Artist's Way Blog
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on April 7, 2016 at 12:55 PM||comments (0)|
Seattle has quite the reputation for rain and a pretty deserving reputation, at that. However, we also get a fair amount of gorgeous sunny days and because of the frequent rainfall, when the sun comes out we are THAT much more appreciative. Here are some ideas for getting outside for a fun Artist's Date:
1) Take a Ferry ride - check out Vashon Island or Bainbridge Island but don't forget there are also some other gems like the small town of Manchester (take the Fauntleroy ferry to Southworth -only 40 minutes) and 10 minutes from the ferry is a sweet little town of Manchester with a charming library, community park and a nearby state park (they have a few restaurants but you might want bring a picnic as we didn't see a lot of grocery stores). Be sure and go into their library for a few minutes and check out their ongoing book sale - amazing collection of books - with many for sale at only $1.00 each!
Manchester picture below:
2) Check out the Japanese Gardens in town - the Seattle Japanese Garden
or the Kubota Gardens.
3) Rent a kayak and go paddle around - check out the Northwest Outdoor Center as one option.
4) Hang out at the Beach - the Madison Park Beach is one of our favorites. There's some great shade (for those of you who want less sun exposure) AND great sunny spots too. Beautiful spot to people watch and recline gazing on the lovely water! See below ...
5) Take a walk - SO many great parks but we love particularly Discovery Park on Magnolia - so pretty and you feel like you are out of the city. Photo below:
6. Our ALL time favorite Summer Sunny thing to do is to go to the outdoor pool - the Colman Pool - in West Seattle - set right on the beach with a great view of the beach and the mountains beyond it. PLUS the pool is HEATED SALTWATER - the BEST! Opens Memorial Day weekend and open through the summer. NOT to be missed! See below ...
7. Go outside to eat! Treat yourself to a cafe au lait outside and imagine you're at the wee French bakery in Paris. We have many favorite spots to enjoy the sun but some of our favorites are The Pink Door in the Public Market - they have a rooftop balcony which has some shady bits as well - gorgeous and SO pretty! See below ...
8. Bike somewhere! Anywhere! On a sunny day - So many great possibilities. Some of our faves are the bike paths from the UW over to Fremont and then onto Ballard. A lot of the path is right along the water - what a view - and then easy spots to stop and watch the boats strolling by and great places to munch along the way.
MORE IDEAS to come!!
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on November 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM||comments (3)|
That’s where my creativity is sending me these days. And I am learning to not judge it.
Some days my creative spirit says “go learn that new Maverick's song on the Ukulele” or “go noodle around and try learning a song on your harmonica” or even “Take that Acting class with your FAVORITE instructor. You KNOW you want to!”
But the last few months, it’s all about loving (and making) retro aprons.
My gateway drug to fabric obsession surfaced after coming upon the super sweet store Seattle Recreative. If you haven’t heard of it, you are missing out on an adventure. They’re a nonprofit in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood that takes in donated art supplies, fabric and all sorts of wonderfulness and then resells it at a deep discount to the creative folk (that’s US!). I heard they were having a fabric sale – half off on already deeply discounted fabric – and I got that nagging “hmmmmm … now that sounds intriguing.”
And I’ve learned to listen to that “hmmmmm” and (mostly) don't try to figure out where IT will take me. Now, I just baby step my way to it. Though it would be SO very easy to listen to that looming internal critic… “And why are you considering getting fabric, missy? Did you forget the last time you sewed was in high school sewing class when Mary Kumasaka tried to help you and you managed to put the sewing needle through her long nail" (thank GOODNESS for long nails! And for missing her finger).
But here’s the thing … Now I stop, turn around and talk back to that voice...
“I think it’s safe to return to the sewing machine. I think the statute of limitations on sewing crimes has passed (some 36 years later)…” and “You know what works for you … take the next baby step – just go to the sale and see if anything calls to you.”
SO I got up early one chilly sunny Saturday morning and went to the sale heeding the fabric call. With my handy empty Frida Kahlo bag in hand ready to fatten up her image (maybe), the doors opened and I saw the mounds of glorious, wondrous fabric. I swear I could hear the angels soprano singing and the heavens humming “HMMMMMMMMMM …. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY”.
You think I jest. But there is something that happens to me when I listen to that wee call that says “go explore that thing” … it’s the feeling akin to downing a triple espresso or hearing your favorite musician playing at your beloved musical spot …” The goofy smile appears on my face and I’m in the giddy zone.
So away I went seeing what caught my retro apron maker eye and within an hour I was in the fabric bounty land. I sailed back home on the magic carpet of fabric goodies and gave them a nest in an old metal tin and I did the NEXT next thing. I grabbed an old retro apron of my moms and used it as a sample to make my very own apron.
And here’s the thing. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty sweet.
I also discovered that it’s really helpful to have NEW companions with you as you navigate new creative waters.
When I worked through that first project, I remembered some wisdom that someone from Made Sewing Studio (a super cool sewing class organization/studio in Seattle) had shared something her grandmother had told her about sewing in straight lines “My grandmother said ‘if someone can see your sewing stiches’ they are standing TOO close.” HA! My other “go-to” was from a book I read about doing things ugly and her suggestion was to call your seam reaper “your new best friend.” It’s amazing what a difference wee words of wisdom/encouragement like these can have on the fits and starts in the process of creation.
The voice I hear the most though is my mom’s.
She was the first artist I met though she would be the last person to describe herself in that way ("Ohhh anyone can do what I do!"). She could bake, sew, cook, paint, knit, play piano … pretty much anything. But it was her sewing, in particular, that I was in awe of and she was the author of the apron that I was using as a pattern.
When I somehow managed to sew two pieces together that were clearly meant to be two separate ties and not one, I could hear her laugh with me (boy oh boy and what a laugh she has) saying “Now how did you do that? (laugh laugh laugh) That’s ok, you can just rip it out … you just need to be sure that tie is to the left. You crack me up.” When I finished the first one, I could picture her beaming with pride … a bit of reflection to the beaming I was doing myself.
And then the first apron led to the second and to the third … that’s what I find with creative inspiration … it can propel you onward to the next cool thing …
“I DID it!” I would say to myself when I would pass the completed apron du jour that I had hanging in my creative space.
“YOU did it!” the aprons replied back to me along with … “Thank you for giving me some life.”
Because that’s what exploring our creativity does (not causes you to hear aprons talking back to you but ....)
It gives life.
To the item, to new ideas, to others who receive the gift or get filled up with the image of what you created. It inspires them to go explore their gifts, their quirky yearnings, their own “Hmmmmm’s”. Lately, I've noticed that I've had lots of other new ideas that I've been giving life to in my life both personally and profesionally. Is it a coincidence that those have been popping up just as I've been allowing myself the fun and joy in creating new aprons? I think not.
So much to be thankful for.
And I am … VERY thankful for all those who are willing to create and share their talents with all of us.
Such a gift.
To check out my available aprons for sale, go here.
Our Spring/Summer Artist's Way Classes are NOW OPEN for Registration with classes beginning beginning May, 2016. More info here.
This wonderful tidbit below on The History of Aprons was shared with me from one of our Artist’s Way students who found it on the internet. Thank you, Kendra!
"The History of 'APRONS'
I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma's aprons.
Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love."
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on September 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way" describes an Artist's Date as a key tool in recovering our creativity. Simply put an Artist's Date "is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend again all interlopers." The benefits of Artist's Dates are numerous but one of our favorites is that Artist's Date feed our creative well of images which inspire us in immeasureable ways!
Artist's Dates can be incredibly fun but we often hear from our students that they feel stymied when thinking up a fun Artist's Date. The cool thing is an Artist's Date can be whatever sounds like fun to you. Some of our ideas below may strike you as great ones while others ones not so much ... just listen to what sounds like fun FOR YOU. And that might even change on your Artist's Date - you might head out to do one and realize half way through "hey, this isn't fun" and the great thing is since you are doing it solo you can change your mind and head off in another direction.
Here are just a few ideas for a fun Artist's Date ...
1. Go to the beach and make a picture in the sand with a stick.
2. Check out an art supply store and just wander around and see what catches your eye. Two of our favorites: Seattle Recreative and Artist's and Craftsman.
3. Take your camera on a walk and snap on what inspires you
4. Go swing dancing. Century Ballroom in Seattle has great classes and dances in all types (salsa, swing, waltz)
5. Go to the beach on low tide and see what critters are showing up in the tide pools
6. Check out a local museum and only look at what art calls to you. The Frye Museum is one of our favorites.
7.Take a notepad with you to a coffee shop and draw whatever calls to you
8. Learn a song on the harmonica - youtube is a great place to learn the basics of how to play
9. Go to a music store and look at all the cool instruments (and allow yourself to strum some even if you have never played one before). American Music in Seattle has some great instruments to check out.
10. Go to a slam poetry event. In Seattle, check out Seattle Poetry Slam.
11. Embrace your inner kid and go swing on a swing set or go down a slide
12. Wander around in a part of town you don't know well and stop in shops that call to you
13. Take a tour of the little library stands in your town. Not sure where they are - click on this map and type in your city.
14. Sit at a coffee shop and watch the fashion as it walks by
15. Go to a hat store and try on hats
16. Walk through a cemetery and create a story on what you see on the headstones
17. Go to a bead store and find some cool beads
18. Check out the pretty yarn at a yarn store
19. Go to a fish ladder and watch all the fish coming and going
20. Find an outdoor pool and go swimming.
21. Hang out at a park and observe how kids play
22. Go to a upholstery store and find cool fabric and reupholster a foot stool or a chair
23. Go to a park and watch the birds.
24. Go to your favorite ice cream shoppe and get a root beer float.
25. Check out places where you can have the sensation of flying - Ifly in Seattle is one option.
26. Try out an Acting Class sample and embrace your inner actor. Freehold Theatre in Seattle offers free quarterly acting class sample events.
27. Get your new favorite book and sit in a park and read for a whole hour (or two!)
28. Go to a movie by yourself (maybe treat yourself to a special movie house experience). The Big Picture in Seattle can be fun.
29. Go listen to some live music. Check out some local musicians at small music events like at Dusty Strings in Seattle.
30. Walk on the beach in your barefeet and pick up some rocks to skip.
31. Go on a whale watching tour.
32. Walk in the woods and listen to the sounds around you.
33. Take a rowboat out for an afternoon row. The UW has a great place you can do this.
34. Buy a razor scooter or borrow one from a friend and tool around on one (the stretch along Alki in Seattle is perfect for this).
35. Take a ferry ride (Bainbridge - 1/2 hour ride - Vashon - 20 minutes) and check out the local scene on the destination side.
36. Drive to an out of the way town and take a stroll around the town. North Bend can be a fun place to do this.
37. Try out a pottery class.
38. Go to that fancy clothing store you are too shy to check out and go in and allow yourself the fun of trying on some pretty/stylin' clothes (you don't necessarily have to buy anything) and notice what you like.
39. Go to the library or sheet music store and pick up some new piano music to try out.
40. Go stand up paddle boarding (perfect Solo event!)
41. Grab a basketball and go to your local neighborhood park and shoot some hoops (maybe pair it with watching your favorite basketball movie right before)
42. Check out a great documentary (POV has some good ones)
43. Take your computer to an inviting space (coffee shop/restaurant) and give yourself an hour of guilt free Pinterest watching/inspiration
44. Google the local film festivals in your town and schedule them into your calendar for a fun Artist's Date
45. Find an old piece of furniture and go to your paintstore and find the perfect color for it and go to town painting it.
46. Allow yourself to paint, draw badly - have fun with it!
47. Go to the art store and get some coloring books (they are the RAGE these days - especially for adults). If the adult coloring books don't call to you, allow yourself to pick up a kids' one and have fun.
48. Go to a local Goodwill and find pretty vintage fabric that calls to you and make something (apron, scarf)
49. Go to your local hardware store and find some wood and make something - art or birdhouse or?
50. Go to your local hardware store and browse. One of our favorites in Seattle is Hardwicks.
51. Find out about the local farmers markets and go and check out all the wonderful produce, fleurs and crafts.
52. Go to a gourmet-ish shop and buy some delicious new ingredients and make yourself a tasty dinner.
53. Make a list of restaurants that you have been wanting to try and give yourself the gift of going to one solo.
54. Take a drive to the mountains (we have beautiful Mt. Rainier in our backyard)
55. Go Snowshoeing or skiing
56. Go Snow inner tubing
57. Go to a water park and go on whatever rides YOU want to go on for as long as you want to. We have Wild Waves here in Seattle in the Summer months and Great Wolf Lodge in the Winter months
58. Grab a tennis ball and go to a court with a board and hit balls against yourself.
59. Go to a basketball game.
60. Go to a baseball game - minor leage games can be a lot of fun too
61. Go to a play.
62. Check out a local musical
63. Go to an Open Mic Night. Conor Bryne's in Ballard has a great Open Mic on Sunday nights.
64. Go play putt putt golf.
65. Go to a Golfing driving range and hit some balls
66. Go to an outdoor Art exhibit. The Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park is pretty cool.
67. Go to the Aquarium. Check out Seattle's Acquarium.
68. To to your outdoor Public Market and wander around - check out Seattle's Public Market.
69. Go to the Zoo and hang out with your favorite animals. See Woodland Park Zoo.
70. Get your flight on - go see some cool planes - like at The Museum of Flight.
71. Go to the Arboretum and see what is in bloom.
72. Check out some beautiful Japanese gardens - here in Seattle Kubota Gardens and the Japanese Garden
73. Go on a fun ride. Ferris Wheel, Roller Coaster.
74. Go sailing. In Seattle at The Center for Wooden Boats on Sundays you can sail for free. Check it out here.
75. Go out for some delicious Dim Sum.
76. Go look at some cool glass art. Chihuly Glass Exhibit has some amazing art,
77. Be a tourist in your own town - go on a local tour of your hometown offerings. Check out the Ride the Ducks in Seattle and ride an amphibious landing craft into the water.
78. Go to a ballet
79. Go to the Opera
80. Go to a wine tasting
81. Check out an independent record store and listen to and/or purchase some new/old music
82.Take your knitting to a favorite spot and knit away
83. Take your computer to a favorite spot and find some cool drawing online sites and draw away.
84. In fruit season, go pick some blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
85. Visit an organic farm and go on a tour
86. Treat yourself to a sweet on your Artist's Date walking outing (ice cream cone/gluten free pastry/tasty coffee)
87. Go to an old junk store and admire the beautiful old handcrafted furniture
88. Go to a jewelry store and notice which jewelry calls to you (maybe it'll inspire you to make some)
89. Go wonder around a plant store and take in the sites (maybe treat yourself to a coffee/drink as you do so). We have several lovely garden stores in Seattle. Swansons Nursery is pretty special.
90. Go to a used bookstore and see what catches your eye.
91. Go check out open houses in your neighborhood and admire the beautiful homes in your area
92. Go to some yard sales and allow yourself to choose one or two things to buy that just delight you.
93. Declutter your space and make room for one special item that makes you smile.
94. Go to the Library and find some movies that really call to you and give yourself permission to watch one for your Artist's Date.
95. Go through your closet and choose one dress up item and wear it out to lunch/dinner by yourself
96. Go to a pet store and hang out with some pets and maybe go read about them afterward
97. Find a local waterfall and sit by it and observe the wonder. Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State is beautiful.
98. Check out a local History museum such as Mohai.
99. Check out a public garden like The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge or the Bellevue Botanical Garden
100. Go for a bike ride.
101. Go roller skating.
102. Sit in a coffee shop and observe people and imagine if they were a character in a book you were writing who would they be - what is their backstory and start writing whatever comes to mind (dialogue too!)
103. Go running in a beautiful area
104. Go for a walk in nature and choose your favorite tree/plant and read more about it later
105. Walk through a p patch vegetable garden and be inspired by how folks designed their plots
We keep adding more ...
106. Go Fishing
108. Go on a train ride
109. Take a horse riding lesson
110. Go fly a kite
111. Go to a horse show or rodeo
112. Go see this amazing horseman in person - Buck Brannaman - he gives horse clinics and you don't have a horse to go observe (usually $30 a day to watch him train horses and their owners). He was the inspiration for the movie "The Horse Whisperer" and his horse teachings are more like "life teachings." His clinic schedule is here.
113. Go to the Library and select four random music CDs
114. Go to a parade
115. Go to a makeup counter and have a makeup DO-Over
116. Go Ice Skating
117. Do a Singing Lesson online
118. Go to a thrift store and have fun pairing mismatched outfits and/or allow yourself to try on things you would normally NEVER wear!
119. Go out on a paddleboat by yourself and notice the nature around you
120. Take in an Improv show - Unexpected Productions and Jet City Improv are two local Seattle ones.
121. Go to Tinkertopia - a creative reuse store - in Tacoma.
122. Like Poetry? Check out some of the poetry stores in town including the very cool Open Books (poetry bookstore). They have a bunch of great poetry reading events! They are located in Wallingford.
More to Come!
Our Spring/Summer 2017 Artist's Way classes will open for Registration on February 17 with classes starting the beginning of May. For more information on our classes, go to: Class Offerings
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on August 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
We are used to the large leaps. Quit that nasty job. Divorce the annoying spouse. Move across the country to spread your wings because you know “it’s going to be better …. over THERE.” And maybe it will or maybe it won’t.
But the idea of the small steps? Where’s the fun in that? Where the adrenalin rush? The feeling of “I’m DOING it! I’m DOING it! I’m DOING it!” Wait “what am I doing?”
I used to be a huge fan of the large leaps. I’ve done my share of quitting the job(s), of moving across the country at the drop of a hat, or of saying “Cut it ALL off!” to the hairdresser. But then I heard tell of this thing called “small steps”. Baby ones, in fact. And I was intrigued.
I heard that if I took small steps in the direction of where I might be thinking I might want to go, I could listen to doors opening (or not budging) and head off accordingly through that door or to the one off to the side I didn’t even see was open a smidge.
See there’s thing that I noticed started happening when I took small steps – these synchronicities starting taking place. All over the place … one of my faves …
I had been delivering trainings locally and nationally and had started having this whimsy of an idea “boy it’d be fun to teach one of these in Ireland where my grandpa Pete was from.” I mentioned my fleeting thought to a colleague who was connected to some international trainers. She ran into them at a conference and had her own “baby step” moment when asked if she’d like to deliver a talk in Ireland saying “well now that you mention it I would and I’d also like to bring a colleague and deliver our training as well.” Within 6 months I was in Ireland (in Derry no less – a stones’ throw from my grandpa’s home turf in Donegal) training Irish folks.
And voila. I was a baby step convert.
What I have loved about the baby step moves, is that it allows for synchronicity in a way I could not have orchestrated in a large leap move. Could I have known that someone in Derry wanted me to train? If I’d even been able to contact someone in Derry would they have warmly invited me to come? Or did the process of my simply taking the next small step lead to greater things that I could have imagined.
And it’s not always like that. Trips to Croatia and Barbados have not materialized out of thin air (yet). But when I take the small steps I am rarely disappointed. And sometimes I have to remind myself. Just today, I was lamenting how I’d not taken a lot of steps toward auditioning lately despite my fresh off the press headshots arrival in my inbox. Then I thought, wait a minute – I’m driving over to get my favorite shampoo which puffs up my hair so that it looks more like it did in my headshots.
That counts, people. That is a baby step. OK, I may be saying that mostly to myself. And I do. And I need to. I need to remind myself that I can take those baby steps and they all add up – they bolster me – shore me up so when I take the next step (print up more of the headshots), I feel the full force of my auditioning prowess ready to roar.
So trips to Ireland, trips to the hair salon. All count. And these baby steps experiences?
They are indeed a trip.
The best ones I’ve found.
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on January 10, 2014 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
January arrives and I feel the urge for purge. I know spring has the moniker "spring cleaning" time but for me January is the time when renewal is on my mind.
And I ain’t alone. I can count on two hands the number of folks I’ve chatted with the last week who are giving up alcohol for the month (2), starting exercising this month (2), this time REALLY going to find (and go!) to a gym (2), giving up sugar (2), finding a new job (2) …. do they only come in “2’s?”
Perhaps it’s the holiday splurge that leads to the desire to purge, but I think it’s something more than that. Folks seem to lean into reflection in January whether it’s due to a media induced “what is YOUR resolution” or driven by a more internal locus of control/inspiration.
Maybe it’s as simple that when we are reminded that it’s OK to pause and reflect, we give ourselves permission to pause and reflect.
What-ever. I like.
I like the chance to pause. To assess. Reassess what are the important things in my life. What I want more of. What I want less of. How I want to show up in my daily life.
Recently a friend and I were talking about our desires and she noted “I want to laugh everyday” and we gave ourselves a challenge to have one big guffaw every day. That’s MY kind of homework.
And it’s been a literal hoot. I’ve been diving into Youtube to get my laugh hit with some successes and some busts. One that made me laugh recently was watching an episode of the New Girl. One of the characters, Schmidt, a self-professed know it all, intense, business type with full-on New Yorker energy had gone through a recent breakup and his friend, Zoey Deschanel’s character, was determined to get him to find a new girlfriend at a local bar. She pointed out one prospective woman but Schmidt, in typical Schimdt-ness, recoiled saying “Her? Seriously? NO way. She’s on a flip phone. She’s either poor or a time traveler.”
I may have done a spit take. Maybe because I’ve had a flip phone. Maybe because I’ve had moments of being poor or perhaps it’s just because I love the idea of being a time traveler.
Whatever the reason, it made my day. Not Schmidt. The laughter. AND good writing.
Other ones on my mind? Risking a bit more this year, unclenching in stress, envisioning my ukulele skills improving and fun. Definitely more FUN.
So a laugh a day.
Best part? Free and no prescription required.
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on July 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM||comments (0)|
I was one part in love with Goofy and one part horrified.
Ok maybe two parts horrified.
Come ON, he was a big ‘ol goof ball and darn if he wasn’t even embarrassed by it. How horrible is that!!
This is a familiar feeling when I embrace my inner Goofy – love it, hate it, and simultaneously embarrassed by it.
In an acting class I dared myself to take, my fellow students and I were ordered (strike that) … instructed … to all stand in one corner as a clump. We were informed that this was going to be one of several acting exercises that we’d start the class with for the next 8 weeks. One by one we were to make some kind of movement, accompany the movement with a sound and then move from one corner of the room to the other corner making that sound. Our fellow intrepid (hopefully – as I hate being intrepid ALL by my lonesome) students would follow us, imitating our sound and movement.
You want to see 12 people wish an earthquake would happen and swallow them up?
Ask them to do that.
Oh wait a minute, maybe that was just me.
Well, what-EVER it sounds SO much easier than it is.
My acting process in that moment … Oh yeah, I have a PROCESS alright … Maybe not the one the instructor intended … MY process is the following:
Ask myself do I go FIRST ...
a) So all the sounds aren’t taken up (that would be all the sounds apparently IN THE UNIVERSE!!!) or
b) So others will be so preoccupied with their own fear that they won’t recognize my sound is stupid and/or the same one they’ll likely see in the next 5th, 6th or 7th classes
Do I go LAST
a) So I can riff off (ok ok STEAL) someone else’s sound or
b) In the hopes that the instructor will overlook that I didn’t go already.
Stanislavski it is not but it is “being in the moment” which I gleaned from bathroom stall acting student chat is VERY important (Student #1: “I just wasn’t in the moment” – Student #2: “I KNOW, like yesterday, I TOTALLY was in the moment.”
What is this MOMENT?!!!
But then there it was.
On the last day of our 8th week session, we marched lemming style to the corner waiting for our final movement/sound cliff dive. Instead of doing some semi-low key and heavily planned “Eek, eek” sound and flapping my arms like a bird (“See you REALLY want to take an acting class, now, huh?”;), I did a new thing. Instead of waiting to weigh my process options, my body leapt forward as though possessed by the acting confidence of Marlon Brando (ok, maybe more like Gilligan) … that’s not important … but what WAS important was that …
I didn’t think.
I didn’t prepare.
I didn’t look over at someone’s paper/movement and steal.
I started across the floor and listened to what my hands wanted to do. They morphed into jello hands (like jazz hands only SO much better) flailing like a drunk swan with my legs trying to keep up walking in part gorilla/part Seinfield character bad dancer move (ok, maybe I stole from Elaine) while eliciting a “mooga mooga” sound.
I made it across the floor and tapped the far end of the wall feeling as victorious as any wanna’ be Michael Phelps world record breaker slapping the water:
“I did it. I DID it. I DID IT!!!!”
Ok, I have no idea what I did.
But I experienced something. Freedom from self-consciousness for one moment allowed me to freely and fully express myself.
And I LOVED it. Goofy might've even high fived me.
Before I took the class, I heard a famous actor say that “Self-consciousness is death for an actor.”
Hearing this I was stopped in my tracks thinking, “That is definitely not good news for me.”
Maybe it’s better news than I thought.
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on January 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
I’ve known Kay for years.
She, like a number of our Artist’s Way students, would never describe herself as an artist.
Here are just some of her artistic (sorry, Kay, got to say it) talents … made most of her childrens' clothes, could knit complex Irish knit sweaters in the dark while watching television with nary a slipped stitch, an expert bread baker, pottery maker, played piano, painted still life images, a stunning dresser, and could recognize a gorgeous tune and a good joke (and offer up a full body head thrown back explosion of laughter to boot).
And that’s just the short version.
She may not have called herself an artist but she did take pride in her tasks. Watching her with the painting palette of colors in her hand staring at the blank canvas and starting to see what would unfold was mesmerizing. Upon commenting on the breakneck speed and skill of her knitting, she often laughed at the idea that she had a gift.
That seems to be a common reaction of non-artists artists. They think their gifts are “nothin’special”. There’s a feeling that “it’s so easy, anyone can do it.”
My knotted ball of discarded yarn in the corner, if it could speak, might have something else to say about that.
This “I’m not a REAL artist” is something I hear often from our Artist’s Way students. My favorite definition of “artist” is “a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.” That applies to actors, writers, singers, and YES, accountants, architects, construction workers, nurses, plumbers, police officers and on and on and on.
When I see someone who is exhibiting that exceptional skill, I am often stopped in my tracks.
I’ve had that feeling watching a local actor, Christine Marie Brown, listening to her scene partner in a Shakespeare play (really, just listening and I couldn’t take my eyes off her …listening!). I’ve had it when a Starbucks barista genuinely showed warmth asking questions about my upcoming day. Or when I get a gift of a collection of songs from an Artist’s Way alum that has chronicled her 12 week Artist’s Way journey with the perfect selection of songs (“I can’t get no satisfaction” to “Imagination”by Dean Martin).
“Wow. Wow. WOW!”
Sometimes we need others to be able to name our artistic talents as it’s easy for us to minimize ours. When I acknowledge others’ talents and others have acknowledged my own gifts, it can feed our own artistic impulses reminding us that “Yes, it IS SO worth my time to put in that half hour of singing scales… Tanya noticed how much stronger my voice has become. YAY!”
The gifts come ‘round.
I’ve been the beneficiary of Kay's gifts whether it was receiving a complement for my singing/piano playing (I may STILL be glowing from that one), wearing a gorgeous Irish knit sweater on a long seattle-wet day or sitting down to my favorite treat of a homemade piece of bread with jam and butter.
In our Artist’s Way classes, I get so tickled when I see a student discover or acknowledge a talent whether it’s decorating her Christmas tree by herself, ability to tell a great story and get knowing laughs in return, or declaring “I AM a good teacher … it’s what I want to do.”
I learned from the best the sweetness that comes when your gifts get acknowledged. It’s a gift that we can give each other -- daily if we feel like it – whether to the Starbucks barista, our children, partners, parents and yes, even to ourselves.
Thanks, Kay ... aka "mom" ... SO much!
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on September 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
It reminds me of the time when I was a therapist and was trying to embody/channel my brilliant consultant who had the loveliest delivery when talking about how she might talk to kids.
She’d start out in a high sing song-ing voice and end in a calm, reassuring alto. Her go to feedback always started with ...
“I might say … ‘I’m wondering if may-be …’”
I was prepared. I practiced the line over and over in my head …
“I’m wondering IF … I’M wondering if … I’m WONDERING if…”.
The time had come. One early evening 6:00 pm session I was ready to try this with a favorite little 6 year old girl client of mine.
And I began …
“I’m wondering if mayyyyy-beeeee ….”
She stopped her play mid-doll house rearranging, stared at my face, looked very confused and said quizzically:
“You SAID that funny.”
I burst out laughing. Hard.
She couldn’t help herself and laughed along with me … intuiting that I wasn’t laughing at her but appreciating the honesty and spot-on-it-ness of her comment.
I said “You're right. You got that right, I DID say that funny.”
She taught ME that day.
I gotta’ be me. You gotta’ be you. Anything else and we’re going to be” funny”.
Not in a good way.
The most profound, perfect, insightful comment could have come from my supervisor but if I couldn’t find a way to say it AND be me at the same time it was going to do the big ‘ol stinky belly flop.
We think though others have it figured out. We think that if we could just find a way to be like them, we’d be golden. Free from trying out our own methods and possibly fail. What could be better? We’ll just find something that is tried and true and viola … success … happy clients/customers/family members/partners …
The heavens will open …. Riches will be bestowed on us … the angels will sing …
OK I’m getting a little carried away.
But you get the picture.
We think if we do it THAT way, THEIR way, we’ll do it RIGHT.
And what’s wrong with doing it right?
But I’ve learned it has to be congruent for me.
It has to be honest.
Julia talks about the importance of affirming ourselves and how using affirmations can help us in creating a sense of safety for ourselves.
Instead of affirming that my supervisors way was the only path to take, I could have affirmed my own intuition re: how to respond in the moment. "As I listen to myself and to others, I will have the right thing to say."
My motivation of using my supervisor’s “line” was to connect with my client which, while coming from a good place, resulted in my not being REALLY present with the kiddo and allowing my own insights and observations to bubble up.
As potentially awkward and imperfect as they might be.
The ironic thing was that our laughing together over my mimicking was a real bonding moment for us. It seemed to forge a deeper connection which allowed us to do some good work together.
Maybe it IS about being funny.
Or perhaps it’s just the old truism. Laughter really IS the best medicine.
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on May 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM||comments (3)|
There are few things that get my blood a boilin’ and my heart a racin’ more than one particular phrase.
“I am not an artist.”
Usually delivered in a wilting voice, shrunken shoulders all while scurrying away. Recently, I saw one person declare it in a group and then another said "me too" and then another one: "I'm the same". They then ran to each other, embraced and formed what looked like an amoeba like pod almost to say “don’t ATTACK us you-artist-professing-person-you.”
My sense that they seemed to anticipate an "attack" might give me a clue to what they might be feeling.
Somewhere down the line someone or some thing might, just might, have given them the message that they were not an artist.
When I facilitate our Artist's Way classes, I think of "artist" and "artistry" in the broadest of terms. One of the many definitions of “artist” includes this nugget: "Someone who is a creative person (a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination)."
I have seen people who display true artistry in doing accounting, in their gardening, in how they parent, in how they tell a story, to how they put together an outfit. It is an incredibly beautiful thing to see the artist in every single one of my students and it is often very individual and unique.
The origins of the "I'm not an artist" mantra seem to vary. I’ve heard from some students how they were shamed by others or they shamed themselves when they couldn’t match up their art with someone else’s vision of REAL art.
Who hasn’t had that experience in school of trying to draw something and seeing some art savant wiz kid next to you draw a perfect tree while yours in comparison shouted to you: “Charlie Brown tree anyone?!”
And then it begins.
The mantra begins to seep in “He’s an artist, I’m not.”
Or maybe someone looked at your painting and sneered and we thought “yup, not going to experience THAT again”. Thus the no artist tattoo got burned into our brain.
Maybe we bought into the cultural definition that “artists” are solely those select few other folks who draw, act, sing, or dance. Maybe we didn’t get seen for the amazing artistry we bring in the gifts we were bestowed with or have developed (thank goodness for others who can recognize those gems in us!).
But I’ve learned how to respond.
Not always perfectly.
My first inclination? To want to pounce on the clump of the 3 professing “non-artistry” pod and exclaim “YES, YOU ARE!!!!”
Yeah, that’s definitely going to help.
Not so much.
Instead, I try to remember what might be behind it and instead smile and reflect on when I used to feel the same way, because I did. Heck, there were things I claimed not to be even when I hadn’t tried them. For example, “I’m not a dancer.” Mind you, I had never even TRIED to dance apart from the trauma-inducing 9th grade dances at my high school.
Confession: Stairway to Heaven still causes me to break out in a cold sweat.
But then a friend gently introduced me to swing dancing and now I’m a swing dancing enthusiast (albeit a constantly learning and imperfect one which I am learning to embrace.).
Now after remembering how it felt to not see myself as artistic, I now reply: “Boy, can I relate. I used to say that about myself a lot. Now? Not so much.”
Then I can let it go … mostly. Instead of needing to hit them over the head with “you are too an artist” baton, I make a point of seeing the artistry in them and maybe even take a minute and name their gifts (because BOY are they!).
“WOW, you are a great story teller.”
“I LOVE that you moved your door in your house so that it faces the street. Fantastic!”
“That is one STYLIN' dress.”
Gifted, every single one of ‘em.
Now, THAT can really get my heart a racin’.