Category Archives: Instructional

Everything adds Creativity

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These things may date me, but I am not ashamed to have survived to the age of 54. There were times it was doubtful I would make it, and now there are days when the scythe comes very near.

Some early influences in my life were Crayola Crayons, the Sears Catalog, Instamatic Cameras, and writing by hand. You may wonder how these relate to creativity. I shall explain.

Becoming adept enough with my coloring and creative skills that I graduated to the 64 Box of Crayolas was a significant accomplishment. Money was tight, and the magic box was an expense my parents did not consider lightly. When I opened that box, it was as if the whole world opened up for me. I had names for colors beyond red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black, and white. This has impacted my sense of color ever since. Of course, I am aware there are billions of colors and am blessed with the ability to see color beyond the normal range, but I still group them based on those 64 which I learned early, I think about age four or five. I classify all colors in families. This helps tremendously when I edit photographs, and on those rare occasions, I attempt to create art. My edgy sense of fashion color blending is often based on the crayon colors as well.

Liquid assets were scarce in my household growing up. At the time department store catalogs were sent out freely to those the stores hoped to beguile into purchasing their wares. My mother sometimes ordered my clothing from the Sears Catalog. Mom was never one who understood buying things in various places and putting them together as outfits. She would guide me through the catalog, and we would choose five to seven pieces grouped on a page which worked in a mix and match. I might, if the weather held for Dad to work, have two such ensembles per season along with a few jeans and shirts I picked independently. This enforced wardrobe gave me a background on combining separates. The crayons and catalogs gave me a basis by which to become adept at creating my own fashion statement. I rarely purchase all the pieces I use to create a look in one place. I pull things together according to my fickle mood. The lines, the color choices can be traced to childhood.

For those who are photographers, and are we not all these days, the art has changed dramatically since I began with a tiny Instamatic Film Camera. It almost seems I have been taking pictures forever, but I must have started around age five or six. The Polaroid with the sticky black and white film that you had to count exposure time, yeah, I remember that. Early on I learned to set and choose my shot with extreme care because the film was a luxury. Every picture had to count. I could not instantly see my capture. Getting the envelope back with the prints was always a highly anticipated occasion. It was fascinating because there might be fantastic shots or I might wish I had not wasted hard earned money on the photos. Even now, I typically take fewer pictures than most photographers with whom I am acquainted. I also rely on editing less than many. Somehow I am stuck in the mentality that it is essential to capture the photo the first time and best to do it nearly flawlessly. I fall short, but I try.

Writing by hand is something many of us are moving away from these days. I still enjoy putting pen to paper and doing my lines in near calligraphic cursive. I made my first books by hand, with writing and drawing of my own creation. Sadly these are lost. I have practiced writing obsessively almost all my life. I do not think I could long survive without getting my thoughts in a semi-permanent form. Ink on the page is a miraculous marvel to me. I collect pens, paper, notebooks, journals, was I not surrounded by these things I would fade into oblivion. I love technology. I have ridden its waves since 1991. However, something about print seems less ethereal and more concrete. I have tablets and e-readers, but books, they still hold my heart in a way a file cannot. I shall continue to write. Much of this and the previous entry were done in a cheap composition notebook with a rollerball pen. I call this particular book, my dump notebook. I am intimidated by my expensive journals, maybe one day I will be good enough to use them. Somehow, I doubt that occurrence.

Our lives, our roots, our experiences are a part of every creation we bring forth. Live your life thoroughly, so your creative repertoire continually evolves. As a prompt, take some time to examine early influences you are still using in your work and your life. These might be things, people, quotes, places, anything really. Honor these with a creative work.

Gratitude can lift the spirit on a cold Winter day. I am grateful that I spent this day mostly in joy. I do not invite the trouble of events of which I have no control into my life and am thankful for my peace and contentment. Try to find something for which you are grateful each day. It will help you deal with the disappointments which inevitably come.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative. I hope something enlightened or entertained you while you were here. You may click the follow button, or come back soon.

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Be safe, be true, share whatever you can, and live life like it means the world because it does.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Immortality = Creativity

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If we desire to leave a legacy in the world that will long outlive the few years we spend on Earth, our creative output is sure to remind the future that we once thrived. The worth of our lives to those who follow will be measured by creations which survive.

No matter the medium in which we create much of what we leave will be preserved if we practice our talents and become exceedingly proficient in our creative fields.

If we examine history, it is less often the titans of industry who are remembered than those who were bold enough to create. The maker’s work passes from generation to generation, inspiring people long after the creative soul’s bones have become dust.

We stand in awe of drawings on the walls of caves. New recordings of century’s old music thrill us. The words of times long past, left by those who sought to bring clarity to living still inspire us. Paintings and sculptures of bygone eras hold pride of place in our public spaces and museums.

Our creations will mark our moments and tell the world our time, our lives were precious. We are leaving a legacy that will shape the world of tomorrow in what we do today.

I encourage you to study your tools, perfect your skills, practice as if life depends on it, because in reality it just may. You have something to birth into the world of space and time that no other human can ever produce. Be encouraged that you are able to make a difference, not just now, but in the deep future.

As a prompt draw up a rough plan of what you want to accomplish creatively by the end of 2017. It can be as simple or complex as you wish. Then set about making the goal you have real.

Gratitude is a virtue that makes way for more abundance in our lives. Today, I am grateful for the beautiful snow that has fallen. I am also thankful that the electricity is still powering my home. You may find it beneficial to take stock of your blessings each day. It tends to lend more satisfaction to living.

Thank you so much for visiting Haphazard Creative. I hope you have gained something in your visit. Please click the follow button, or if you prefer, come back soon.

Enjoy life, create beauty, be well, and bless you.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

 

Memory and creativity

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Here is a memory, exemplary of how the mind turns things over the years.

It is summer because Six Flags Over Georgia is a summer place when you are young. The great rides of later years are not in evidence, but the Great American Scream Machine is there and gives a startled thrill as it descends on what even now seems a rickety track. I have come here every year since the park’s opening, usually with parents, but now am old enough to have a Season Pass and come alone.

The draw today is not the rides, it is a concert, in the evening, one I have been anticipating for weeks. I wear a short nylon set of pale sky blue I put together from different stores, or maybe the same store at different times. I have a tank top with a circular collar and shorts that border on too short with a vinyl and material belt that came together. Mom lets me out of the house, so I must be decent. My hair is still blonde, but I could have already begun coloring it.

I get to the pavilion early, while the show is being set up, I want to be in a place where I can see. The star is a teenager like me, I follow him in Tiger Beat, with its bright arresting covers that I cannot pass up in the grocery store check out line. He comes out on stage to do a sound check, and I am enthralled seeing him alive. Our eyes meet across the distance, which is not far.

Somehow I move away from the stage, and then I feel a tap on my shoulder. He followed me, and I turn to face him. He asks if I would like to go for an ice cream after the show, and oh yes, I would. My father would be furious though because he says all rock stars are ruffians. He does not look bad, he seems like someone who could be my friend. My heart breaks a little, and I tell him no, my parents would not allow me to stay late.

Years pass that short set stays in a drawer long after I have outgrown that slim frame. I always wonder what might have been had I stepped out of my fear, my inhibition, that evening. If I had gone with that gorgeous blonde boy, who wanted to spend time with me. Maybe somehow, somewhere it happened, and both our paths were changed for the better. Could be.

 

When working with memories creatively, all the pieces do not have to be there. A little space where the color fades, fog descends, leaves room for imagination to fill in the spaces and make what is vague, transcend and come into focus with a clarity that to a reader, viewer, listener, seems more than real, even magic. Always play the magic, because that is where the story happens and the story is everything.

As a prompt, use a memory creatively to tell a story in whatever way you like. If it leads you off somewhere, chase it. Chasing the tale is magic.

Thank you for visiting, please come again and be safe out there.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Creative campfire

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Often we creatives think we should work alone. We grew up learning about original thinkers who worked in relative isolation. There is another side to this story.

Scientists realized creativity developed before or with language when primitive humans began to gather in collectives that shared their experiences, often around a fire. This even started before learning how to start fires. These people would find naturally caused blazes, carry a spark, as in a burning branch, and create a fire to cook from, after learning cooked food was better by happening on animals which had been crisped. If you are interested in learning more about this, I recently read The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson.

Also, after reading the biography, Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, I gathered some other insights about creative genius. Leonardo often created work when in a studio setting with a variety of different artists. His notebooks appear to be individual works, but much of his painting was done in a group setting. Often, other artists worked on his pieces and on some he lay the framework for others to add color then occasionally added some of his own brushwork. The master left much of his work unfinished and never delivered some commissions.

Both these books are informative. Reading about the process of others is intriguing. Leonardo is one of the most celebrated and admired creatives of all time, and tracing creativity back to its beginnings is rewarding.

When hoping to take creative work to a higher level, critique groups, clubs, associations, workshops, and even online organizations can help a person improve. Sharing creations with a variety of people, if only an audience teaches how to gain interest in what is produced.

So find a place to create communally and share. It will improve creative skills immensely.

As a prompt, take a finished or current project, allow others to comment on it and see if it leads to ideas for improvement or further works.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Haphazard Creative. It is always my hope to inspire or encourage the creative journey. There is a follow button, or come back often. Be careful and remember smiles light lives.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

 

Social media is not social

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Alright, you read that, and you think I am some strange bird going against the culture, but give me a chance. This involves your life as a creative.

Though it began earlier, the internet, as we know it, came into being as the World Wide Web in the early nineties, I was there. I had AOL, Compuserve, and MSN which gave the WYSIWYG interface. Those services were not free, they were subscription services at least for full functionality. A variety of browsers developed, and content grew on the internet outside the services. A lot of that material was free, but you were at least paying your internet service/telephone company or cable provider to get on the web.

Many sites put up paywalls, and there were fees to get in. Pop-ups became a hassle, trying to get you to buy stuff. Growth continued, giants sprang up almost out of nowhere, and they dominated the web. Cellphones became ubiquitous so that everyone had a computer in their hand or pocket everywhere they went. The cost to get on the internet from the telecoms went up and up, but we, the consumers paid because we wanted to be connected. Social media had become an integral part of our lives.

All of it, from the beginning, has been a way to get consumers to spend more. If they can catch us, while we sit at home in pajamas, and convince us to buy any of a billion products there, they have us and our dollars. Or maybe we are in a physical store, and we see something we like, we look it up on that mini-computer we have with us at all times, find a better price and order it right there in the store, where by buying we would have helped someone we interacted with in real life. The services, subscriptions, providers all are money driven. The internet is not free, it is what is driving businesses in the real world to fail.

Then we have social media; the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkIn, and others. One, they are collecting and aggregating our information. Two, they are targeting us with fees and advertising insistently. Yes, we communicate, but we are always bombarded with the ask for our money.

The sad thing is that we are more and more becoming driven by devices and growing less active in life with humans outside a screen. We hardly even make phone calls anymore, we text, we message, impersonal and limited interaction. Conversation, face to face, is becoming a lost art.

I have attempted to build a platform to build a reputation as a writer, artist, creative, but it is getting unsustainable with no income from the endeavors and a constant call to spend more. I create because I have to, not to pay someone else for the privilege. We, creatives need to find a way to change the dynamic. We give freely, they should pay us for the hosting. Never happen, but anyway.

This is why I say it is not social, social media is all about money, our money, we have fed this monster until it has almost consumed us and our lives.

As a prompt, create something, writing, art, photograph, that defies the boundaries of the internet. However, you probably want to share it on the web, because how else would anyone see it, we are bound to the internet, obedient slaves.

I hope you enjoyed your time here. I cannot say I do not love the internet, it just worries me. I hope you will either come back or click the follow button. Your thoughts are always welcome in the comments. Wherever you are, take care and be safe.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

 

Creative block

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Creative block is sometimes experienced, and at these times, often hard to overcome. It can postpone productive work for long periods. There are ways to avoid it. These may not be clear in the midst of the experience, but perhaps some preparation will assist.

There are times when time is set aside for creation, and it gets postponed or interrupted by some of life’s happenings and emergencies. Other times procrastination sets in. These things arise inevitably. Such is the beginning of a habit that becomes ingrained. An hour is put off because of some urgent event, then a day, then a week, then months pass. This cycle must be stopped early. The voluntary action it begins with becomes a mental habit that is hard to defeat.

Whenever there is an urge to work creatively, it should be heeded as soon as is possible to arrange. If some time has passed and avoidance is an entrenched mental habit the only way to break out is to face the blank page, canvas, surface, media and stay with it until work begins. This takes patience and dedication because there will be resistance. The mind, the hands, the body will try to escape, the impulse to leave and do something other will be overwhelming, but to become a functioning creative again there must be a beginning, a will to bring something new into the world. At this point, the output may not be desirable, but with renewed practice, expertise will return.

It is the mind that creates the roadblocks after it is encouraged by poor time management and prioritization. Creative time must be guarded and planned just as appointments and events, though there should always be leeway for spontaneous creation. Sometimes it is a matter of not wanting to work because of discomfort with the product or simple resistance. When these problems present, getting busy despite the critical inner voice is necessary.

Block can be overcome, it can be disarmed and sent packing, but it takes an act of will and determination to go on without compromise. Nothing great is ever created without putting in the time with the tools. It is unavoidable.

Maybe this will help with the struggle. The monster is real, but it is usually of the creative’s making. What is in mind cannot be realized without hours of dedication to working.

As a prompt, look around the current environment and select an item, tell its story, either in truth or make up a tale. If an artist, tell the story in some medium.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative. There is a follow button, or come back often. I know a bit about the beast under discussion. Should there be questions or thoughts, please leave a comment or fill out the contact form. Take care and be safe.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Ever felt this?

Art can be anything. The pattern for the meme is a kitchen rug. If you look carefully at your surroundings, you will find the opportunity for creativity in perhaps, mundane things. There is so much beauty in the world that we often overlook. We live for something to overwhelm us when there is much in our lives that when looked at with open eyes reveals its unique character.

Look around, see if there is something which can be incorporated into an interesting and arresting creation. Each of us is capable of making something out of almost nothing. The fabric of the universe, of our day, is ours to explore and use in myriad ways to further our creative impulse.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative, click the follow button, or should you rather not, please just come back soon. Stay safe and take care.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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