Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no such thing as a new idea. Mark Twain

What a glorious weekend for a hike. The trees are ablaze in all their autumn glory. The sky was a certain shade of blue, the air crisp and invigorating.  About twenty-five of us went for a lovely hike on Saturday morning. We were home by lunch with the rest of the day spreading before us.

Yesterday I met a friend for tea and signed my children’s book she’s giving to nieces and nephews and one for herself. I found a beautiful children’s book at Value Village yesterday. I’m collecting them for reference on color schemes and how they are illustrated.

There is a phrase, steal like an artist. It means we get inspiration from other people’s work and incorporate those ideas into our own original work. We might find a great color scheme from one and a rhyming scheme from another. We might look at how people are depicted and how trees and landscapes are rendered.

Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night is one I used in my children’s book. The idea behind stealing like an artist is to honor, study, steal from many, give credit, transform, and remix. If we degrade, skim, steal from only one, plagiarize, imitate, or rip off then we are not doing it right.

I don’t know if how I used Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night passes the test. In my own mind, it does and people who read the book will make up their own minds. We may not know what, “Finding our voice” means, but over time we develop a style that is our own. We might not even realize it is happening but there becomes cohesiveness in the colors we choose, the way we depict trees, rocks, or people, and how abstract or real we depict our subjects.

When we are in the creative process things will jump out at us that we can add to our work. Instead of creating a tree from our mind, we find a tree that has an interesting shape. When we use reference material instead of just our imagination we are more likely to get it right. It is hard to imagine how folds of fabric fall, and paint them in a believable way but when we look at a reference photo we are more likely to render it correctly. Our reference library can become quite large. We want to be able to look up how a cardinal’s feet grip a branch, or how they would sit on someone’s hand. Even with reference material, we may not get it correct, but we can figure out what isn’t quite right. Sometimes we can fix it in that painting, sometimes we have to do another painting which still might not be quite right because getting things perfect is difficult.

Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it. Dan Harmon

Perfection is the enemy of the good. If we strive for perfection often we will give up, we will never publish the book because it will never be good enough. We all have to decide when something is “Good enough.” Then we can move on to a new project.

A life of creativity is about change. We move forward, take chances, and explore new frontiers. We try new recipes, we find new fabrics for our quilts, we find something new to explore in our painting, we discover new plants to grow in our garden, and we can take photos of new vistas. Living a life of discovery and adventure is not about the big things. We can find a new hiking trail in our own backyard. We don’t have to lament we can’t travel to far-flung places. We can cook with new spices, or maybe it’s time to go back to our roots and rediscover the food we loved as a child.

Life is a journey we need to keep growing, developing, and finding joy in what is before us. We all have the sun shining on our faces, the wind blowing in our hair (If we have hair), and stars and the moon above us. Beauty and bounty are all around us. Inspiration is everywhere. There isn’t enough time to do everything. We can create what calls out to us to create, admire what calls out to be admired, and be grateful for what we have and who we are.

Life is a journey and we can choose to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Work is never finished, only abandoned. Paul Valery

It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. Susan Sontag

A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome. Michael Jackson

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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