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ARTELLAGRAM, January 20, 2006
January 20, 2007
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A New Year's Evolution

Happy New Year! I hope that your 2007 is off to a smashing start, and that you're on your way to a terrific year of dreams coming true! I'm writing from Hawaii, where I moved just before Christmas. For those of you who are dealing with snow and ice…I'm sending you some warm island breezes your way!

I'm in the middle of a New Year's Evolution. It feels sort of strange to write that, but I must confess, it's true. For me, it has to do with tapping into a new vision for painting that I've never experienced, and it's brought me a huge amount of joy.

As I've tried to articulate for myself exactly what brought on this New Year's Evolution, I realized that even though circumstances are of course specific to me personally, they all are universal enough to be adapted to anyone, any place, any time. And so, I offer you…

Marney's Top 9 Ways to Encourage a New Year's Evolution in Your Creativity
  1. Get yourself in a new space. I admit that my change of space, from New York to Hawaii, is dramatic. But say you want to encourage more creative writing in yourself -- why not try writing in a café, rather than at home? Or write on the porch instead of the computer?

  2. Make it a ritual. Every time I've painted, I've approached it as a sacred event. You can create any ritual you want for yourself. Light a candle for yourself before you start, or say a prayer, or do a little twirl. Just do something to make it special -- that this creative time is not-just-any-other-old-time.

  3. Treat yourself. I bought nice canvases and lots of paints to play with, so I didn't feel inhibited, and I know that has contributed to the Evolution. Your creative release is worth it, so treat yourself to what you need to light your fire!

  4. Induce Repetition. I've been painting every night. While realistically, that is probably not going to be possible for me to keep up, I know that repetition doesn't have to be daily. It can be weekly (i.e., Saturday morning is my day to paint). This sends a message to my subconscious that, "Hey, THIS is important!"

  5. Get time alone and quiet. My Evolutionary times have happened with nobody else around, without the TV, and often without music, which is unusual for me. But since it's different, it's made something different happen!

  6. Have someone to share it with. I've had a few friends with whom I've been sharing photos of my paintings, and it's felt great to get some feedback. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in this. So find a supportive audience for your Evolution. Tell them that you're having a creative evolution and you need their support. Join the Artellavision community and start posting your art there -- you'll get great support from that group!

  7. Throw out rules. I am not a trained artist, and I have been grateful for those who have said that it's ok not to "know how" to paint. Jill Badonsky is one of my great teachers in this area, and I'm forever grateful, but really doing it is different than knowing it. Get a non-rules attitude in your body, in your blood, by doing it…that's great fuel for an Evolution.

  8. Create about things you love. I've been painting things I love and adore and am grateful for. If you can fill your art and writing with things that fill your heart, it can't help but make you happy.

  9. Replace a negative with a positive. Here, the wind gets pretty crazy (and really noisy!) at night. Instead of letting it distract me when I'm painting, I decided that it was the Hawaiin Goddess Pele, coming to inspire me. So if you have a negative that is inhibiting your evolution, try to transform it to something magical that actually supports it!
So that's it…I'll be sharing my paintings in some unique forms here in Artella soon…stay tuned!

Want another inspiring list of 9 Ways? Come to the teleclass I'm presenting with Jill Badonsky next Thursday night, The Dreamboard Workshop, where we'll share The 9 Secrets to Insure That Your Dreamboard WILL work.

Shortly after I arrived in Hawaii, I created this piece of digital art for the "Map of the Day" section in The Artella Day Muse, our innovative feature which features a new and creative map every day. (Click the image to see it in full size). I wanted to depict my feeling of happiness on the Island by taking a scan of a map of the Island, and then superimposing an image of myself onto the map, and then meshing the layers so they looked "as one".

If you'd like to "digitally mesh yourself" with a place, or a thing, here are the steps to do it in Photoshop. (Note: While these commands are for Photoshop, they are similar to the commands used in Photoshop Elements and other imaging programs that have layering capacity.)
  1. You need two images -- an image of yourself, and a background image. Open both images in Photoshop.
  2. Use the rectangle selection tool to select the area of your photo that you want to copy onto the background image. You can select the whole area, or use the magnetic lasso tool to just select around your face, for example. When the area is selected, press CTRL + C.
  3. Select the background image to make it the active image, and then click Layer -> New -> Layer, and then click OK. This creates a new layer on the background. Press CTRL + V to paste your photo onto the background.
  4. At this point, you can adjust the placement of your photo by moving it; you can adjust the size or rotation by using Edit -> Transform, or you can delete parts you don't want with the eraser tool.
  5. To "blend" the two layers, go to the layers palette (if it isn't showing, click Windows -> Layers) and select Layer 1. Move the slide bar for Opacity to the left, until you have the effect that you want. That will make your photo more transparent, so the background image shows through.
  6. When you are finished, to reduce file size before saving, you can click Layer -> Flatten Image to merge all layers. However, be sure to save a version with the layers (either as a photoshop document, or a .tiff document) in case you want to work with the layers intact later. Note: If you save it as a JPEG, the layers will disappear.
You can add as many layers as you want, and adjust them however you like…so have fun!

The Art Tip above shared step-by-step instructions for working with layers. Just for fun, here are some step-by-steps for writing a short story in layers:
  1. Write the narrative: the actual storyline, with a beginning, middle and end.
  2. Develop back stories and real-life details for the main characters, to make them more interesting and more "real".
  3. Add elements of symbolism and allegory -- things that may not be noticed by every reader, but will be picked up by more careful, clever, attuned readers.
  4. Add bits of foreshadowing, suspense, some plot surprises that you hadn't originally planned -- things that make the reader wonder and guess. A story doesn't have to be a mystery to keep the reader riveted, and then caught by surprise.
  5. Go back through the entire piece and be more descriptive to make the text sing (i.e., It's not a red door, it's a cabernet-colored door).
  6. Now that you've added all these layers, you can "reduce file size" by taking out the extraneous parts. Perhaps you added a sub-plot that didn't go anywhere, or a long description paragraph that isn't necessary. Even if you have a paragraph you love, it may not belong in this story. You may be able to recycle it, and use it elsewhere.

  1. Want 9 Ways to Make Your Dreams Come True in 2007? Next Thursday, January 25, Jill Badonsky, author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard), and I are presenting the teleclass, The Dreamboard Workshop, and there are still a few places left -- if you're ready to bring in the new year with some extra oomph, and a whole new outlook about the power of your attraction power. The class is an encore of last year's hit workshop on dreamboards, brought back to bring the new year off to a powerful start.

    While a lot of people are talking about "dreamboards" and "visionboards" right now because of the movie "The Secret" (which explains the law of attraction), our class will give you the steps that "The Secret" leaves out, including the 9 Ways to Insure That Your Dreamboard Will Work. A Dreamboard is a lot more than just a collage of things you want…it's a ritual and a sacred process. We'll tell you how to do it, and how to make it work! To sign up for the workshop (pssstt…Members get s special discount!), go to this page, where you'll also see two inspiring examples of dreamboards by participants who have taken the class before. Please note that this class is filling up very quickly and space is limited.

  2. Artella is hiring! Artella is growing and we're looking for a few good people to join the excellent team in our inspiring "virtual" office. The specific areas we're seeking include help with administrative support, proofreading, database entry, research, and graphic design. Our model for hiring begins with a trial period, where the new folks on our team work on a bartering basis, in exchange for "Artella goods". If it works out for both sides, they move on to a paid position, which is the exact way the entire team of Artella has been built! If you're interested in applying to work with us, please write to request an application.

  3. Want to always know the latest Artella buzz? The Artella News blog has a fresh new look! We're also posting Artella updates more often, and you can now subscribe to an RSS feed to our blog, too (just click the link that says "subscribe to this blog's feed" in the upper right hand corner). Of course, we're also continuing to hide the BlogJog "sneaky" specials in the blog, which are sales and freebies that can only be found in the blog. Psssstttt…if you go to the blog today, you can save 25% on the ecourse "Optimize and Awesome-ize Your Web Site"™, about which Annette Phillips just wrote us last week and said:

    I LOVE the "Optimize and Awesome-ize Your Web Site" workshop. Everyone who is new and starting out and just doesn't know how to put everything together and where to even begin, this is the class for you, it's a must have. I was so inspired after listening to the class, I listened 4 more times, I wanted to catch everything.

  4. Daily Muse News :-)! There's always something new going on at The Artella Daily Muse! Our special winter feature that has been gracing the front page since mid-December, "The Daily Muse Book WeViews" will continue through the end of the month, and after that we'll be returning to the daily "In the Studio" artist profiles. We've got some fantastic artists coming up, including Lesley Riley, Sherill Kahn, Maureen Blackman, and Michael DeMeng, among many others! Another new addition is a new "Creative Quickie" column on Fridays, called the "10-Minute Laugh-Out-Loud", presented by Jenny Ryan. Jenny loves to make people laugh, and I know I always do!

    Want to try out the Daily Muse? Sign up for a no-strings, two-day subscription at Or jump right in and pick one of our three different Memberships…there's one for everyone! For example, if you're an artist, you'll love our Studio Membership, which comes with an exciting, extensive collection of ready-to-use kit of each month. (Note to Studio Members: the January kit is coming out next week and it's gorgeous…the theme is "Island Paradise"!)

This Quotz Crystal™ is a high-resolution jpeg image, suitable for printing. Print it out to remind you of the modular, multi-layered nature of the growth of human spirit!

If the image doesn't show up below, go to to see it.

Evolutionarily yours,

Artella Founder & Publisher

Artella PO Box 78 Johnson NY 10933

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