Summer is just about here which is an excellent time to catch up on reading! Although typically summer is good to read more fiction-based works, don’t neglect the opportunity to learn more about how to enhance your creativity, especially if you are striving to reach some creative goals before the end of the year.
Here are some of our recommendations to add to your Summer Reading list this year:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: "From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of. Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.” elizabethgilbert.com
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, it’s an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Perhaps more vital in today’s cultural climate than it was when it was first pulbished a decade ago, it is powerfully provacative and inspiring work.” -The Artist’s Way
The War On Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. "A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life."
Make Your Creative Dreams Real by SARK: "Are you wondering just what your creative dream is? SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) puts you in a "dream activator" state of mind and helps you figure it out. Are you lost in the Land of No? SARK can help you work with your fear and negativity, live with and transform procrastination and perfectionism, communicate with inside and outside critics, and work with inertia. Do you have a dream but it seems overwhelmingly impossible? SARK's famous microMOVEment technique will help you make your creative dream journey in tiny yet powerful steps. Need inspiration? Read the stories of others who are making their creative dreams real. Having difficulty fitting your dream into your real life? Let SARK show you how to think differently about time and find resources in unexpected places and people."
Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon "When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination."
Your Inner Critic is A Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative by Danielle Krysa "This book is duct tape for the mouth of every artist's inner critic. Silencing that stifling voice once and for all, this salve for creatives introduces ten truths they must face in order to defeat self-doubt. Each encouraging chapter deconstructs a pivotal moment on the path to success—fear of the blank page, the dangers of jealousy, sharing work with others—and explains how to navigate roadblock. Packed with helpful anecdotes, thoughts from successful creatives, and practical exercises gleaned from Danielle Krysa's years of working with professional and aspiring artists—plus riotously apt illustrations from art world darling Martha Rich—this book arms readers with the most essential tool for their toolbox: the confidence they need to get down to business and make good work."
The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor by Gail McMeekin "Since its first publication in 2001, this book has helped hundreds of thousands of women break through creative blocks and realize their dreams. Combination guidebook and inspirational treasure, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women profiles 45 dynamic women who share their secrets for success: Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Christina Pickles, Shakti Gawain, Sigrid Olsen, Barbara Sher, Sarah Ban Breathnach, and many others. Each chapter offers the 12 secrets, keys, and challenges to help women work through the creative process. Together they offer an inspirational roadmap, providing all the tools women need to uncover their own authenticity and realize their creative dreams."
Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. "Is it possible to make sense of something as elusive as creativity? Based on psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman’s groundbreaking research and Carolyn Gregoire’s popular article in the Huffington Post, Wired to Create offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes— like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity."
All quotes except where noted from Amazon.com
Want to explore these books and more about creativity with a group? Spark Your Creative is launching a Summer Virtual Book Club starting in June. Get the juicy details and join us on our literary journey to creativity here!
The world of art and creativity has evolved and includes a variety of new ways of expressing as a way of healing, meditation or personal reflection. One method that is increasing with popularity is the concept of intuitive art making, which has been most influenced by art therapy. You may have heard the terms, "process painting", "soul painting", "source painting"...of all these are the names for the expressive arts practice of intuitive painting.
What is Intuitive Painting?
Intuitive painting as mentioned above is a form of expressive arts. According to the The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, "expressive arts combine the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development."
Shelley Klammer, an internationally renown art therapist and counselor defines intuitive painting as "painting for process - without pre-planning - [it] delves below your social presentation to help you discover what you authentically need to express." She further adds that "intuitive painting does not require years of training in art techniques. Your authentic self-expression will evolve as you practice. Quiet your rational mind as you paint. See what wants to be expressed."
Rather than creating art for a purpose, such as an art exhibition or for others, the intuitive painting is a personal and therapeutic method to express yourself, to work through creative blocks or connect to your inner wisdom. It is meditiative in nature and there is no "right" or "wrong" with the end result. It's about opening your true, authentic nature up and using art to express it on paper, canvas or any other medium.
Klammer adds that there are some benefits of a intuitive art practice as part of self-care and creative self-expression:
"1. As you cultivate your authentic creative flow it becomes easier to let go of perfectionism and the inner critic.
2. When you exercise your spontaneous right brain you invite insight and discover wisdom.
3. When you let your brush move spontaneously, you discover an authentic painting "style" that is beyond a learned technique.
4. When you paint authentically, you generate self-compassion."
-Source: Shelley Klammer (copyright by the author, all rights reserved)
How to Start an Intuitive Painting Practice
Check out these 10 Tips for Intuitive Painting by artist Nancy Fletcher Cassell which explores ways that you can explore starting a practice, which includes everything from starting an art journal, releasing stress and working through creative blocks.