amazing. I bought two cupcakes and a chocolate chip brownie.


I wandered around a bit more, and then I went outside to look for a real NYC hot, soft pretzel. Sadly, there were no vendors nearby, perhaps because it’s winter. I walked halfway around the outside block, and along my way I went to Starbucks and got my favorite drink, a venti peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream. I looked at the sky and didn’t see a single cloud anymore. It had turned into a perfect day.

I went back inside went to Zaro’s Bakery, because I can’t go to Grand Central without stopping there. I got myself an authentic NYC black and white cookie, and I got my husband Mark a cannoli, which he loves. I found an empty wall across the hall and sat to cool down (I was hot from so much walking) and to enjoy my hot chocolate. (Photo below is my view of Zaro’s from where I sat.)


About ten minutes later, I got up and walked around some more, and found myself at Posman Books. I loved seeing Julia Cameron books, because she is the person who first taught about Morning Pages in her book The Artist’s Way.


I fell in love with a lockable mermaid diary, so of course I bought it. And I bought another book I’ve been eye-ing on Amazon lately, Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls. And a little Degas notebook, because I love his ballerina paintings. And a journal that says “Write” because, well duh, I love to write. And it has typewriters on it, which rocks.

Then it was time to get creative. I found myself a nice quiet little corner, sat down, and… ate my brownie. I was hungry. LOL. Then I did my best to draw what I saw… minus the people. I’m not very experienced with sketching, but I had fun anyway. Here’s a photo showing part of my view, followed by my sketch.



After the sketch, I did my best to copy the Centennial logo with colored pencil, then used colored pens to add confetti.


When I was done, it was time to head for the train home. I had purchased an off-peak priced ticket (not during rush hour), so I had twenty minutes to get the next train home, or I would have to either pay extra or wait a few hours to get another off-peak train. On the way, I saw the special Lego version of Grand Central, which was awesome because I forgot about it and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.


Then I went and got on the train and took photos of some of my purchases.


Button-making kit, Silly Putty


Eiffel tower notebook, Degas notebook


Wreck This Journal, Doodle Diary


Write journal, mermaid diary

Then I started to work on the Doodle Diary by folding creases into the spine and tearing out the title pages and coloring the second page. I had a fun time, even though I was only there for about 3 1/2 hours. It was plenty of time for me, and I will never see Grand Central Station quite the same way again. It will always remind me of this day.

EVJ collage

I made this collage for a dear friend in February 2011, and so much has happened since then that it feels like it’s been much longer. There is a lot of personal meaning to this, which I’m not going to explain.

I started with blue Sharpie to color in the background. Then I added pictures and words, and a few jewels. I finished by adding a layer of glitter glue to the whole thing.

I meant to post this last year, but it got lost in the bottom of my e-mailbox and I finally got back to it. So much love went into this collage, and it was such a different experience for me to make something while thinking of someone else. I think that’s why I found it so easy to give this away, but usually the thought of giving away my art is impossible — what I create is so much ME that it’s like giving away a piece of myself. Maybe the secret to selling art that I create is to think about the person who will one day own the piece…

This entry was posted on May 1, 2012, in art.

Spring, chalk pastels

I bought some new art supplies Saturday night at my favorite craft store, A.C. Moore. There were lots of great sale and clearance prices, like a set of 12 chalk pastels (2 1/2 inches long) for just $2, and extra fine point Sharpies for 88¢ each. I also bought a mixed-media art journal, and used the chalk pastels to draw the picture above in the journal. Welcome to Spring!

This entry was posted on April 30, 2012, in art.