a look behind the scenes at creative lenna

Lenna (that's me) in black, above at the Vibrance Festival, Sarasota, FL

A look behind the scenes at creative lenna via a virtual blog tour. I'm not sure when this 'blog tour' got started on the web, but I learned of it from my friend Joanna Urbani ( fiddlesnips ). How absolutely lovely that she wanted to nominate me for inspiring her!  :-D

She also asked if I'd like to participate by answering four questions about how & why I create.

  1. What am I working on? 
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?
  4. How does your writing/creating process work?

What am I working on?

Truthfully, the biggest thing I am working on now is balance. I'm trying to balance everything I do already with everything I'd like to do creatively, without burning myself out. 

I'm walking through a forest of delectable art choices that I would like to experience and haven't quite found a way to savor all I desire! Sometimes too many options, wishes or goals can stop you in your tracks. I'm learning to let go of what I can't do and at the same time in certain circumstances, I try to push myself to do a little more, continuing to dip my toes in art wise by following what really inspires me, albeit at a much slower pace than before. Just recently after being wowed by Gunnel Svensson's solar printing, I tried Sun printing!

Read more about my sun printing HERE.

❤ ❤ ❤

Another thing I'm working on is the Mail art I create for a flexible monthly exchange with Joanna Urbani and  Julie Welsh (Jewels). Our small private group is called, We ❤ Mail Art. The 3 of us met in an online workshop 4 years ago and we gravitated towards each other's art. We still do! One of the best things about this exchange is I know both these women well enough through lots of emails and sharing art that I feel comfortable enough to experiment as much as I like in this group. I also love and respect their art so it makes me "rise to the occasion". Our latest mail art through this exchange was on the theme of "Tickled Pink". I started by painting two feathers pink and creating envelopes from pink papers. There are tickled pink cards too that I'll be revealing them in a separate post, when all the mail art is received.

View more mail art from our previous exchanges . . . Click on this link to a collection of mail art. Mail art is something I'm always dipping into!

❤ ❤ ❤

Playing creatively in an art journal is another creative process I'm working on. My devotion to it ebbs and flows . . .  but I do think my success is a matter of habit. Since I've finished my "positive affirmation" journal last month I have yet to start a new one. My affirmation journal was a 2 year project with time off for moving. I do have a larger sized journal selected to work in next and I feel myself on the brink of diving into it. How exciting! Here is one of my favorite spreads from my most recent art journal... 

It was a list of positive affirmations that Joanna shared with me that got me working on that theme. All of the blog posts relating to this art journal can be found here (scroll past this post, it's included!). To view photos of this art journal and others, check out my art journal collection on Flickr. And watch this space for lots of splashing when I dive into my new journal!!

❤ ❤ ❤

The activity that harnesses a major portion of my creative energy these days and what you could say I work on the most is blipfoto -my daily photo journal. I joined in December, 2010 after my friend Frieda Oxenham in Scotland joined and told me about the site. When using the blipfoto journal you upload just ONE photo per day that illustrates it best. You can upload everyday -or not every day- but only one photo per calendar day. 

There is a vibrant community on blip of encouraging, talented professional and non-professional photographers, artists, hobbyists -people who want to document their life via photos. Many of them like me, want to become better photographers and use blip as a creative outlet. I am in the habit of uploading a photo every day, recording my life in daily bits of things I savor and appreciate. I visit other journals, learning from talented and creative people. I am inspired and can have a conversation with other blipfoto members about what we are sharing. I truly enjoy this experience. Blipfoto is an International website and so I have many blip friends in Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Portugal, the Netherlands and the USA! Since December 4, 2010, I have uploaded 1059 blipfoto journal entries. My blip journal is here: creative lenna. You can use the calendar there to move around to various entries over the past 4 years. If you are interested in photography, I would highly recommend checking out Polaroid blipfoto. It's free to join! 

The journal entry below was one of my most highest rated entries as far as visits, number of comments, stars and hearts rated. I was so proud it made it into the Spotlight. I took the photo and edited it in response to a photo challenge called 'Mono Monday'. Rendering photos in monotones and looking for subjects that would work in mono was something I would not have attempted to do before I was part of the blip community.

You can read more about this photograph here on my blip journal.

❤ ❤ ❤

I'm also working on my body, mind and spirit by dancing in Nia class and also Conscious Movement. Dance is another part of my creative spirit that has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. I am very grateful to have found a dance/movement community here in Sarasota, Florida.

Conscious Movement Demo at the Vibrance Festival

Nia on the Beach with Kathy Oravec: 

For a video sharing a Nia class on the beach click here or watch below. Nia is an International program and you can most likely find a class nearby!

❤ ❤ ❤

Okay! That's what I have been working on. 

Question #2: 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult question that I will attempt to answer. A comment that I often receive from my students, friends and family is that my art is very loose and free.

When I create I usually have a loose plan. When I start to work I usually just dive in and GO! I allow things to happen and let my creating take me where it tells me to. You might say my art is very organic. I follow the words of my dance teacher Truda Kaschmann, "What if you did this? Show me something different!!" So perhaps my art is different because of its free quality. When I asked my husband Steven if he had any ideas about this question, he thought about it and then remarked that he saw me as always striving for something new and original. I think that is true. What do you see about my art that is different? I'd be curious to know!! 

Question #3:

Why do I write/create what I do?

This is the easiest question :) I create because I want to, I need to, and I've always done creative things. I was raised dancing, painting, writing poetry, sewing, cooking, beading, playing imaginatively, doodling, acting, embroidering, drawing . . .  creativity was honored and encouraged in my family. I had some talent artistically and practice made me confident. Making art or doing anything where I use my creative brain makes me feel good, that's why I do it!!  

Question #4:

How does your writing/creating process work?

I definitely have noticed a pattern in how I do all my creative work, whether it is hands on artwork or creative photography. I might have a loose idea of what I want to do but never any mapped out plans. I most often have a germ of an idea and to start creating I will gather many items, more than I need, that I might possibly use in my project as a way of inspiration. If I am working on a photo project like the door handles above, I will take more photos than absolutely needed to try variations of light, camera settings or shooting angles. Then, when I get the photos out of my camera I might process a few of them in multiple ways as well. For that mono door photo I took at least a dozen photos and did 6 different variations of the photo you see with various filters. For me, I think pulling out all the possibilities starts my wheels turning and my creative juices flowing. Even still, I will often find while working that an idea is sparked and I will go find additional items to create with! 

❤ ❤ ❤

Phew! This is most likely the longest blog post I've ever written. Thanks for reading it, if you are still here with me. I was very honored that Jo nominated me and asked me to do this. I thought the questions posed were meaningful, I wanted to answer them and I had the time to do so! The last part of this interview/blog tour is to name three people that inspire you. Out of the three artists I chose, only one of them is able to answer the questions, but I still want to mention the other two. You can still go and visit their blogs.

When thinking of artists who inspire me, Frieda Oxenham was my first thought. We have been online friends and shared art via exchanges for about 10 years now. She is "an award winning textile and mixed media artist whose work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and has won many prizes." She's not kidding! Last week I believe she won 3 awards for 2 of her art quilts. Frieda is one of the hardest working, most prolific, most inspiring artists I know. She creates wonderful mixed media pieces as well as prize-winning art quilts. I follow her on her blog, as well as on blipfoto and on Instagram too! Even though she's not able to do the interview, I highly recommend you visit her!! 

Another artist friend who truly inspires me is Sharon Borsavage. Sharon is an amazing jewelry artist who is also a very talented mixed media artist working with collage and altered books. Sharon and I exchanged old books that we altered collaboratively over the course of 2 years, you can find photos of our collaborative work here. Sharon's mixed media work is  here on her blog, and her beautifully creative jewelry is on her Etsy site. I own a number of pieces of hers because they are so unusual and beautiful . . . oxidized metals, silk with wrapped wire, beautiful stones & beads! Her mixed media work calms me and also inspires me to get out my materials! Sharon regretfully could not answer the interview questions but I do think you will enjoy her sites.

Lastly I recognize Denise Morrison -but definitely not least! I met Denise when we both lived in Connecticut and she owned a scrapbooking/art store called Kookalicious : ) I used to teach mixed media art classes for her and Denise's style always impressed me. Very artistic, free, truthful and honest, and this always comes through in her art. We have both moved out of CT now but I still follow Denise via her blog and Flickr photos. She is a Design Team member for One Little Word and Cocoa Daisy. Next Monday, June 2nd Denise will take part in the blog tour and answer the same questions I did about what, how & why she creates. Please check back on  her blog that day to learn more about her. 

Also, my friend Jewels who I exchange mail art with in the We ❤ Mail Art group was also asked by Joanna to join the blog hop. Her interview is here!!

Thanks so much for joining me!