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"A work of art does not answer questions, it provokes them; and its essential meaning is in the tension between the contradictory answers."
"Creative Quests & Questions": A Mini-Article
I'd like to announce that today is my Mom's birthday! Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to a nurturing, loving, strong, and fiercely creative woman who has influenced my life in wonderful ways! (By the way, if you missed the article about my Mom in PEOPLE magazine a couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to it at www.artellawordsandart.com/LittleLibrary.html. Take a moment and read about her fantastic Library!)
When I knew I'd be writing this article on my Mom's birthday, the topic of creative questions was the first thing that came into my mind.I grew up in a household that was highly influenced by my parents' complementary differences. The marriage of my mother's creativity and my father's intellect set the tone for our household and, I believe, for the structure of how my brain still works today.
When I had little-girl questions about all the curiosities of the world, my Dad always had an answer for everything, whereas my Mom turned the questions back around to me. Questions ranging from "Why is the sky blue?" to "How do you spell 'incredible'?" to "What happens when people die?" generally evoked a similar response from my Mom. She'd say, "What do YOU think?"
Through her questions, I learned to sound out words, imagine possibilities, and think wider and farther than knowing "real" answers could have ever taken me. Mom's attitude to my curiosity encouraged me to both draw and think outside the lines in the way that children are meant to do. (See one of my favorite Art-Splashes in the Articulation archives, "The Masters", for a meditation on "The Outsidethelinesism Movement"...and it's also available as a free ecard!)
The word "question" is based on a root that means "to seek", from which we also get the word, "quest". I love thinking of a question as being a quest or journey, especially when it comes to creativity. When we challenge our creative selves with questions, we invite our imaginations to go deeper and wider than knowing "real" answers would ever take us.
A recent personal example is my process of working on the layout for the latest issue of Artella. I knew that the topic, Theatre & Cinema,provided a great opportunity, design-wise. But I wasn't really sure what to do with until I asked myself a bunch of "crazy" questions to get myself out of linear thinking about what could and could not be done on a one-dimensional page.The questions steered me to splash through an atmosphere of unreal, larger-than-life design that was different than any previous issue of Artella. One question inspired another, as each query embarked a new quest.
The Art Tip of the Week and Writing Tip of the Week, below, have some ideas for quests to take with your art, writing, and perhaps your living as well.
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.">
THIS WEEK'S ART-SPLASH!
This week's Articulation Art-Splash is a simple, quirky little offering calledGot Life?. I share it with a Happy Birthday wish to my Mom who has always encouraged living with bright colors.
Who does this Art-Splash remind YOU of? You can send this new Art-Splash as a free ecard at www.artellawordsandart.com/free-ecards.html!
1. Artella 7 has been mailed! All of the issues of Artella 7 have now been mailed out, so if you haven't gotten your copy, it's coming!You can check out some of the lushly outrageous sample pages, and read comments from dazzled readers, at www.artellawordsandart.com/issue7.html!
2. October is our Birthday Month! October is Artella's birthday month!! Yes, this month we are two years old, and to celebrate, we'll be introducing all kinds of new fun stuff to the Web site, all month long! Our festival of site additions will culminate on October 29, which is exactly two years from when the first Articulation Art-Splash was sent out, when we'll announce the biggest offer we've EVER dared to dream. Sshshhhhh....the details are a secret, but the next Articulation will have ALL of the good stuff about our Birthday Bonanza, so be sure to read the next bi-weekly issue.
With so many Birthday Additions coming out this month, and since Articulation is now released every other week, I've decided to try something new: a new blog that will be devoted to announcing all of the Artella Web site additions as they are released. I'm often hearing from folks who are disappointed because they missed a certain announcement or offer, or from people who get a little lost at all of the fun things we're always throwing out into ArtellaLand. With this new Artella News Blog, if you're crazy about Artella and want to get ALL of the latest news, you can check it as often as you want (often there are new things EVERY DAY!) and will be sure that you won't miss a THING. WDon't worry, I'll still announce the most important stuff in Articulation. But regularly checking the Artella News Blog regularly will ensure that you don't miss anything from ArtellaLand!
3. Artella Retreat FULL! The Creative ManiFestival Retreat in Connecticut this November is FULL and we are PSYCHED!If you'd like to be put on the waiting list, contact me directly. If you didn't sign up this year...we'll be sure to post lots of photos! I am really excited about the first in-person Artella event. Thanks to all who are making it possible!
4.More Artella eCards!We've added a dozen new free e-cards from the Articulation archives that you can share for all occasions! Visitwww.artellawordsandart.com/free-ecards.html to send a free card!
5.Bi-Weekly Poetry Contest Winners!We've added new prize packages for the Bi-Weekly Poetry Contest Winners, including giving a variety of hard-copy books on writing topics to the 1st Place Winners! Take a look at the newprizes and enter our next contest at www.artellawordsandart.com/prizes.html.
Here are this week's winners!:
1st Place - Ann McGovern for "Maybe You Are Here"
2nd Place - Gail Ellspermann for "Opportunity"
3rd Place - Chelsea Rose for "Darkness"
4th Place - Emery L. Campbell for "Good News, Bad News"
Look for their poems in Poetry Gardens of Fame over the weekend!
Our current featured artist is Lorraine Pettit, whose diverse product line glistens with originality and spunk! From sculpted jewelry to unique home decor, Lorraine has something for everyone...with even more new products from Lorraine coming in over the weekend!
Check out all of the weekly specials by clicking the sunflower on our home page.
We've been growing the Children & Babies Shoppe...so be sure to take a look at our great gifts for precious babies and small friends!
Our Book Shoppe is also growing, with great new eBooks from several vibrant new authors!
ART TIP OF THE WEEK!
Here are some ideas for some "quests" you can go on with your art, just to get "outside the lines" a bit:
- What if you created an altered book on your wall? A collage on your shoe? A painting on a tree?
- What if part of this piece existed off the canvas?
- What if this work could only be seen by children, or another specialized group (a la The Emperor's New Clothes)? What if blind people could see your painting?
- What if you used crayons instead of paint, or your fingers instead of sable brushes?
- What if you used your imagination, but someone else's hands, to create this work? What would be different?
WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK!
Here are some ideas for some "quests" you can go on with your writing, just to get "outside the lines" a bit:
- What if the characters in your piece could travel through time?
- What if you had to write without words?
- What if you wrote without punctuation
- What if your current piece of writing was a collaboration between you and a famous writer from history? What if you and he/she alternated paragraphs or chapters?
- What if your plot went backwards, instead of forwards?
1. Gail McMeekin, one of my very favorite authors, mentors, and inspiring women, has completely re-done her Web site, CreativeSuccess.com, and it is stunning and stupendous. Of particular interest are the incredibly helpful articles in her article database, as well as the variety of programs and special services she offers creative people. Thank you for being a beacon of light and a mentor to me, Gail!
2. Speaking of creating outside lines and boundaries, I believe that artist and author Lynne Perrella is the quintessential example of inhabiting thiskind of sensibility. It was an honor to have Lynne write a story especially for Artella, which is published in the Theatre & Cinema issue, and if you've never visited her Web site,www.lkperrella.com, you really must take a look. Thanks for all the inspiration, Lynne!
Have a great week!
~way, way, way, way outside the lines,
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