Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Creativity doesn't care about results

Elizabeth Gilbert BigMagic book tour

“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert



It’s been just over a year since I first read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living without Fear, a delightful exploration about how each one of us can awaken and nurture our creativity. This should be required reading for every creative. It resonated so deeply with me then, that I gave it to many friends and family last year for the holidays.




When I learned Elizabeth was bringing her #BigMagicTour to New York City to promote the paperback release of her book, I jumped at the chance to hear her speak in person. It was definitely a highlight of my September (that had more than its share of trouble with mercury in retrograde and all that... ) and I wanted to share my experience with you.

My night was VERY different from what I expected. . .
Imagine this Cathedral filled with weepy women clutching their Eat Pray Love books

When I walked into the cathedral that evening with a friend from my husband’s work, every single pew was packed with women as well as a few men sprinkled among them.




Elizabeth’s talk in New York City was just a few weeks after she shared on Facebook that she not only loved her best friend Elias, she realized she was IN love with her. To prevent her talk that evening from getting off track with questions about the gossip surrounding her love life, she addressed the group obliquely saying she would not talk about it. She actually addressed it without directly addressing it, but we all got the message.




Elizabeth gilbert Big Magic tour at the Open Center in nyc
Elizabeth Gilbert
I figured since the tour was called #BigMagic, the evening would be a discussion of the main messages in her book; however the first hour of her presentation was all fresh content. She shared entertaining stories from her experiences on her book tour. Most of her tales were humorous, but a very poignant segment for me was when she went deep about the connection between humans and dogs. She talked about animal instincts, and how our dogs teach us about death and complete the human they are attached to. As many of you know, the concept of animal spirits is often a part of my art classes, and I’ve always believed when an animal crosses my path they are delivering to me secret messages from the spirit world.


The second hour was dedicated to audience questions. She warned us to ask questions and not share stories. True to her word if someone started sharing a story, she told the usher to take away the microphone!


Command without commandeering


I found Elizabeth’s command of the audience refreshing and interesting. She used humor and grace. She was firm, yet friendly. She communicated her expectations without making us feel like she was dictating. And you know what? Nobody asked her a question about her love life.


Live a life driven by curiosity and not held back out of fear


Although I couldn’t take you all with me to experience Elizabeth’s magic first-hand, I hope you will grab a copy of Big Magic and read her inspiring words for yourself.


“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? . . . The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.”


We all have the capacity to build up our courage. When we embrace our curiosity and face down our fears, we can tackle just about anything.


So, what’s it going to be?


Learn to fly a plane? To draw? To speak French or to pursue that dream you gave up long ago?

Whatever it is, don’t be afraid. You can do it with Big Magic!

Other blog posts you might like:

In Case We Haven't Met Yet...

Art Journaling Inspirations → http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-favorite-art-journaling-magazine.html
Hello! I'm Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I'm not working on art in my studio, you'll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at SchulmanArt.com or join the fun at TheInspirationPlace.net
Read More »

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Princesses, Piñatas and Printables [artist chat with Danita]

During our "Artist Chat", Danita Salcido shared her passion for Grimm’s Fairy Tales and you're going to love learning about the inspiration behind this art collection. Danita is a passionate artist whose art I've admired for a long time and I'm thrilled to have her as part of the Handcrafted Holidays team.





Cinderella and Sleeping Beauties

Although many of us are familiar with the Walt Disney versions of fairy tales as depicted in their G-rated movies, the original Grimm brothers’ versions were dark, coming-of-age stories which served as cautionary tales for young adults. The Grimm brothers tackled such mature topics as premarital sex, child abuse, violence, narcissistic mothers and more on their pages. Danita's characters in her second solo art show features princesses and wolves drawn from the dark side of fairy tale lore.

Danita focuses on expressing emotions and feelings through her artwork, and the facial expressions on the princesses she creates often mirror her own emotions. Everything Danita creates starts from the point of passion and creative urgency. So, she’ll stick with a themes such as making handmade boxes or dolls until she falls under a new creative spell that inspires her to create a new series.

Miniature Piñatas



For the Handcrafted Holidays class, Danita will teach us how to create a miniature piñata that can adorn a Christmas tree or can be given as a gift. Piñatas are part of the traditional Mexican Christmas festivity of Posada, when families sing and celebrate the journey of Joseph and Mary.


Gift Tag Giveaway



Don’t forget to download and print Danita’s holiday gift tags that can be embellished with paints or colors to decorate your holiday gifts this season. I'll also be sharing ideas on how to use these tags in more imaginative ways through bonus material.




About Danita


Personal experiences and memories inspires Danita’s beautiful art. Her collections include paintings, mixed media, jewelry and handmade art dolls. I’m thrilled to have her as an instructor for the Handcrafted Holidays class.




Join us for our newest class, Handcrafted Holidays! It's a smorgasbord of teachers. Enjoy them buffet style as you sample ideas for crafted gifts for the holidays!



Are you ready to create your own handmade gifts from the heart?

Colorful Advent Calendar with Carolyn Dube • Mexican Star Piñata with Danita Art  Poinsettia Mola with Jane LaFazioGift Boxes with Marjie Kemper • Wrapping Embellishments with Andrea Gomoll  Inspirational Word Ornaments with Miriam Schulman  Wonder Poppets with Mystele Paint  Star Ornament with Blenda Tyvoll  Tzedakah Box with Jessica Sporn  Golden Letters with Joanne Sharpe  •

  • Nothing compares to giving handcrafted gifts from the heart to your loved ones.
  • Our online format gives you the guidance you need and step-by-step instructions so you will complete your project without the frustration of going it alone.
  • Plus you'll have the bonus of external accountability to get your holiday projects done in time!
  • Our teacher team has done the heavy lifting of figuring out 10 unique gifts to create, so you won’t need to struggle to come up with ideas. 

Registration now open!!!
Read More »

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spiritual Autumnal Art Themes

Nature’s cycles often mirror our own lives. As an artist, I love what fall teaches us about releasing what weighs us down.

Promises of new beginnings and fresh starts


I like to think of falling leaves as a time to let go of part hurts, shed our old selves, and prepare for rebirth in the springtime. Just as trees release leaves to prepare for rebirth in the spring, fall is a time to let go of past burdens for the promises of new beginnings and fresh starts.

For these reasons, and many more, I always associate fall with new beginnings.

Fall has more to say about beginnings than even the start of the year. I personally never quite connected with January as being the time of new beginnings. After all, it comes in the dead of winter and the only thing new about it is the date I write on my checks.

However, fall means the beginning of a new school year with new potential to achieve. Although when I was kid, my anxieties ran high at the beginning of a new school year, my kids look forward to the year as an opportunity to make new friends, and better grades.


Renewed focus after rejuvenating summers


It’s a time for renewed focus after rejuvenating summers. It’s a time of dramatic change, and we feel the urge to change ourselves and even to spruce up our homes as we prepare to spend more time indoors during the winter.

Here are some themes of fall in my art.
>>collect a sunflower prints

1) The Majestic Sunflower


It’s no surprise that the majestic sunflower has a long history of being associated with power, strength and happiness. It symbolizes longevity and loyalty. The sunflower reminds us to stand tall and to seek out positivity and strength just as it does when it turns to face the sun. 

You can collect a sunflower print (as pictured above) in your choice of sizes or add a touch of luxury to your home with this original canvas which is perfect to hang over a headboard or sofa.
>> collect original sunflower paintings

2) The Romantic Red Barn

>> discover a red barn that speaks to you
Corn mazes and hayrides. Pumpkin fests, harvest moons and farm animals. So many fall images are tied to the family farm. Framed by a crimson-tinted tree, this romantic red barn warms my heart.


3) The Bloom of Fall Foliage

>> collect an original landscape watercolor painting

Vibrant yellows and other hues of fall always inspire me. Perhaps because fall reminds us of the impermanence of things, it heightens our appreciation of its beauty. Knowing the beautiful colors are fleeting, we are drawn to enjoy them before they blow away.

TWEET THIS


4) The Fire of Fall

>> you'll never grow tired of the unexpected combination of collage over watercolor
Strolling under the canopy of a golden crimson I never forget how lucky I am to enjoy the beauty of the fiery brilliance of fall color in the Northeast.


To make it easier to capture fall for your enjoyment year-round, take advantage of the latest coupon...


About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired.

Read More »

Thursday, October 6, 2016

For the Love of Books [Artist Chat with Joanne Sharpe]



When mixed media “whimsical art maker” Joanne Sharpe agreed to join the Handcrafted Holidays team of teachers, I couldn’t wait to get a chance to sit down and talk with her for our “artist chat.”


After learning about Joanne’s story, our talk turned to our mutual adoration of books. Of course, since she is best known for her lettering, I shouldn’t have been surprised that she loves words, books and pretty printed things.






Why books matter…

1) Pretty Printed Things

Since our world has become so electronic with ecards and gift cards, receiving a physical card or anything handmade in the mail becomes an event. Joanne and I even share the affinity to read from physical books rather than from a tablet or Kindle, preferring the tactile experience of touching paper and flipping the pages. With the popularity of art journaling, scrap booking, sewing and pimped out planners, we think there are many others who feel the same.

2) Books Bring Positive Energy

Even when I was back in college and grad school, I schlepped my book collection from place to place. They made any dorm I lived in feel like home. Now, I don’t even need to take down my books and look through them. I can just glance at the spines to make me happy and by looking at the books I can get inspired from the artist who wrote it or by the style the book is about. Books help capture the spirit of ideas and remind you of dream makers. So, don’t forget to touch your amazing collection of books or keep them within eye’s reach for inspiration and aspiration.

3) Books as Souvenirs

Despite being a very modern teenager, my 16-year-old son also prefers books over ereaders and likes to collect them for his bookcase. He considers each completed book that graces his shelf a “trophy” and a testament to his intellectual prowess. When you travel, you bring home photos of your adventures. When you paint a picture, the painting is the souvenir of that painting process. When you read, the book on your shelf is a physical reminder of the adventure of your imagination.

Want to play Joanne’s whimsical way? Sign up to receive Joanne’s guide for creating a special holiday alphabet for free!


About Joanne Sharpe


Unlike many of us whose families may have encouraged us to pursue something “we could make a living with,” Joanne’s dad insisted she become an artist, because “God gave you that talent; he doesn’t give it to everyone.” At the time, she considered studying social work in college, because she wanted to work with people. Ultimately, she pursued degrees in art education, and taught K-12 art for 20 years in order to guarantee a salary while helping people at the same time.


For years, Joanne had a small studio where she held summer classes for kids and began teaching adults. Then, she was asked to write an article for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and became a teacher for one of their retreats. Today, Joanne calls herself a Renaissance Woman, who “loves it all” when it comes to art—mixed media, lettering, doodling, sewing, painting as well as teaching classes.

Her latest book, The Art of Whimsical Living: A Coloring Book for Play and Purpose, comes out at the end of this year and her fourth book will be available March 2017. She also travels as a Bernina Brand Ambassador to share whimsical stitching and quilting techniques.





A Sneak Peek at Joanne’s Pretty Painted Things



You will love learning Joanne's lettering technique using metallic watercolors in her lesson "Golden Lettering" for the Handcrafted Holidays class!


All the projects can be adapted for not only your holiday celebrations, but for other times of the year as well.

After all, gifts from the heart are for all seasons!

Add Handcrafted Holidays to your online library this fall so you can join in our Merry art making fun.

Here are just a few reasons to say yes for the Handcrafted Holidays class:

Connect with 10 Inspirational Art Teachers


Join us for our newest class, Handcrafted Holidays! It's a smorgasbord of teachers. Enjoy them buffet style as you sample ideas for crafted gifts for the holidays!



Are you ready to create your own handmade gifts from the heart?

Colorful Advent Calendar with Carolyn Dube • Mexican Star Piñata with Danita Art  Poinsettia Mola with Jane LaFazioGift Boxes with Marjie Kemper • Wrapping Embellishments with Andrea Gomoll  Inspirational Word Ornaments with Miriam Schulman  Wonder Poppets with Mystele Paint  Star Ornament with Blenda Tyvoll  Tzedakah Box with Jessica Sporn  Golden Letters with Joanne Sharpe  •

  • Nothing compares to giving handcrafted gifts from the heart to your loved ones.
  • Our online format gives you the guidance you need and step-by-step instructions so you will complete your project without the frustration of going it alone.
  • Plus you'll have the bonus of external accountability to get your holiday projects done in time!
  • Our teacher team has done the heavy lifting of figuring out 10 unique gifts to create, so you won’t need to struggle to come up with ideas. 

Registration now open!!!
Read More »

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Music Muse: Mystele Kirkeeng Artist Chat

artist interview with Mystele Kirkeeng Mystele paint http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/10/music-muse-mystele-kirkeeng-artist-chat.html
Mystele Kirkeeng, a Handcrafted Holidays’ teacher, had an “a-ha” moment during our “Artist Chat.” 

She realized that music plays an instrumental—and intriguing— role in her art process.

Although a full-time artist today, Mystele studied music since childhood and realized during our chat just how much music influences her art and teaching style today.

Asserting your voice in music and art makes it “sing” which dynamically communicates emotion to an audience rather than act as a static “pretty picture.”

As you’ll learn in our “Artist Chat,” you just might have to make a drastic improvisation to get to the point of harmony.









Just as live concerts energize many musicians, Mystele gets inspired and loves the synergy that happens when she creates in person with others who are hungry to learn about the creative process. During our “Artist Chat,” she realized that her musical background makes it easier for her to take a risk with her artwork and to know when elements work together. If her painting bores her, she makes a drastic move without hesitation. She strives to get to the point of harmony when pieces work together.


Art by Mystele Kirkeeng

Jazzed to get to rhythm and flow


The rhythms and measures in music correlate to the patterns and flow that artists achieve when they create harmonious compositions. The orchestration of pieces melding together, and the power of one note (or stroke) to alter your composition to either create a masterpiece or ruin it is the mysterious part of creativity. Even if something is “pretty,” if it’s not communicating your voice as an artist you should take a risk to see what happens. How you use your voice to communicate through your art whether singing or painting is the essence of personal expression and art. You can either paint by the numbers or truly communicate.

 Mystele Kirkeeng in her studio
About Mystele

Out of the darkness of depression, Mystele found her voice as an artist and teaches classes, creates paintings and mixed media “make-ings” from her studio outside of Chicago. Her love of  her childhood home in Texas still inspires the colors and texture in her art today.

I’m thrilled to have Mystele part of the Handcrafted Holidays' teaching team. 

You can find Mystele online at www.mystele.com.
FREE printable sheet of gift tags

Free Gift Tags


As a special holiday gift to you, Mystele created a FREE printable sheet of gift tags to adorn your holiday packages with art and beauty. 

In this photo, I have taken her printable and added ribbons and word sticker embellishments.

A Sneak Peek at Mysteles Wonder poppets

Mystele shares her adoration of folk art with you during the Handcrafted Holidays class, as she shows you how to make clay “Wonder Poppets” that make heirloom quality ornaments.



Here are just a few reasons to say yes for the Handcrafted Holidays class:

Connect with 10 Inspirational Art Teachers


Join us for our newest class, Handcrafted Holidays! It's a smorgasbord of teachers. Enjoy them buffet style as you sample ideas for crafted gifts for the holidays!



Are you ready to create your own handmade gifts from the heart?

Colorful Advent Calendar with Carolyn Dube • Mexican Star Piñata with Danita Art  Poinsettia Mola with Jane LaFazioGift Boxes with Marjie Kemper • Wrapping Embellishments with Andrea Gomoll  Inspirational Word Ornaments with Miriam Schulman  Wonder Poppets with Mystele Paint  Star Ornament with Blenda Tyvoll  Tzedakah Box with Jessica Sporn  Golden Letters with Joanne Sharpe  •

  • Nothing compares to giving handcrafted gifts from the heart to your loved ones.
  • Our online format gives you the guidance you need and step-by-step instructions so you will complete your project without the frustration of going it alone.
  • Plus you'll have the bonus of external accountability to get your holiday projects done in time!
  • Our teacher team has done the heavy lifting of figuring out 10 unique gifts to create, so you won’t need to struggle to come up with ideas. 

Registration now open!!!

Read More »