Growing your creative heART muscle ūüí™

Barb Toland Creative Sparks

[Note: This blog post is in honor of The Art Cellar, and its owner, Lindsay McPhail. Thanks for working so hard to promote the arts here in Greenville, SC!]

Ohhhhhh the gifts of summertime!

Poolside chats. Colorful beach umbrellas. Wearing flip flops. Burgers sizzling on the grill. A little chilled rosé. Vibrant flowers. Bright flashy swimsuits. You get the picture ;-)

Summer's a kaleidoscope of sunshine & color for sure.

It's also bikini season. And for some ... you're all like, Yay!

And the rest of us? Well, we're once again beating ourselves up by yet another summer of not quite pulling that off like we envisioned!

When we get to the season of skimpy clothing we're like ... what happened? Where did all that time go, and how could I possibly have let my new year's resolve slip away yet again?

Most of us start our year off with all kinds of promises to ourselves. Some of them last ... and others? Not so much. But that's ok -- because every burst of effort, if even for a month or two, can add up in the long haul. (Just think where we'd all be if we hadn't given it those couple of months?!!!)

So here we are. Summer is upon us & the visions we had of reaching our dreams & goals (perhaps even creative ones *wink wink*) are in the distant past. We're here to have fun & soak up some sun!

So be it. We're human, after all.


(You knew that was coming.)

What if we allowed the kaleidoscope of colors & textures & smells & exotic trips that summer gifts us with, refuel our creative dreams & goals? (Forget about those bathing suits lol).

And what if we gave those precious creative visions we left behind back in late January / early February, just one more big push before the color & zest of summer ends, and the holidays start sneaking up on us?

One last hurrah!

Are you in?

Awesome! I KNEW you'd be game ;-)

Well I've got some advice on how to add some fuel to your creative rocket.

Wanna know what it is?

GO FLY A KITE!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Yep, you heard me right :)

So typically this phrase means to get the heck outta here, stop annoying me, you have no idea what you're talking about, get lost etc. etc. But THIS time, I want you to think of it in a much different way...

Have you ever flown a kite? There's going to be the rare bird that will say, "Heck yeah I do it all the time!" But for MOST, you either never have, or even if you've actually flown a kite, it's a bit rare for you to do so.

I remember a few times as a kid running around like crazy in the backyard trying to get one to stay airborne for even just a second. And I love watching someone else fly them above the ocean while on vacation. But other than that for me, nada. I've never quite gotten one to stay aloft for very long.

And I'm ok with that ;-)

But this does bring us to today's creative encouragement...

What was your creative vision for this year? What was your proverbial kite?

Maybe you wanted to learn more about woodworking, take up photography, sign up for a ceramics class, write a poem or two, or volunteer to help at the local playhouse.

Perhaps you have no desire to make art, you just wanted to read & learn more about it. You were determined to "get" it a little more. Perhaps you envisioned yourself visiting more museums & galleries, so you could start to figure out what you like & what you don't. But you've hesitated because it all seems too daunting.

Whatever your creative "kite" was for this year, I suggest you get right back out there &  go fly it one more time before the vitality of summer waxes & wanes. Give it a big creative whirl around that beautiful blue sky where all of your hopes & dreams live.

I've envisioned many of my own creative "kites" over the years. Some have soared in the sky & got pretty darn close to that bright, beautiful sun. And others crashed & burned into the ground with no hope of resurrection.

Our "kites" tend to come & go for sure.

Some take a nosedive into the sand, some get shredded in the wind, and some are left behind in the basement. But once in a while that kite flies higher than you could ever imagine!

So in this season of summer, where all things are still fresh & lively, get inspired to give those creative dreams & goals another go.

I double dog dare you to ... GO FLY THAT KITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Fly a Kite ©
22" x 14" watercolor painting
on 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper

The winds of creative change are upon you!

One of my creative goals has been to paint faster in order to lend a certain spontaneity & liveliness to my work. The painting above, "Go Fly A Kite" was one of many attempts to do so. And it has turned out to be one of my alltime favorites!

I hope it will help remind you every single day that you ARE capable, you CAN step outside of your comfort zone. And sometimes, if you make the effort, your creative desires will soar like these kites.

Who knows, one of yours might even make it to the sun.

Go Fly a Kite © (close-up)
22" x 14" waercolor painting
on 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper

And as P.T. Barnum once said...

"If I shoot for the sun, I may just hit a star."  - P.T. Barnum

Listen to P.T. he knows a thing or two about the creative process ;-)

Now it's your turn...

Take a few minutes to come up with at least one small step you're going to take in the world of art & creativity, and then tell us all about in the comments below.

Being a bit more accountable by putting your goal out there in the world is a great way to stay on track.

Your artistic voice & heART matter to me ... always!

P.S. My painting, "Go Fly A Kite" is for sale here ;-)

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