THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘creativity’

Life Is Full of Twists and Turns

So, I’m here today to vent….I guess a blog is as good a place for that as any… Venting wasn’t my intention when I started this ‘artistic living’ blog, but I guess it’s just one of those unexpected twists that are part of life. It does affect how ‘artistic’ I’ve been feeling for the last couple of weeks and it certainly affects ‘living’. So I deem it appropo.

Without any symptoms or expectation of anything wrong, during a routine checkup, my doc found a lump on my thyroid. A bloodtest, a camera stuck down my nose/throat, and now an ultrasound has revealed two medium-sized lumps with some (not all) suspicious characteristics on the thyroid. Well, before two weeks ago, I knew virtually nothing about the thyroid, except that it’s an endocrine gland in the neck area and that it can help control weight, if functioning well. Well, now, medical terms such as isoechoic, nodule, hypoechoic, calcification, and thyroidectomy are part of my common vocabulary. The Internet can be both a helpful and a scary place, especially if someone has been suddenly diagnosed with a disorder. It is beneficial to be informed when undergoing healthcare and medical procedures, however, too much info can be overwhelming and detrimental, I am finding. Studying other people’s ultrasound images isn’t going to help me (unless I change career paths and decide to become a radiologist!) and hearing every possible percentage risk associated with every term is getting to be too much. I’ve been told that chances are still decent that the condition is benign. But anytime one considers the possibility of the ‘C’ word is even 10-25% likely, that’s all one focuses on. I think I’ve been informed to the extent that I know what my course of action should be, but I need to keep maintaining a normal life, until the day I possibly have to go in for surgery.

Next step: Ultrasound guided Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy. I’m starting to experience the frustrations of the modern medical system – Make appointment. Wait. Find out small amount of info. Wait. Make another appointment. Wait. Find out small amount of info. Wait. Wait. Wait. So now I’m waiting to hear when my FNA will be. Then I will wait for the procedure to be done. Then I will wait for results. Then I will wait for appointment to find out results. You get the picture.

So now I plan to spend a weekend off the Internet and enjoy the more artistic side of life. Thanks for letting me vent.

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Eleven Tips to Be Creative

Eleven Tips to Be Creative (I was aiming for Ten, but I guess I was feeling creative)

While this is certainly not a definitive or a scientific list, there are certain things I personally do to improve my chances of having a creative day:

1. Read about lots of different topics – I’m not very into “niches”…and have never liked being “put into a box”. After all, no one category or “box” can describe me, which is probably the same for most people. I get bored with niches and am interested in so many different hobbies and topics. Learning about various current events and varied topics not only keeps life interesting, but keeps one’s mind alert and creative. One’s brain starts to connect disparate ideas and topics and relates them in new and different ways.

2. Take different routes to work/school/shopping. I’m not a neuroscientist, but I realize that doing something differently and not in the same old rut makes those synapses fire away. New connections are made in our brains, which are then recharged to start thinking differently. Besides, you might discover that new gift shop that just opened or an enticing bakery that you never knew existed.

3. Listen to music. Different types of music. Jazz. Rock. Alternative. World. Pop. Opera. Heck, even Country. Also, listen to your favorite song from when you were a senior in high school. Listening to your favorite music from days of yore, not only brings back good memories, but stirs your mind. Every painting class I’ve ever taken played background music during studio time. Music stimulates the right side of your brain, which of course is necessary for creativity. iTunes, CDs, and the radio are great, of course, but if you have the opportunity to hear some live music – even better!

4. Window shop and browse catalogs and magazines. You don’t need to spend money for this. However, just looking at a myriad of items and products, especially colorful and/or creative products stimulates my thinking and gets me excited to start creating! And, if you can afford it, spring for that new dress or bedspread while you’re at it!

5. Look at art. Get to a local museum, gallery, or art fair. Galleries and fairs usually have free entry and even museums may be free (donations accepted) on certain days of the week. Whether you are an artist or not, nothing stimulates the right brain like looking at various types of painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography.

6. Make time to recharge. Allow a little bit of time each day for yourself to relax or participate in your favorite hobby. Most people can’t be creative 24 hours a day…I know that I need to have a bit of down time daily to allow myself to recharge, so I can then focus my creativity for those times when I NEED to be creative.

7. Practice the art of brainstorming…when trying to come up with a solution or a new idea, let yourself relax and just write whatever crazy ideas come into your head. Most of the ideas might be too crazy to act upon, but write them down nonetheless. Don’t be discriminating. Try to come up at least 20 ideas. Later on, you can go back and cross off the ideas that simply won’t work. But, all you need is for 1 idea out of 20 to be the solution you’re looking for!

8. If you’re going to watch TV, watch something educational or a do-it-yourself type of channel. Seeing people working hard at their creative products, whether it be decorating, home re-design, or cooking that delicious and nutritious meal in under half-an-hour, motivates me, teaches me, and usually gives me ideas.

9. Exercise. The solution to whatever problem I’m trying to solve sometimes comes to me suddenly while I’m taking a brisk walk or using the elliptical trainer. I guess the increased blood circulations gets ideas circulating in the brain too!

10. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be a diary, and you don’t need to begin every entry with “Dear Diary…”. However after receiving a Christmas gift of a blank journal, I began jotting down creative ideas in it whenever I would think of something. I realized that I’ve always been creative, but I often forgot my “inspired ideas” by the next day, because I never wrote them down. My brain would then move on to the next idea, but it would then leave a trail of forgotten ideas behind. Now I DO write them down, and I can refer to them anytime I want. It is improving the amount of action I take on these ideas. In fact, my idea for this blog was jotted down randomly in this journal…

11. Eat healthy and take your vitamins! Being nutritiously minded keeps one’s energy, brain and heart at peak levels. On the other spectrum, lethargy leads to fewer ideas, and, more importantly, less energy to act upon those ideas.

Friday – time to be creative!

It is Friday again – the day when I get to escape the cubicle world, if for just a short time, to pursue other interests. This weekend I have a few photography projects on the agenda, as well as finally planting the Spring plants to add some color to our deck. Sounds like I need to post a photo of our deck on Monday…

I plan to, once again, try getting some indoor “studio” shots for stock photography to upload to http://www.fotolia.com, one of the best stock photography sites out there for both photographers and designers . I’m trying to boost my photography sales on that website by trying to take more relevant (and technically perfect) shots. Easier said than done, without professional models, a studio, or studio lighting within access. Yet, I will try, with the help of my new homemade photo lightbox and some hand-me-down lamps. I’ll hopefully be posting a successful stock pic or two (along with my homemade lightbox setup) next week. Wish me luck.

Have a fun (and creative) weekend!

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to The Artistic Life blog!

As an artist, photographer, web designer, and graphic designer, I am always trying to be creative in various ways, using different outlets. Even when I’m not working on an art project, creativity enriches my daily life, by getting me to try new hobbies and be curious about many different fields, seemingly unrelated to art, but still related in some way deep down. I’ve never believed that art and design are luxury items that can be separated from the rest of life…they are part of living and closely related to science, math, music, philosophy, culture, history, religion…you can’t have these without art. Anything produced must have a design. It may be a poor design, but a design nonetheless.

I’ve heard many people say that they aren’t creative…I don’t think that’s true! Anyone can be creative and probably already are creative in ways they don’t realize. One doesn’t have to paint a masterpiece to be creative. Many people experiment with a new recipe, sew a dress for their child, problem-solve an issue in their lives, invent a new game to keep the kids entertained….there are countless ways to be creative in daily life and this should be recognized!

In this blog, I hope to touch various topics related to art, creativity, photography, design, cooking, travel, or new hobbies…or whatever creative outlet seems to be taking shape in my life at the moment.

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