Recently I was invited to participate in a Creative Blog Hop. It is a way for bloggers to give their followers a peek into their creative process. Another great thing about this perpetual blog hop is that we get to introduce some of the wonderful blogs that we follow for inspiration.
Today I get to introduce the wonderfully talented Kevin of McCrafty's Cards. If you have been around the online card making world for any length of time you have probably heard of Kevin. His designs are that good. Not only are his creations over-the-top gorgeous and his colouring skills spot-on, he does all this with only one good eye. Kevin also makes fabulous salt dough creations. And he leaves lovely comments on other people's blogs. If you have not heard of Kevin, give yourself a treat and pay a visit to his blog. Kevin will publish his Creative Blog Hop post next Monday.
Each blogger on the hop is asked to answer the following 4 questions:
1. What am I working on now?
That should be easy to answer, but it is not. My biggest current project is my fantasy novel series, "Tales of Ellmoria". I wrote the first draft of Book One last November during the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge with no plan whatsoever. I am still wading through the mess of trying to revise and chapter-ize it. That brings me to my next big project - outlining Book Two of the series, which I plan to write for this year's NaNoWriMo challenge. Hopefully a decent outline will save me the headache of trying to revise such a tangled mess as I ended up with last year.
This past year I have been discovering the artist within me. I am learning to paint, draw, collage and art journal. I'm particularly interested in mixed media art where I can merge my poetry and art together.
I still make greeting cards, but not as many as I used to and most of them are simple designs. I have made a few cards with watercolour paintings on them, thanks to some wonderful beginner tutorials from The Frugal Crafter.
2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I think creativity is as individual as a finger print. I love seeing the many varied expressions of creativity online. Everyone has his or her own style and that is what makes it so wonderful.
As for my card making, I like to use paper scraps and I'm always interested to see how others use up their scraps. I keep my scraps in a handy basket next to my desk. Each colour is in its own zipper bag. Here are a couple of cards I made with paper scraps.
Most of my art has a spiritual element. I often incorporate prayers, scriptures or poetry into it. I love words, so merging them with my art seems quite natural for me.
3. Why do I create what I do?
I started making cards shortly after a move that took me away from friends and family. I remember my brother's reaction to my first handmade card. He was very touched that I made something with my hands for him.
Now I am able to make gifts of my art, as well as my cards. I have been able to bring joy, comfort and encouragement to many through my little gifts and that is a big blessing to me.
If I want to maintain a healthy state of mind and soul I need to make creativity a priority in my life. That is a lesson I learned after I had lost almost all of my creativity. I felt like an empty shell. Card making was like a lifeline to my creative self. It has only been in the last year or so that I have been able to write again. Now I am doing more, creatively, than I had ever imagined.
4. How does my creative process work?
It would be wonderful if every painting or piece of writing just came to me. Sometimes that happens and it is incredible. But most often creativity needs a jump-start.
Thematic challenges: When I feel totally uninspired, but I need to make a card for someone, I look up a colour challenge, a sketch challenge and perhaps one other thematic challenge. I combine them and end up with a great design in spite of my lack of mojo.
Study & Practice: I try to watch at least a couple of art tutorials per week. Sometimes I try to follow along. Other times I just watch and try to absorb what knowledge I can. But nothing replaces practice. I usually start off feeling rather awkward and might have to draw or paint the same thing several times before the process starts to feel more natural to me.
Intuitive Art: This is a marvellous way for me to connect with and create with God. It is where I leave the knowledge I have accumulated in my head and set my heart free. I put on inspirational music and ease myself into a time of sweet communion with my Heavenly Father. The art is secondary. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. My goal is not the creation; it is the Creator.
Sometimes I will get a picture in my head and start to draw it. Usually I just get the impression of a motion and specific colours. I will take whatever I have on hand - a Gelato, paint, pencil crayon - and move that colour over my page in whichever way my hand wants to go. I often use my whole arm and sweeping motions when I create this way. I never know what will show up on the page. I just keep worshipping God throughout the process. (Sometimes my eyes are closed) My motions and the colours are in response to Him. Usually an image starts to emerge from within the sweepings of motion and colour. I am often very surprised at what comes out. Later on, I will tighten up the art piece with more definition and sometimes add wording. The pregnant bride below was one such art piece that really surprised me.
If you took the time to read this whole post I thank you very much.
Blessing hugs & Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians,