Tag Archives: 4-chicks-and-a-muse

Inspired by The Artist’s Studio

22 May

I found another post on Freshly Pressed and was absolutely inspired by it!   It includes pictures from inside the studio of a successful NYC artist.   Though I don’t consider myself a visual artist (well, not drawing, painting, pottery, etc,) I love, love, love being in their workspaces.  I love the ideas made visual, the shapes and, most of all, the colors.   The site it’s posted on is called Underground Biz which makes me want to go visit NYC. Right. Now.  And Paige, the author, seems like a supercool Chick.

Check out the post here:    http://undergroundbiz.net/2011/05/12/inside-the-artists-studio/#comment-300

Here’s a pic of another “studio” though I won’t say whose.  Do places like these inspire you?

Make Something of Yourself

20 May

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of CreativityChapter 3: Discovering a Sense of Perspective

“The readings and talks of this week aim at detoxifying your thinking regarding the arts and your place as an artist in our society.  Art is tonic and medicinal for us all.  As an artist, you are a cultural healer.” ~Julia Cameron

This week, the Chicks looked beyond the barriers in their way, used their frustration as fuel, and made a slightly, er… different video.  As always, they shared their candid thoughts with each other, and with you, dear reader, about the art they are making and the artists they are becoming.  What are you making, and making of yourself, this week?   

Kimberley – Northern California

18 May

 Our latest Chick Story comes from Kimberley Johnson, an author, editor and former daytime drama actress, now collaborating with her mother in publishing anthologies.  Here, Kimberley shares a bit about her journey and some insight into the self-publishing path.  Their first book, The Virgin Diaries, may be found on Amazon both in Kindle format for only $2.99 and in print.  They will soon publish a second book.

The year 2010 marked the start of my own business.  Actually, I partnered up with my mother, Ann Werner, to create Ark Stories.  Our goal and mission is to produce anthologies exploring the human experience.  Later this year we will be adding Ark Fiction and making Ann’s fiction books available.

Our first book, The Virgin Diaries, debuted last April.  We interviewed seventy-two anonymous men and women about what it feels like to have first time sex.  The stories are split equally among gender and includes six gay stories, also equally split.  No commentary is provided, allowing readers to form their own conclusions.  The result is a completely unique book which allows the reader to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, and bear witness to one of life’s most pivotal experiences.  

Prior to my life as an author, I was an actress for a decade, appearing on the daytime drama Days Of Our Lives as a police officer for more than seven years.  On a more pedestrian level, I also worked as a sales rep for various industries including fine bone china, industrial chemicals and energy.

My decision to start in a new direction was facilitated by the crash of the economy.  I had been collecting stories on and off for six years.  My mother joined me in collecting and editing the stories and together we decided to self publish.  As luck would have it in the fall of 2009, I reconnected with Ralph Faust, a gentleman I knew from high school and he did the formatting and provided art work.

Marketing and promoting self published books has been an interesting journey.  My experience in sales and as an actress was definitely to my benefit.  It enabled me to utilize my “hunter” mentality to seek out various avenues of possibilities.  Facebook has given me the opportunity to meet and network with other artists and authors.  We exchange information and help each other.  Twitter is also an amazing way to meet and reach out to others in a very targeted way.

It is important as an author, whether you are self published or not, to utilize all the social media that is available to you.  I have used Help A Reporter Out and Reporter Connection to find people in the media looking for stories that relate to my book.  We have done numerous radio interviews and been reviewed in several publications as well as online book clubs.  It is important for authors to seek out publicity on their own because no one cares for your project more than you.

Our second book debuting May 2011 is titled Ain’t No Sunshine – Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak.  Thirty-eight anonymous men were generous enough to really expose their deepest feelings about lost love and what we found is, these stories also provide insight into how they view love in general.  The stories have opened our eyes about how men process love and rather than it being a sad book, it has turned out to be most insightful.  We anticipate a lot of conversation about the content.  One thing we will do differently is stay out of bookstores.  With our first book, we were in many local independent stores.  We did realize some success with sales but not enough to justify doing it again and have found more success in online promotion.

Because the Internet allows you to reach a global audience, we approach bloggers who review our specific genre as well as reaching out to book clubs across the country.  It is a fantastic way to get our books in to the hands of our exact target audience.  So far the experience has proved successful.

Even though our books are non-fiction, I believe it is important to blog.  Blogging provides another way to allow people to get a sense of who you are and what you’re doing.  It is important to sell your product but also to sell yourself.  As a sales person, I learned that lesson.  When people like you, and what you stand for they are more likely to check out your work.

The self publishing wave is at the very beginning.  It is an exciting time and all of the authors involved are the ones setting the standards and paving the way.

My career as an author has been thrilling. I have had the opportunity to meet interesting people and, with the use of social media, I have been able to reach more than I ever could have  just a few years ago.

If you would like more information on our books, please visit our website arkstories.com.

The Art of Motherhood, starring the “A-Muse-ing” Kids

7 May

This miniature-staffed episode of Chick Chat recognizes the fine art of motherhood.  For moms the world over know that creativity is essential to survival.  How else could they hazard the occupational perils– from time-outs and tantrums to wipe-outs and, well, still keeping their marriage interesting?

Yes, besides searching for memotherhood is something all four of my Chicks have in common.  Not only that – they’re each the mother of a ten-year old; in fact, the 4 Chicks came to know each other all together through these kids.  So now, in honor of Mother’s Day, these young artists have a chance to muse about their moms and share some insightful thoughts on creativity – both theirs and their moms. Join them now and find out what advice they have for everyone on how to find their inner artist.

Is Reading a Creative Effort?

5 May

Is reading a creative effort?  I’ve been pondering this question lately.  Actually, since I read the post Would You Rather Be Productive or Creative? on broadsideblog.wordpress.com.   It’s a thought provoking post, examining how one may come at the expense of the other.   I do often feel like these two things are in conflict, if by ‘productive’ we mean revenue producing.  

In a way, reading seems to be neither.   When I read, I am neither producing nor creating.  Interestingly, when juxtaposed with reading, the two seem more alike than different.  But I digress. 

The issue at hand is – am I being creative when I read?  Or is it another form of diversion?   Something else to do (albeit enjoyable) which keeps me from writing, or working, or paying bills?   Perhaps a form of self-soothing, enlisted in place of dealing with stressful, real-life issues?   It may be all these things, but I still feel it is a creative effort.   Why?   I suppose because it engages my imagination.  I picture the characters.  I picture the scenes.  And then, often I start picturing my own scenes, creating scenarios in my head for my own characters. 

I am delighted to find I’m not alone.  Charly Lester has again written a post on her blog, The Elementary Circle, that totally resonated with me: Give Yourself An Inspirational Day.  In it, she also mentions that when she is looking for inspiration, reading is on the top of her list.  

Although creative works do not happen without the ‘work’ part, it is also true that they do not happen without the inspiration.   Like the seed growing underground before finally sprouting and showing itself to the world, these thoughts, emotions, visions must germinate and begin drawing nourishment from the soil around them.  Reading is my soil.

Spending time in solitude with your artist child is essential to self-nurturing. ~Julia Cameron, the Artist’s Way

Secret Dreams – Task Chapter 2

4 May

When we are changing sizes and shapes as an artist, we often are afraid of looking foolish.  We want to be “finished.” We want to be “good at it.”  We want to read the review that explains, “Well worth the creative risk!” Unfortunately, change and the risks that go with it invite feelings of vulnerability.  Sometimes, simply blurting out our secret dream is a tremendous relief, so that’s what we will try to do here on paper.  Finish the following phrases as fast as you can:  

– Julia Cameron

1. If it weren’t so foolish, I’d love to try: I’ve mentioned this before, I would love to go skydiving!

2. If it weren’t so expensive, I’d love to own a:  House Boat

3. If I were twenty-one again, I would let myself study: Looking back now I would have gone to film school.  But at that time I had not discovered my love for capturing wonderful moments on video.  I wanted to study dramatic arts but felt insecure regarding pursuing something that I would not be able to find work.

4. If I could take the next five years off, all expense paid I’d study: Oh my God the things I would do.

  1. Would love to take a workshop with National Geographic expedition in some exotic location and learn to take amazing pictures.
  2. Learn to be a Yoga Instructor
  3. Sign up for courses at the New York Film Academy
  4. Expand on my nutrition classes by taking sports nutrition
  5. Work and finish my documentary

I think that is pretty much everything that I could accomplish in 5 years.

5. If it weren’t so nuts, I’d love to try: I would love to train for Kona Ironman.  But really train to compete.

6. If I gave in to my secret dreams, I would let myself: Enjoy it and not feel guilty.  These are dreams that would take me away from my family.  I have children to think of.  These are dreams should have been done when I was young and single.  This does not mean that I can’t pursue these but it does make it more difficult.

7. If I’d had ideal parents and a perfect childhood, I’d be a: This is a hard question to answer.  I had the ideal mother, she never stopped me from pursuing what I wanted to do.  She really tried to please me as much as she could financially on whatever I wanted to accomplish at that time.

8. The dream I have never told anyone is:  Well it seems I already told you my dreams.

9. The artist I admire and think I am a lot like is: There are so many artist that I admire but I don’t feel I’m a lot like them.  So I can’t really answer this question.

10: The artist I secretly look down on because I have more talent is:  This is an interesting question, I really don’t have any artist that I look down on because I feel I have more talent than them.  What I sometimes feel is that I look at some artist that have had the same challenges and lifestyle as me and they were able to accomplish their dreams when I didn’t.  But I realize the difference between them and me is a sense of confidence, a feeling of not worrying about what others think of me and just taking the leap.

So, what has this task helped me realize?   It’s that my dreams are not so out there that I can’t ever accomplish them; I just need to choose to do things a little differently.  Example:

1. Skydiving – Only need to find a good company, pay and jump!

2. National Geographic – I really can’t spend that kind of money and leave my family for 10 days but I could take a photography class locally for a few weeks.

3. Yoga Instructor – My gym teacher gives Yoga class.  I only would need to sign up for one.

4. Film School – This one is a little harder to accomplish.  But I’m hoping that vlogging will help me become a better videographer.

5. Documentary – I do go to Puerto Rico for one whole month.  I can take that time and work on my documentary there.  This will give me time to clear my mind and really work on where I want the documentary to go.  Why haven’t I started you may ask?  It’s because I can take it in so many different directions that I don’t even know where to start and get frustrated and turn out doing nothing.

5. Sports Nutrition –  I’m already going to school for nutrition.  I just need to expand on it.

6. Kona Ironman – This one is a little harder since it does take so much time to train.  When you work full-time, have kids and are trying to go to school, you can’t help but wonder “when would I find the time?”

7. House Boat –  Need to start buying Florida Lottery tickets LOL!

So, what are your secret dreams?

Believing Mirrors

2 May

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity – Chapter 2: Discovering a Sense of Proportion

Recently, my dear Chicks sought out self-definition as they discussed mirrors. No, not the mirror on the bathroom wall. The mirror that reflects who we are meant to be as an artist. What they found is that they share something in common – each other as Believing Mirrors.  If they look hard enough, they will see the possibilities of what they can become, of what they truly are.

Try looking into your Believing Mirror and find the inspiration, the creativity, the artist within yourself.

Our First Chuck: Jason – Orlando, Florida

28 Apr

This week’s Chick Story comes from our very first “Chuck”, the multi-talented Graphic Designer who created our wonderful logo.  Like all those Chicks out there, we welcome all those Chucks, too–fellow aspiring artists of every stage and path who are actively seeking greater creative fulfillment.

Where to Start? – An Artist’s Struggle

A blank page. A dry canvas. Fingers lying gently on piano keys, unsure of which one to press first. An empty screen with nothing more than a cursor, mocking you with each blink; it waits impatiently for text to appear. Standing on an open stage yearning to perform; yet your body remains frozen as your mind draws a blank. Even the most creative minds come across moments like these. Is it due to a lack of imagination? Or is it perhaps a lack of motivation to propel you forward? For me, it is the exact opposite.

As most of us do, every morning I go through my usual routine:  wake up, get ready for work, grab something to eat (if there’s still time—never happens), jump in my car and go. On my journey, I come across things that inspire me, things that fill my head with so many ideas and possibilities. It could be the color gradations of the rising sun tempting me to do a painting. A radio ad or song may come on which makes me think of a song to write or gets me in the mood to create a voiceover reel. Whatever the case may be, I find myself constantly being tugged in multiple directions, not knowing where to begin. I like to think of it as “Creative Overload.”

Now I know this happens to everyone for the most part, and it doesn’t always come attached with creativity. We all have so many tasks and responsibilities that we find ourselves stressing over what to do next,  so then we try to think calmly and remember that old Russian proverb that goes, “If you chase two rabbitsyou will not catch either one.” So you think, okay, one thing at a time. Got it. Well, the only problem is when you add creativity into the equation it no longer becomes a “chore” or an “obligation.” Creative ideas become plans in your head that are backed with passion and conviction; some ideas are difficult to prioritize as they all seem so vivid and wonderful.

So which dream do you fulfill first? Which idea do you make a reality? With each new one, another emerges that seems even better than the former. Like an untamed tree the branches of possibilities become too many too quickly. I tell myself there’s so many that I just can’t choose one and the end result is: I have nothing. Sometimes in order to have something we need to accept the fact that we won’t be able to do it all, but if we choose just one idea and shut out every other idea for that moment, we’ll end up with something finished. It’s truly amazing how it’s simpler to focus on a single project and get it done, than it is to keep coming up with excuses why you have nothing to show the world. It all starts with that single idea and that blank page—that dry canvas—that empty screen.

Expand Your Creative Identity

26 Apr

The 4 Chicks Chat about Chapter 2: Discovering a Sense of Proportion (PART 1)

This [chapter] inaugurates an ongoing process of self-definition.  As you redraw the boundaries and limits within which you have lived, you draw yourself to a fuller size. Coming into ourselves, we sometimes encounter resistance from those in our immediate environment.  The readings and tasks of this week aim at bolstering the sense of a realistic self in the face of difficulty and even discounting.

– Julia Cameron, Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity

If you’re burning to find me–the Muse–YOU can be a part of  the Chick Chat, too.  Here’s how to play at home:

    1. The 4 Chicks read a chapter.
    2. The Chicks meet and discuss the chapter.
    3. Over the next month or so, the Chicks do the tasks in the chapter and blog about it along the way.
    4. You’re invited to do the same and/or comment on the blog, sharing your own experiences and Chick Stories.
    5. You may even consider starting your own 4 Chicks group to simultaneously work through either this book or its prequel, Cameron’s ground-breaking The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.
I’m waiting for you to find me…

Did You Do Week 1 Tasks?

20 Apr

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of CreativityChapter 1: Discovering a Sense of Origin

Ahhh, my faithful Chicks. They did the tasks assigned for Week 1.  Little did they know, each time they attempted a task, I was there.  When they made lists of small creative actions they could take, I was whispering in their ear.   Here, they chat about their experience completing these tasks. And I was there when they discussed their progress, dancing in the space between them.  It was delightful eavesdropping on their conversation.  I hope you enjoy eavesdropping too.

And, how about you?  Did you do the tasks?  If you are seeking me, I highly recommend them.  If you don’t have the book yet, it’s not too late.  Borrow or buy a copy and get started today.

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