As an artist and creative, I’m always looking to stretch myself and try new things, sort of change things up to keep me on my creative toes but not so much that I feel strained or burdened.
JOY is what drives me to pursue different paths. My curiosity gets initiated and then I eventually just MUST make space to try out what’s been in my heart and desire to do.
One of the issues I face as a artist is putting myself in a creative box, one I invent for myself, sometimes, without even realizing it. Then I begin to feel the confinement of that box, like something doesn’t feel quite right. Like my creative freedom is being minimized somehow.
We all put ourselves in boxes of one sort or another, don’t we? And often, we have no idea that we have done so.
We just start to feel restless, like something has to change, or we might just get a little annoyed!
As a painter, for the past several years, I’m delved into intuitive transparent watercolor, both on canvas and on watercolor paper.
I built myself a portfolio, both for public viewing as well as some personal paintings I have tucked away.
But, alas, I have still felt other artistic urgings begging for attention, and I think they were starting to feel forlorn that I hadn’t done something about it already!
Well, it was just a matter of time before I broke out of my transparent watercolor box and decided to try some mixed media, often a combination of transparent watercolor and gouache paint (which is more opaque in nature), as well as adding pen work with india ink.
Plus the subject matter that has been pining after me has been fashion focused whether garments, jewelry, or handbags and shoes, etc.
In the past year, I did do several pen renderings of my own jewelry and then I added a bit of watercolor marker for a colorful flair.
But recently, I decided to make space for a fashion rendering of a colorful fur jacket that I’ve had pinned to my inspiration wall for some time now.
Out came my gouache paints and my sketchbook, and I finally went to town with a paintbrush. I didn’t do any sketching ahead of time for structure or for figure work. I just started applying paint and ran with it.
After the initial gouache groundwork, the next day I used my Winsor Newton watercolor markers and Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens for added depth and texture.
So this is basically my first attempt at rendering a fashion piece with paint and pen after many years of sketching/drawing fashions with pencil in my youth.
I was quite delighted with the result.
No, it isn’t perfect and I see my flaws. But it was a complicated piece and I’m satisfied with how it came together.
I’m sharing this with you, dear reader and friend, to show you the importance of making space for what is calling to you. Whatever it may be.
I know we all have busy lives. And we all fall into our ruts of sorts that we just naturally follow, until we feel that pining inside and finally decide to do something about it.
I’m glad I did. Yes, it took me a while from the time I pinned that image. But timing is everything.
And I did this rendering on the heels of another painting I just completed, that is a combination of transparent watercolor, gouache, and collage with card stock, which is another creative goal I have met.
Yes, in a sense, I feel like I'm on a roll with breaking out of the boxes I was in for a long time and really making space for the new.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to donate all of my time to those new ventures. I like dabbling. And I still have my go-to stippled watercolor painting I so love to do and have from the beginning of my watercolor journey that started almost 7 years ago.
My aim is to follow my intuitive heart wherever it may lead and indulge in what brings me the most creative JOY for my path.
What will your Creative Path pine for next?
Make a list of 10 ideas you want to follow. Which one is pining most for your attention right now? Start making plans to open up space for one or two ideas that you feel the most drawn to. Remember to keep it simple so it’s do-able and brings the most JOY.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Break out of your art journaling “box” and try a new approach to a spread that you’ve been wanting to try but simply haven’t made time for. See what this new approach opens up for you!
Draw a box and items in the box that that have been your go-tos, things you’ve been doing for a long time or using that you want to put aside for now.
Draw another box with the items that you are pining for or that are pining for your attention!
Subscribe to The JOY Finder here!
Get Creative with Dawn's Directives and Life Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts here!
Copyright 2017 Art Rendering by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Blog Text by Dawn Herring
Note: The image to the left is from Elle magazine and is copyright to them. Thanks for the inspiration, Elle!
Here is the audio version of the blog post, Self Care: Optional or Essential? I'm providing audio for those who prefer to listen rather than read. If you would like to read the blog post, just follow this link. Thanks for listening and you are welcome to leave a comment about how you're making self care a priority as well as give feedback for the audio! I'd love to hear from you. :)
Note: If you are interested in listening to the audio of Self Care: Optional or Essential, please click here.
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring, Self Care is at the TOP of our Priority List every day. That means, you're engaging in something you love every day, initiating your spirit being lifted, leaving you feeling fabulous, full of energy and ready to roll with your daily life tasks because you're taken care of yourself.
But the question is, are you making self-care a priority? Do you still see time for yourself doing what you love as optional rather than essential, vital, and necessary for your well being?
I would like to share with you my Top Ten Reasons to Make Self-Care Daily (and without guilt!!)
1. Self Care Boosts Your Immune System. Yes! You will actually benefit from greater health on all levels as a result of making Self Care a Priority. I know that motivates me to keep it going!
2. Self Care Gives Energy. Obviously a healthier immune system will initiate more energy in your body. And the more energy you have, the better you enjoy life.
3. Self Care Aids in Appreciation of Self. Do you appreciate yourself for Who You Are? When you engage in any kind of self care, it gives you the impetus toward really seeing yourself and appreciating what you see (perhaps instead of beating yourself up, comparing yourself to others, etc.)
4. Self Care Helps you see your Value. This goes hand in hand with self-appreciation. It can be easy to overlook what you contribute to your immediate environment of family, friends and outwardly to your community. Taking this step can initiate prevention of undervaluing yourself and what you do every day.
5. Self Care Enhances your Physical Well Being. With your immune system boosted, and your energy lifted, you're enabled to boost your physical activity, doing what you enjoy to get your blood moving and those endorphins activated to make you feel fabulous! Not to mention the health benefits of being active!
6. Self Care Initiates Stress Relief. When you engage in what you love, often what is currently on your stress radar fades into the distance as you enter the "Zone." And the more often you engage in self care, the less stress you have. Motivating, isn't it?
7. Self Care Enables Self Expression. Being able to express yourself and use your "creative voice" in whatever way lifts your spirit can really give you new ways of enjoying how you see life and how you like to share that view. And your unique "take" is different from anyone else's. And that's what the world needs!
8. Self Care Opens your Creative Flow. As you make self care a daily priority, you will see an increase in your creative ideas which can really activate some fun, inspiring action! Who wouldn't want to tap into all of that? I know I do!
9. Self Care Makes a Way to Give to Yourself. When you care for yourself regularly, you are essentially giving to yourself what you deserve: Time, creative impetus, greater value of what you contribute. You really begin to see what you've been missing and can feel like you've hit the jackpot! And when you give to yourself, then you have more to give to others. See self care as oxygen to your life dimensions. You will see growth, positive change and all kinds of good things!
10. Self Care Helps you Learn to Love Yourself. You begin to see all the ways you benefit from putting yourself first as you're feeling good, you're looking good, you're experiencing more JOY, more Happiness, a greater sense of well being and value, and your soul feels nurtured and alive.
And here's a bonus one for ya!
11. Self Care Reduces Depletion. Instead of ending up exhausted, irritable, and even resentful and angry that you have nothing left to give since you haven't given to yourself, you make way for rejuvenation, which re-energizes you. Don't wait till your depleted. Make it a daily priority so you can experience all the goodness Self Care brings to your life table.
Journaling Prompt: What does Self Care mean to you? What is the first thing that comes to mind that really showcases self care from your point of view? Let your Intuition guide you as you make a list of at least 10 ways you can initiate self care in your every day life. Start today with your favorite one!
Art Journaling Prompt: Create a Spread using Self Care as your prompt and use the colors that inspire you toward loving and caring for yourself. You can use images as collage pieces that show specific self care actions to inspire you.
Doodle Prompt: Create a fun visual using Self Care as your starting point, making fun and spontaneous marks on the page and see where it takes you.
I want to leave you with this song, The Greatest Love Of All by Whitney Houston, that is kind of an anthem here at Refresh with Dawn Herring since it truly shows the value of Loving Yourself and why it's so important to take care of yourself. Truly, when you do, it leads to positive change and opens up your Personal Empowerment like never before. (See? Two more reasons right there!) Listen and Enjoy. And then go do something right now that makes you feel fabulous!
Copyright Text 2017 Dawn Herring
I decided to try taking part in a @KellyRaeRoberts #WearyourjoySPRING event where we're supposed to wear that brings us joy and post a selfie. I am a huge advocate for wearing what brings you joy, I call it wardrobe joy. So I thought I would take part in this event and I decided to create a video for it instead of taking a selfie. Hope you enjoy when I share about what I'm wearing with what brings me joy.
Here is the audio version of my book review for Creative Revolution by Flora Bowley.
Dawn's Great Reads: Creative Revolution by Flora Bowley
I discovered Flora Bowley through her first book, Brave Intuitive Painting, which I adored. Being an intuitive watercolor painter, I was immediately drawn to Flora's approach to painting and also to life.
So, when I heard that she had a new book out, Creative Revolution, I decided to check it out and see what else she had to share about this intuitive painting process and intuitive life in general.
And I am so glad I did!
Flora's zest for an authentic creative life is very inspiring to begin with. And her intuitive painting process really resonates with me as an artist. So I thought I would share my thoughts with you concerning her book, Creative Revolution, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading and digesting.
Flora breaks the book down into three parts reflecting the dimensions of life concerning mind, body, and spirit and how each of those dimensions directly impacts the creative process and the creative life.
She shares insightful parts of her own creative story, and she generously shows her painting process from start to finish.
She has provided many insightful and eye opening exercises to help you get in a better frame of mind as you ready yourself for the creative process.
She addresses the mind, the body and the spirit and shows how they complement each other and how they influence each other in a very positive way. And she also explains the importance of paying attention to each of those dimensions and addresses issues that you may find yourself facing that create challenges for your creative process.
I find her unique approach to the actual painting of the canvas to be interesting, fun, and eye-opening. Her primary medium is acrylic paint which makes the layering process very spontaneous and has ease of use. It's amazing to see how complex and dynamic her paintings develop through this many layered process.
I also like the fact that she turns the painting in order to provide a fresh perspective on what's already there on the canvas. It can help with the problem of painting yourself into a box!
As an intuitive watercolor painter, I am more deeply experiencing a new approach with gouache, and since it has a more opaque application versus transparent watercolor, it would be interesting and fun to try this layering process with gouache and see where it might lead!
I highly recommend this book due to Flora's deep insight into the creative process with mind, body and spirit.
I'm sure that it will encourage you, inspire you, and give you some new ideas to run with in your creative process. Flora also includes many images from her live workshops and from her personal painting practice, which is beautifully done.
What brave step are you eager to take in your creative practice to enhance your every day life? What does that look like for you? Detail this in a journal entry and determine what small step you can take that will open up new pathways for you.
Art journaling/Doodle prompt:
Using images that inspire your creative mind and heart or/and using brave as a word prompt, create an journal spread or doodle that showcases your dreams in your creative life.
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Book review Header by Dawn Herring
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Dawn's Facebook Live from April 26, 2017: What is Creatively Inspiring You and Me?
I am excited to share with you my Facebook Live video recorded on April 26, 2017. I am joined by several Facebook Friends as we share what is creatively inspiring us. I talk about my FB Groups, Pages, my 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course, and I show my new painting, Phases, as well as some art supplies I use for my doodles, plus more! Thank you for watching; I hope you get inspired in your Creative Practice, whatever that looks like for you!
Here are some links for things I mentioned on the video broadcast:
21 Day Refresh Intensive Course
Dawn Herring Collection Art Gallery Fine Art Page
Your Refreshment Connection that provides links to my FB Pages/Groups and IG
My Dawn's Life Directives blog post with Audio
May JOY Find You in the Most Unexpected Places.
One of the things I often note with the issue of keeping a consistent journaling practice is the lack of relevance with what we write. Many folks start up keeping a journal but never find their particular groove of what really matters to them. They often find it depressing to write down how they're feeling or it just gets down right boring since they don't see their life as very interesting, maybe even not worth recording.
Of course, as host of #JournalChat Live for over 6 years, I beg to differ. Every life is worth recording because it's from your point of view, like no other, and your JOURNALING VOICE MATTERS. That's one of the reasons I determined to give folks a chance to share their journaling stories on their blogs and in social media statuses by offering to share their posts where #JournalChat is visible both here on my website (with reciprocating link) and here---> (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn).
Of course you are welcome to share how your journaling has had the greatest relevance to your life this year. Just follow the guidelines here.
With today's post, I wanted to share with you how my journaling practice has had the greatest relevance for me in 2016...
Although I keep a journal daily, with both am and pm entries, and with evening doodles to make it visually fun as well, there is one technique and purpose that has shown up in my journal pages this year that I think might be helpful to you as well.
One of my favorite techniques is making conversation, or what most call Dialogue. With who?, you may ask. Well, with just about anything or yourself (all parts of you). My aim with dialogue is focused on my personal well being on all levels. So when something isn't right on any of those personal levels, I will head to my journal to figure out what went wrong and what I can do to get re-aligned.
And you know what? I always get an answer to my dilemma. It amazes me what I learn just from asking the questions I want answers to. Of course, it's imperative that I actually do what I'm directed to with the answers I receive (within reason, of course). That's one of the reasons why I know keeping a journal can be a powerful tool to promote and initiate positive change that leads to personal empowerment.
You might think it odd to ask a question of yourself and actually get an answer. And maybe at first it feels a bit strange. But if you're serious about getting what you need, that's often a good prerequisite toward success. You may need to do it more than once if you haven't done it before. But, don't be shy. After all, it's your journal. And it's there for you to help you figure stuff out. And dialogue can be the perfect way to get you there.
When you actually do dialigue in your journal, just use the names to suit your situation, whether it's an emotion, a body part, a situation, a relationship or anything else you need clarity on.
Here's some dialogue to make you smile:
Me: Do you understand the value of talking to yourself (Your Higher Self) in your journal?
You: I'm not sure. I guess it's worth a try.
You betcha! (Enjoy the conversation and create positive change in your life!)
Is there a particular situation or pain you are experiencing that you need answers to? Record this situation in detail in your journal. Now begin a dialogue with the part of it that frustrates you or pains you the most and start asking questions. Pause for the answers, listening intuitively for what you need.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the word Dialogue as your prompt, doodle conversation that has great meaning for you. Use images that validate how you feel about this conversation and what result you would like to see from the situation this conversation stems from to help you gain clarity.
As the creator of a 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course, I wanted to get a Fresh Perspective on the course content and decided to engage with it once again. One of the things I appreciate about Refresh Intensive is the fact that it's evergreen, so it never grows old. We change every day, so each time we engage with questions we can answer or an activity that can show us something about ourselves, we can learn something new and profound.
I wasn't disappointed! I was quite amazed with the discoveries I made throughout the course; it really did reveal things to me I was unaware of and it also clarified and affirmed some things I've experienced before.
I don't mean to make this post an info-mercial for my course. My purpose is to simply share with you how I benefited from the journaling and other activities I engaged in and why I think it was a good investment of my time.
First, I determined to do each day's Journaling either before or after my usual personal journaling since it seemed to fit and resonate with that time the best. I was fresh and ready to dig in at that time, so I could get the most out of it.
One of the things I really love about each day's content/engagement are the options for further reflection and activity, such as art journal prompts, poetry ideas and more, and I felt like I could just run with something that really resonated and not feel obligated to do something that didn't interest me.
I think the use of COLOR was the most FUN element in whatever context it was contained in. I found the music topic to be revealing and even profound as I worked through the questions.
I think really focusing on my preferences and why I loved what I was drawn to so much helped me appreciate my own personality on a deeper level because of what I learned about myself in the process.
I've shared an image of items I found during two of my "Field Trips" I did for those portions of the course.
I had a great time following the directions and questions about my Field Trip experiences and what they had to teach me on a deeper level. I was surprised by how much I learned from these activities.
Journaling is a powerful tool that I use daily, and yet, engaging in the journaling exercises in this course showed me things I might not have otherwise discovered if I hadn't worked through those specific processes. I answered the questions as honestly as I could and I think that really initiated a more profound and enlightening "opening up" to Who I Am in the process.
Each activity truly gave me food for thought. And as I looked back on each one during my Wrap Up time, I was freshly appreciative of what I learned and look forward to going even deeper in the days ahead.
There are suggested ways to extend each activity, if it especially resonated with you. I found this especially helpful in the EMOTION days and the DECISION MAKING activities.
Of course, COLOR is a part of my daily life as a watercolor painter, so using it in a fresh context really made it fun and insightful and revealing into deeper dimensions of Who I Am.
I really look forward to more insights, reveals and fun fabulousness as I engage once again with a Refresh Intensive, with the purpose of always Activating My Intuition, Honoring My Preferences and Listening to my Life Messages. I always want to know what my Life has to say to me!
Creating Awareness and Appreciating Myself For Who I Am are key elements to Refresh Intensive, not to mention being personally empowered by recognizing things that I didn't realize before where positive change can be initiated toward a more refreshed life.
What specific choice can you make for yourself right now that will create more awareness of your preferences? How can you celebrate specific elements of your personality? What there something you did today especially that you can celebrate as a direct result of a choice you made today to honor your preferences?
Art Journal Prompt:
Create an art journal spread to show appreciate for a specific aspect of your personality that you don't normally like to pay attention to and give it homage. Do this from the heart without hesitation.
You're welcome to check out my 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course to see how it might benefit you.
So, here we are at Back to School Time. Where the school supplies are in abundance (Stocked up on those trusty composition notebooks of course!) and the kids are getting ready to start classes to get them one step closer to graduation, to meeting goals, to establishing what their direction will be and to figure out their purpose.
This time of year can also be a source of inspiration toward life-long learning and activating self-discovery as we choose to go deeper into Who We Are. As we watch the kids gets their school supplies, clothes and gear gathered, we can also be inspired by what motivates us and where our curiosities are bringing us. This can enable us to learn something new about ourselves, which can lead to more self-appreciation as well as motivation to initiate positive change.
As an artist, I am constantly looking for inspiration by taking photographs, looking through magazines, and watching videos, reading inspiring blog posts, articles and reading books and also listening to podcasts.
And I often find it!
And when I do, I get excited and motivated to look more closely at my own motivation, direction and purpose as a creator.
One thing I've already learned in my life-long pursuit of educating myself about Who I Am and What My Purpose Is is to always be willing to make a change when it's needed, with no apology, no second guessing.
When I see what is working, I look to expand on that. When I see what isn't working, I start journaling, connecting with Spirit and determining what my next step is.
Life is constantly changing, just like our kids and grandkids do as we see their growth and feel proud of their accomplishments as they learn about Who They Are, what talents they possess, and how they can leave their meaningful mark in the world.
And because of that flux of change, we need to always be looking for new opportunities to grow, to create, to discover, to go deeper.
That's why I love my creative practice so much. Each activity I choose to engage in, as often as I choose to engage in it, is another way of learning about myself, giving myself space to think, dream, love, discover, follow "rabbit holes" of curiosity, and learning to be more flexible with myself with what I choose to do, what supplies I choose to work with, and with what I choose to express myself.
It's easy to fall into a creative rut, doing the same thing over and over. That's when it's good to change things up, be open to new possibilities and try new things, things that excite your heart and make you want to do a happy dance.
And a happy dance in just the beginning. Who knows where our creative practice can lead us, what new places we have yet to explore and what new inspiration will come across our path and lead us into a new love?
See yourself as a student of your Creativity; see what it has to teach you; listen carefully and relish each moment. No, not everything we do has to be "just so." Stay open to making mistakes (If you perceive them that way) and not being completely satisfied with the job you did. That's okay. It's all a learning process.
I think one of the key issues is being True To Yourself.
Honor Your Preferences. Pay Close Attention to Your Intuitive Nudges. Follow Those Curiosities.
What Life Message can you glean from each creative experience, each creative act, each creative project, each creative journey?
Enjoy each creative moment, whether you're going solo or sharing it with your kids or grandkids. Let Life Teach You and Relish the Learning.
What does your creative practice teach you? What have you learned about yourself, your creative work, your world? What is the most recent creative experience you've had and what did it show you about yourself? What positive change can you initiate based on what you now know? Celebrate in your journal what you've learned!
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a Back to Your Creative Practice spread, using images of creative projects you've completed and what they have taught you about yourself. Or dream on the page about what you want to learn and try that is new for you.
And if you're wanting to go a bit deeper into Activating Your Intuition, Honoring Your Preferences and Listening to Your Life Messages, you're welcome to check out my 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course.
Copyright 2016 Dawn Herring
I just love that word. It's something you feel on the inside that makes you want to do a happy dance, but only if you make space for it.
It's easy to allow the distractions of this life to fill up the space where joy can be felt and experienced.
What kind of distractions?
Well, let's see.
"Obligations" that aren't really the obligations that you think they are.
Conversations that are completely irrelevant to you.
Getting stuck in a rut that you've created for yourself.
Feeling boxed in by responsibility that you think you have to attend to at a certain time when you really don't have to. (This can feel heavy which is the opposite of JOY.)
Unnecessary activity that doesn't add to you or enhance your daily life experience.
So, what do you do with all this distraction?
I think the first step is recognizing what is a distraction in your life and how much space it's taking up. You may be surprised with how much room you can make in your life for the JOY you really want just by eliminating what isn't necessary and just focusing on what really matters to you.
You know what question I often ask myself when I want more JOY?
"What do you really want to do right now?"
You see, we often think we want things that we don't want when we really stop to think about it. If we're truly honest with ourselves, life can be much simpler and satisfying when we listen to our hearts.
And that makes sense since it's our heart that feels the JOY when we create it or when it happens spontaneously. Keeping our "ears" open for what is distracting us and taking action to remove or greatly reduce it can help us be more open to the JOY that awaits us with greater awareness and mindfulness of how we are spending our days.
I love it when I experience JOY in my heart when I choose to eliminate what is unnecessary and focus on what really matters. Then I know I'm truly aligned with Who I Am and I'm more able to leave my meaningful mark in the world.
List any and all distractions you currently have going on in your life. Determine the first one you will look to eliminate or greatly reduce to make more space for JOY. Take note of how you feel once that distraction has been dealt with and the space it makes for you to feel more JOY.
Art Journal Prompt:
Use the word JOY as an art journal prompt, showing and telling what brings you JOY. You can also create a spread expressing how you feel when you reduce the distractions in your life, honoring this positive change you have chosen for yourself.
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.
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