Thinking About Why You Create

The Blank Page by Cindy Adelle Richard

I recently read a book called “What’s Your Creative Type: Harness the Power of Your Creative Personality” by Meta Wagner, and the content was intriguing enough to share. The reason that Wagner wrote the book was to help artist know why they create so that they can maximize their creative potential. The most accomplished and prolific artists know why they create and use it as the driving force behind their work. I am going to provide a summary of each of the types and one example of an a well-known artist who embodies that type. My goal is to introduce you to the creative types and hopefully pique your interest so you will seek out more information.

The A-Lister: Seeking Applause, Adoration, Fame, and Immortality

  • thrive off of adoration and attention from others
  • have a strong need to have people see what you see, feel what you feel, think what you think
  • feel alive when performing for others
  • want to be remembered after you die
  • more interested in the finished product because that is where the glory comes from
  • compete against past and present artists you admire
  • Example of an A-Lister Artist: Pablo Picasso was not only content to make art, he did everything in his power to also ensure he was famous and made money from his art.

The Artisan: Truly, Madly, Deeply Devoted to Creativity

  • just being creative provides its own satisfaction
  • lose all sense of time when deeply engaged in the creative process
  • the thrill of making something from nothing keeps you enthralled
  • love the process even more than the product
  • would keep making art even if no one paid attention to it or paid money for it
  • often look to artists who came before you for inspiration and information
  • Example of The Artisan: Vincent Van Gogh spent years learning to paint and he was quite prolific, yet he really didn’t sell much work when he was alive. He was completely driven by the creative process and making paintings.

The Game Changer: Creating Something Entirely New

  • make new, revolutionary, visionary art – originality crucial to you
  • want to expand the limits of art and get people to see the world differently
  • become restless and bored with following conventions so constantly experimenting with new approaches and techniques to keep yourself engaged
  • may have to wait years, even decades, for your ideas to be accepted
  • Example of The Game Changer: Jackson Pollock created an entirely new way of painting and changed how people looked at abstract art, and the world noticed.

The Sensitive Soul: Expressing Yourself and Helping Others

  • feel things deeply and use creative outlets to channel them
  • lots of things stir your emotions
  • can be thin-skinned, but have a great ability to empathize with the feelings of others
  • when they use art to bring themselves relief from suffering, they also help others to escape their pain
  • always seeking ways to cope with and make meaning out of life
  • often use their personal experiences as the catalyst for their art
  • Example of The Sensitive Soul: Frida Kahlo used her painful past and raw emotions to give her paintings power, and her work has emotionally affected art lovers for generations.

The Activist: Changing the World Through Art

  • desire to create art that has an impact – changes the course of people’s lives or even the course of history
  • tend to see injustices everywhere you look, and you refuse to stand idly by – you must do something
  • there is often a sense of urgency to your work
  • tendency to follow politics and world events on a consistent basis
  • art is often created for shock value and/or to send a message
  • Example of The Activist: Banksy uses street art/murals to spotlight political or moral injustices in our current world. His message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist, or anti-establishment.

Whether you identify with one, more than one, or none of these types, I hope they will get you thinking about why you create. I do believe that it is helpful to know why you create so that you can return to it when times get tough or when you need to refocus your work. It also helps to know so that you can find the inspiration you need to keep going. I would also recommend checking out Meta Wagner’s book in its entirety – in addition to in-depth descriptions of these types, she also goes into subcategories of the types and helpful hints on how to work best with your creative personality.

My NaNoWriMo Project 2018

Adelle by Cindy Adelle Richard

November is one of my favorite times of year because 1) I get to take a week off for Thanksgiving, and I use it to watch lots of T.V., read lots of books, and take lots of naps and 2) it is National Novel Writing Month. I attend meetups to write with the NaNo North Shore group, a wonderful group of people who encourage each other and have fun together. We always hold an event one day each November where we write all day and night (24 hours), eat lots of food, and talk in between writing (another November favorite). I never actually do what I am supposed to do during NaNoWriMo (write a novel that is at least 50,000 words); I usually use the time to work on whatever project has been brewing in my head for a while. This year I have decided to spend the month fleshing out this fictional art colony that has been taking shape in my mind since January. The paintings I have been creating this year have come about because of this fictional place which I have named The Isle of Adelle. I imagine that Adelle, the woman pictured above, founded this special art colony on an island off of the coast of France circa 1920. You will hear more about this special place after I have a chance to fully imagine what it is all about – who the people are, what they do each day, the climate, and so on. I am excited by the idea of building my own world and letting it take shape on paper. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, happy writing!

Molly’s Miracle Garden

Woman sitting on patio looking at flowers

Molly’s Miracle Garden by Cindy Adelle Richard

I am always inspired by beautiful gardens with impossibly large blooms, and that was my inspiration for this week’s painting. I hope you enjoy this little story about Molly.

As a young girl growing up on a farm, Molly discovered early on that she had a special gift with flowers. Better than a green thumb – more like a golden thumb. See, as soon as Molly places seeds in the ground, flowers begin to grow. Not as fast as what you see in time-lapse videos when everything is moving fast, but within 24 hours, they are in full bloom. It doesn’t matter what the soil is like or the weather, or even if they have received water. They spring up perfect and as a big as they can possibly grow in vibrant colors like cotton candy pink, indigo, and corncob yellow. Molly’s favorite flower is the dahlia – she never gets tired of gazing at its perfection. The townsfolk all know about Molly’s talent, and they flock to her floral shop to buy choice blooms for all sorts of occasions.

Molly has taken up the violin to balance out the ease with which she grows flowers. She really has to work at the violin to get it to sound decent. She squeaks and sqwacks along, breaking bow strings and assaulting the ears of her patient music instructor. It surprises her how happy it makes her to work at something that challenges her. One day, she hopes that playing the violin will come as naturally as growing flowers, and she’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing she worked hard to learn how to play.

Painting available on Etsy

Remembering Roses

Remembering Roses Watercolor Painting by Cindy Adelle Richard

I have started creating mini-stories and poems inspired by my paintings. Here is the poem for this painting:

Remembering Roses by Cindy Adelle Richard

A morning walk ripe with dew

shards of light reflecting you

butterflies swirling matching your pace

roses shimmering caressing your face

Nature’s canvas  framed just for you

etched in your memory like cellular glue

love in your heart nothing to fear

enjoying the magic we all hold dear.

I hope you enjoyed my little poem. This painting is now available in my Etsy shop as well adellecirca1920.etsy.com

 

I Am a Story Artist

A practice painting of Bonnie Bennett by Cindy Adelle Richard

I have been taking a little hiatus from social media to do some deep thinking  about my brand and my art business. I seem to think best by writing by hand with no interference from technology, and I used my time journaling and reflecting on my vocation productively.  The series of practice paintings I posted today are based on characters from THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. Rewatching six seasons of the show and creating these paintings helped me to realize how much I love art that tells a story. I finally found something I can happily do for the rest of my life without getting tired of it. However, these paintings were based on photographs, and I decided I really want to create original art using my favorite stories as inspiration instead.

Practice painting of Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert by Cindy Adelle Richard.

One of the big revelations for me while going this process was the role I came up with for myself – being a Story Artist. The two pastimes that have occupied my time throughout my life have been stories and art. From the time I was three years old, I have been obsessed with reading, and my favorite events were book fairs, weekly trips to the school library or the bookmobile, and story time in my classrooms. Eventually my love of stories expanded into movies, television shows, plays, operas, and ballets. I also started to pay attention to the arts as I grew up – painting, playing the drums, and dancing specifically. During the years that I was in college and building a career as a young person, I had forgotten how important these art forms were to me, and I am grateful that I have reconnected to my love of stories and art over the past ten years.

Practice painting of Damon Salvatore by Cindy Adelle Richard.

I have decided to use my favorite stories in various forms and genres as the starting point for the watercolor paintings I produce. This blog will be about my life behind the stories – my life as a Story Artist. In addition to creating and sharing my art, I am still in the process of writing a novel set in the 1920s, so you will still see content based on my discoveries from that glorious era. I am truly excited about this new direction my art and writing are taking, and I hope you will stick around to be a part of my creative journey. Thank you for reading and supporting this blog, and I look forward to sharing more story art and content with you.

The Jazz Age Style Alphabet

I completed a project that I feel pretty good about called the Jazz Age Style Alphabet. I completed an original watercolor painting and used a calligraphy letter for each one. I thought I might feel pressure or get bored with it, but I liked how much structure it provided in terms of selecting images to focus on for my work. An added bonus for this project was that I learned some things I did not know about some of the people, places, or objects I chose. If you are looking for a great project related to a theme you love, I highly recommend doing an alphabet project and challenging yourself to find unique content. I posted the entire alphabet below – I hope you enjoy it!

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Follow Your Curiosity

I watched an inspiring video by Elizabeth Gilbert about following one’s curiosity to figure out pathways in life here . Up until now, Gilbert has always been an advocate of the philosophy to “follow your passion” because that has always worked for her. A letter from a frustrated reader caused her to change her perspective; the reader had been searching for a passion for years, and had reached the point of being depressed because she did not seem to have one. It caused Gilbert to take a step back and think about the pathways of various people in her life that did not know their passions, but discovered them over time. She has now revised her theory about passion to accommodate people who are like hummingbirds – people who flit from interest to interest, and then eventually they are able to look over the field of their lives to see what they caused to bloom. I am one of those hummingbirds. I went through life for years frustrated by the fact that I could not seem to find one passion that really rang true for me. Now the dots of my life are finally starting to come together to reveal what I am trying to do.

One concrete example of how I have followed my curiosity has to do with drawing. Over the summer, I went to visit the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport because I was curious to see how they would present the work of illustrators in a house museum National Museum of American Illustration .

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National Illustration Museum

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New Beginnings

I created a new blog header for Notes on the Jazz Age:

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What do you think? It took me a few hours to set up the “photo shoot” (if you can call it that) and to take a ridiculous amount of photos. I have always loved black and white photography, and I have vowed to learn as much as possible about it through trial and error and studying the methods of others. I also used this image to create business cards; it is perfect timing too because I only have five cards left with my old blog header.

In addition to learning photography, I have decided that I need to learn to draw. I signed up for a six-week class at the museum in Boston. We shall see how it all turns out. You will definitely see the fruits of my labor because I plan to share my experiments with photography and drawing on this blog. I would love to illustrate my stories in the future. Being a visual person, I have always been drawn to books which incorporate visuals and words.

I just shared a few of my creative adventures. Have you tried something totally new and creative lately? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Jazzy Finds: Fall 2014

The fall is my favorite time of year, especially in New England – apple cider and apple cider donuts, apple picking, fall festivals, and of course, leaf peeping to view the vibrant array of colors on display. Besides my traditional fall favorites, I found some other things to love this fall that I would like to share with you. Let’s dig in.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston – Hollywood Exhibit = I could have spent weeks in this room just staring at these gowns and reminiscing over the film clips playing on the wall.  This exhibit will be up until March; it is worth seeing if you are in the area.

MFA Hollywood

MFA Hollywood

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Colorful Lingo from the Jazz Age

Photo courtesy of Karen Bonnano Photography

Photo courtesy of Karen Bonnano Photography

I have been neglecting my blog lately and I feel truly bad about it. But I have a good excuse. I have been researching the 1920s for my novel, and it is like falling down a virtual or literary rabbit hole every time I come across something new. One of the engrossing “rabbit holes” I fell into recently is called “Bright Young Things: A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties”. The section that highlights words and phrases invented by flappers made me smile, and in some instances laugh out loud, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you:

Appleknocker = a hick

Bank’s Closed = no petting or kisses allowed

Barney-Mugging = love-making

Cake Basket = a limousine

Corn-Shredder = a young man who treads on one’s feet when dancing

Dingledangler = a persistent caller on the phone

Duddling Up = dressing up

Gimlet = a chronic bore

I wish people were this clever with words now. I know, I know – people make up words all the time, but they are rarely this colorful. If you know of any other great lingo from the 1920s, please share it in the comments. I am planning to share more tidbits from my research in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.