Monday #19: What’s For Dinner?

Welcome to 2011!  I think I told you last week that I don’t really like RESOLUTIONS.  Besides the fact that they are almost always broken, I think they can be a way of undermining our ability to be the best version of ourselves weeks after the glitter and bubbles fade from December 31 and January 1.  I mean, let’s face it, you’re a grown up and you know what’s good for you… just do it!  Or don’t!  It’s up to you… but a year is just a day after a day after a day, just a January 1 multiplied by 365.  Ad infinitum.

And, since lots and lots of resolutions have to do with FOOD, I thought I’d start today’s entry off with a fun food poll.  Want to play along?

But, if you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re less interested in Mother Hubbard’s cupboard than you are in creative thinking and creative doing.  I spend a lot of time exploring web sites, books and other media that celebrate creativity and today I’m going to give you a few resources I’ve discovered over the last year that have become my favorite places for inspiration.  I believe that, whatever your vocation is, creative thinking and doing can have a positive effect on your life in every part of it, from personal satisfaction to navigating your professional landscape.  OK, call it a RESOLUTION if you must and begin TODAY if it makes you feel better, but think about including some new creativity in 2011.  I’ll even help you begin…

Not an artist but want to think creatively and expand the capabilities of your grey matter? Then, be sure to check out Litemind by Luciano Passuello.  This web site is jam-packed with articles, data and activities that will help you tap into your brain’s potential.  I especially love his List of 100 and his technique for Mind Mapping.  He even posts his 3,000 favorite bookmarks on Delicious which will keep you busy for a lifetime.  Next stop, the Creativity Portal, founded by Chris Dunmire and supported by a group of creativity enthusiasts.  This site truly has something for everyone and contains tons of resources like articles, essays, activities, lesson plans, games and more for the creative person or the business professional and everyone in between.

Not an artist but want to play with pens and paper?  Join teaching artist Carla Sonheim at her blog, The Snowball Journals.  Sonheim is the author of the great, new book, Drawing Lab, and the host of the online classes, The Art of Silly.  In fact, you can still join me and others for her third installment of classes which begins this Wednesday!  Or, another way to play with pens and paper is to hop on the Zentangle bandwagon.  This more refined form of doodling is something that anyone at any age can do and, if you read my post back in November that including some interesting information on doodling, you’ll know that it’s good for you and your brain!  Ready to try one? Hop on over to WikiHow and jump in with their Zentangle tutorial.  You’ll be all ready for your next boring staff meeting and make something super cool in the process.

Artists, are you thinking about participating in the Art Journaling craze?  I am!  There is a lot of information out there on how to begin, but I’m so glad I found Tammy at Daisy Yellow.  Honestly, I don’t know how this woman has two small kids and manages to create this much art and generate this awesome of a creative person’s resource site. Her Art Journaling 101 is a super place to start learning about art journaling and to begin getting inspired to make your own.  And, Thaneeya McArdle over at Art Is Fun, has loads and loads of information about medium and subject matter and, if you can’t find the answer to your questions on the site, you can email her and get a speedy and informed reply.  If you want to journal but don’t want too much pressure just yet, pick up a Keel’s Simple Diary for just about ten bucks.  A friend of mine received one as a holiday gift and I can’t wait to get one.  Swiss artist, Philipp Keel, delivers a thoughtful but humorous way to approach journaling with this template-based, bound diary that gives you meaningful prompts that provoke more than the “Dear Diary” confessional.  I recently read a review for these delightful books that encouraged people to put one out on a coffee table and let a collaborative journaling project evolve with your guests.  I think I’m going to try this.

Teachers, both art room and otherwise, here are two incredible web sites for you… Patty’s Deep Space Sparkle has more creative art projects than you can shake a paintbrush at, along with photographs of the finished results, as well as her own honest opinion of how they went in her classroom.  It’s an amazing site, just go see for yourself.  The other place to get lots of classroom-tested ideas is Kathy Barbro’s Art Projects for Kids. Both of these sites, by the way, include blogrolls of their favorite other sites, which could keep you surfing all day long.  Finally, if you are a teacher (or anyone, for that matter) and have not discovered and explored Flickr, get your free account and start connecting with people who like to post pictures of beautiful and interesting stuff.  I call Flickr the social networking site for visual people.  Check out my Flickr photostream, as well as my favorites from the other artists and creative people on this great photosharing site.  There are million wonderful things to see from all over the world there.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention TED again.  Their slogan is “Ideas Worth Spreading.”  Yup.  That’s the truth.  Go there.  Expand your world view.  Listen to the ideas of others.  It’s just plain cool.

So, did you opt for the pizza?  Did you?!  I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the results come in–which are anonymous, by the way, so don’t worry if you did.  Because, the truth is that the pizza choice was actually the least creative of them all.  I know, I know, everyone loves pizza, right? I know I do.  But, think about it… it’s the quintessential no-choice, now, isn’t it?  You have to admit that choosing pizza was way easier than any of the other choices, more predictable and, the most tried and true result.  You know you’re gonna like it without having to think about it.  But the first 6 choices?  Well, those are going to require a little out of the boxness, (particularly Freeganism, which would, personally, be my last choice–no offense to Freegans, by the way). You can do a lot of searches for what characteristics kind of define an out of the box, creative person.  I found lists of 11, lists of 32, lists of 7 and lists of lists.  For today, I chose Michelle Casto’s list of 6 because it was the shortest and most to the point.  The first 6 choices in today’s fun food poll come from Casto’s Six Characteristics of Highly Creative People:

1. Unconventionality (swimming against the current)
2. Individualism (marching to your own beat)
3. Inventiveness (thinking of the un-thought-of possibility)
4. Drive (not taking ‘no’ for an answer, pursuing an idea relentlessly)
5. Vision (seeing what isn’t there, seeing the unseeable)
6. Intuition (taking signals from the world around you)

Don’t feel bad if you picked the pizza.  I love pizza, too.  And, when faced with stuff like bulgar wheat and toothpaste, pizza can seem like just what you want.  But, I want 2011 to be my most creative year ever in every way, even if it doesn’t always look, smell or taste like pizza.  And, besides, if you made all those silly New Year’s resolutions, you know you can’t have the pizza anyway.  So, how about bulgar wheat and toothpaste?  Will you join me? Because, you don’t need to be an artist to be creative.  Creativity is a state of mind.

TRY THIS WEEK: Draw a doodle, write a rhyme, imagine a weird recipe or discover something you’ve never known.  Then, share it with someone else.

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About Dar Hosta James

I am an artist living in New Jersey. I write and illustrate children's books, paint, draw, blog, coach, teach and speak about creativity.
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