Posts tagged ‘Art’

Writer’s Self Doubt

Am I good enough? It is the question that haunts our minds at one point or another, and if you have written for some time, you know what I mean. You might have 4,5,6 … 15 books under your belt, and that moment of weakness can take your breath away, and with it, chisel a bit of confidence. If you let it, it will keep chiseling until it creates a masterpiece of doubt, and at its worst, of fear. It is at that moment of balancing the writer-self with the ego when one wonders (or wanders), and even dares to question if it all makes sense. If you have been there (or are there), it is normal. Artists, whether writers, painters, sculptors … and any human that is passionate about something, passionate enough to doubt that is, will go through this act of balancing. The image of a circus clown crossed my mind.

Am I good enough? The only way to answer this is to keep going and find out. This is not the time to stop and wonder, but to keep pressing the dream, and regain your breath. At each breath of the pen, the air clears out, and with it any hints of fear that might try to creep up in the writer’s soul. After all, we are in a game of souls, and the mind chooses the setting, and the words flow.

Am I good enough? You’ll never know unless you press on.

 

*Sunrise Souls update – I am in the last revision phase, and almost ready for publication. This one has taken my breath away.

How to Tame a Multi-Creative Spirit

TameChanged from natural wilderness to a manageable state. (American Heritage Dictionary)

 

The above definition will serve the tone of this post. As creatives we have an abundance of inspiration flowing, and many times, this same flow overwhelms our creative spirit. A person who seems to have many talents, or ways in which this flow of inspiration is expressed may find it difficult to focus on one talent, thus making it challenging to grow or develop a talent further. A multi-creative spirit may find itself in creative chaos at a particular moment becoming a bit confused as where to focus the intention to create. A writer may feel the need to pursue painting or photography, or any other artistic interest, pulling himself/herself away from the writing career that he/she is following. Many times, this burst of creative passion leads to doubt as to what path to follow. A person may be talented in many areas, however as human beings we live within the constrictions of a material world ruled by time and space, making it difficult to create as much as we wish to, and leaving us in creative exhaustion, spreading ourselves too thin, and eventually opening a door to frustration. So, what is a multi-creative spirit to do?

Focus seems to be the answer. Whether you are great at writing or painting or many more creative venues is not the issue here, but how to manage your creative state in a way that leaves you feeling outside of creative chaos, more fulfilled, and with a clear vision. It is fine to love all your talents and feel equally passionate about them, however one of them will need to be placed first in your fulfillment scale. Prioritizing next the rest of your passions. You may want to dedicate more time developing and growing as a writer, while enjoying your painting as a hobby or as a secondary source of income or fulfillment and not necessarily tied to your income, to present an example. This will take the pressure of the need to be “great” at every talent or perform 100 percent in all, at all times. It brings to mind the adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

As we live, we evolve, and so do our interests and passions. Wanting to excel in all our creative passions/interests might feel natural; however, when we learn to tame our multi-creative spirit it might lead to a better use of our talents, less frustration, and peace of mind, thus a more relaxed state of being that becomes fertile ground for inspiration to flow without the natural constraints that we put on it. In the end, it may work to our advantage and facilitate a state of creativity that leads to mindful fulfillment and nourishing of the creator in us. In this way we respect our gifts, as well as our creative self, and ultimately, the Creator and Giver of it all.

Versatile

versatile-blogger-wordpress

I want to thank Oawritingspoemspaintings for The Versatile Blogger nomination. I’m honored because someone thought of this blog enough to nominate it. I don’t take these awards for granted.

If you enjoy poetry and art, as well as a bit of everything in good measure, stop by Oawritingspoemspaintings and enjoy what this blogger has to offer. You will find something to your liking. The blog is undergoing a bit of fixing the images, but be patient, it will get done; in the mean time, you can enjoy the many other sections this versatile blogger has.

Thanks again Oawritingpoemspaintings for nominating Inkspeare.

The Most Needed Break After a Novel – Emotional Exhaustion

English: Emotions Q-sort

English: Emotions Q-sort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Emotionally exhausted – that is how I feel after writing the first draft of a novel. I find that the first draft takes a large chunk of energy out of me. Possibly because I find myself experiencing the moods and emotions of characters as I write them, and because most of the time I do not follow a rich or detailed outline, and many times the characters drive the novel. Sometimes, I do not know the ending. This is true for the novel I am writing now – The Book of Sharon. Unlike the other two, it has brought me to a new level of emotional exhaustion, and I have found myself needing to take a longer break from it during periods of writing. Part of it is because it takes a different format from the earlier novels, but also, because it is written in different voices, besides my voice as an author. It responds to the character’s individuality, but also to at least three different tones throughout, as part of the new format. It has proven to be a challenge.

After the first draft (hopefully the end of December for this one), I need to take a few weeks off from a novel before proceeding to a second draft and rewrites. I do that for every draft after. It helps me unplug not only from emotions, but also disconnect my brain from the novel, so I can approach it fresh for the next draft.  In order to go through rewrites, I need to disconnect from it as much as I can.  I have to leave the writer behind close doors, and become a reader, before it goes through other sets of eyes, and a last edit.

In general, I think writers and artists have a heightened sense of emotions, and awareness of environment. When we immerse ourselves in a fictional world, we end up experiencing a lot of it, at the same time we are creating, and it could be refreshing and exhausting. This is why sometimes, writers tend to see the editing process from outsiders with cautious eyes. The question seems to be, how can this person totally understand this world I have created, if he/she has not lived in and through it? The question is the answer. Precisely because of it; because a reader is not the writer, he/she comes to the story detached, and this enables him/her to view it with unbiased sight.

I have read that the first novel (published or not), the first story a writer creates, has a lot of the writer’s experiences/issues in it, camouflaged, and many times, it responds to an internal healing process, whether the writer becomes aware of it or not during the creative process. It is because of this closeness that a writer might not see what is missing in the pages, what is not clear to the reader; to the writer it is there, in his mind and heart, present at all times, but not necessarily clear enough for the reader.

Emotional exhaustion during writing may present itself as a total mind and heart fatigue, but also as a need to retreat for a while, as well as a resistance to go back to the story and keep on writing (not to be confused with writer’s block). One must be cautious to not overdo or over extend a much-needed break.

 

The Art of the Retablo

I have a passion for old religious pieces – large gesso or chalkware saint sculptures, old wood santos, nichos or retablos that represent folklore … There is something romantic about those pieces. Religious art has evolved since human started making art, till’ this day, and will continue to do so. One thing that I notice is how the expression on the faces of sculptures have change over the years – from a reverent and languid appeal to a more “normal” or “joyful” state.  Here is a picture of an antique italian chalkware statue of the Holy Family dating from the early 1900’s versus a contemporary statue depicting the same characters.

Antique sculpture of the Holy Family Antique sculpture of the Holy Family

Contemporary statue

Contemporary statue

If you notice the facial expressions, on the later sculpture the characters are looking up, almost in a happy state or “hello” demeanor, while in the older statue, the figures seem more solemn, reverent, and almost sad, or peaceful. There are many differences between these two statues, including the lack of detail of the base, feet, and clothing … .

One of the items that I love to recreate is the old retablo, an art that almost disappeared at one time. Retablos are supposed to be made of wood, hand painted, and with a rustic appeal, almost as if the artist worked with the “few materials at hand” reminiscent of the traditions of the populace, the people of faith who made them. Here is one of my Retablos or Nichos (niche) of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I created this sculpture using a variety of mixed materials. I am working on a few other retablos, and designs (I know, I should be writing – but sometimes I need a little break to recharge my batteries). In each of my religious sculptures, I hide a small gemstone, in this case,  a tiny opal. Can you spot it? You might need to use the zoom feature. Here is the photo.

Virgin of Guadalupe Retablo

Virgin of Guadalupe Retablo

Here is a closer look.

Guadalupe Virgin by Maria Antonia Diaz

Guadalupe Virgin by Maria Antonia Diaz

I enjoy making these. You can find more information about this piece at my online store – where I let go and just create.

In addition to retablos, another lost art is the one of the “Wood Santos” or “Santos de Palo” that is part of many Latin America cultures, as well as European folklore. You can see the same old vs. contemporary features in these. The old santos had live detail, as if the artist or devoted revered the piece while crafting it. Today pieces lack that, almost looking faceless, with no expression, or a cold demeanor. But these are the pieces that are mass-marketed that look like that. I’ve  seen some European artists who sculpt santos, many life-size, and their art becomes almost alive, rich in detail, even the rustic pieces that are simpler. But these artists are very proud of what they do, and put much soul in each piece.  A mass-marketed piece is produced with the purpose of creating volume, not art. However, I have to say that some mass-marketed pieces, the very old ones, had much detail, the molds were carefully made. With the pass of time, the attention to detail in these molds became less important, I guess, giving way to quantity/volume.

Next time you come across an older sculpture, take a good look at it and see how each little crevice tells a story.

Watercolors Friday – Artistic Pirate

As part of today’s celebration, I have a treat for you, a visual treat that is.  We are celebrating the art of CGPirate, a blog that will blow your senses. There is something mesmerizing about the artist’s work, as well as captivating, intriguing, and well, awesome. The art that you will find here is full of the unexpected, and I love that.

One of my favorite pieces on the blog is this one called Where is the Boat, and you can see it here . Oddly, the absent of color dominates this one, compared to other work on the website that explodes with color. I love many of the artist’s pieces; his work is full of energy, color, and “suspended movement,” because I have no other phrase to describe it.

I invite you to check out CGPirate for a CG visual feast. It is truly wonderful. Enjoy!

Happy Watercolors Friday!

A Writer’s Path – Twists and Turns Along the Way

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.

A writer’s path is a long and quiet (I don’t like the word lonely or solitary) journey. There are long hours of creativity, learning, research, and more learning (especially new technology and tricks of the trade for indie authors). As if all of this is not challenging enough, there is the other part – the part when you are figuring out your writing-self, style, and if you are really cut out for all this. Passion is great, as is love for the craft; however, in these fast times, it might not come as a surprise that you will question your path, from time to time. You may have answered the why, the what, are figuring the how, and might have no clue about the when or where, depending on your goals and planning. Sometimes, the path less traveled seems to be the one that has all the thorns, the most challenging, and the less fast-rewarding. It may take you through twist and turns, up, down, and around, and leave you breathless. However breathless, more knowledgeable for walking the path, stronger for stepping on thorns, and satisfied, bled out but satisfied, even when there are no miraculous clues or tangible gratification for your efforts. What you do next, makes all the difference, and I will leave the next sentence to you -____________________________________fill the blank. It is your journey, and you decide.

I leave you with a small excerpt from Moonlit Valley.

“Loss changes your perception of things. It sweeps the hallways of your mind and dusts off your most precious memories. It forces you to open the doors of rooms closed for a long time and peer into your soul, looking for the last ray of hope, of faith. The hope you desperately need now, knowing that at one point, you had put it somewhere and forgotten about it. When you find it, you grab a hold of it, tight, fearing that when you wake up tomorrow, it could be gone. Tomorrow arrives and you realize that although in a faint state, it is still there, and you hold on to it again.”