Creative Friends

Meet My Creative Friend: Victoria Lynn Hall

I believe in the power of art partly because of my creative friend, Victoria Lynn Hall.  She is a truly multi-talented, multi-passionate Renaissance Soul. As an artist, blogger and musician, I’m in awe of how creativity permeates everything she does.

I’m sure she’ll inspire you as much as she does me.

What does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative means a lot of things to me. It means focusing on possibilities rather than limitations. It means problem solving and trying to make order out of chaos. And it means recognizing beauty and doing something to bring that beauty into the light for others to see. 

When did you first realize that you absolutely had to lead a creative life?

I think I’ve always led a creative life, I just didn’t always value it. I spent way too much of my early life wishing I was more normal and yet all the people I admired were extremely creative in one way or another. 

It was reading and practicing the tenets of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron in my twenties that finally made me take myself more seriously as an artist and see myself as in the same league as the people I idolized. It started me on a path of healing the wounds that told me my creative and imaginative talents were something frivolous so that I could see them and utilize them as the incredible gifts that they really are.

It’s a path I’m still walking.

What inspires you?Creative art by Victoria Lynn Hall

Color, pattern, form. Music, art, nature. Questions, mysteries, possibilities.

Almost anything can spark my imagination and once a vision is formed there of something that could be created or transformed, it’s impossible for me not to pursue it.

What do you want your art to communicate?

I see making art as a communication between myself and my higher self (and perhaps even something beyond that).

I don’t seek to control that conversation but rather focus on expressing my thoughts, feelings, hopes and visions as honestly as possible through whatever medium I am using and trusting the response I get back from that. However, almost always what comes out of that collaboration conveys a story of hope, beauty and transformation.

Creative art by Victoria Lynn HallDescribe your creative process. What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

My most faithful creative routine is journaling.

It is how I check in with myself and it helps me prioritize my creative passions. Writing down what I am thinking, feeling and envisioning for my life shows me where my imagination is engaged and everything flows from there.

What is the most challenging part of the creative process for you and how do you meet that challenge?

The most challenging part of the creative process, for me, is just getting started on something. Usually, I meet that challenge by getting started on or finishing something else.

Having many different types of creative projects going on at once makes me a “productive procrastinator”. I focus on the task that I have the least resistance to and accomplishing that gives me the energy and confidence to take on the next task (or inspires a completely new one).

What’s the best advice you were ever given about how to be more creative?Creative art by Victoria Lynn Hall

This is a tough one for me because I’m not sure I need advice on how to be more creative.

There are actually some days when I would prefer to be less creative, at least long enough to get my laundry put away. But I will tell you one of the mottos I live by, which is engraved in gold letters on a little journal I keep close to me at all times: Trust Your Crazy Ideas.

Is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

I would just like to say that I believe in the magic of kindness, especially when it comes to artists encouraging, inspiring and supporting each other.

Thank you Aprille, for being that magic for me and for inviting me to explore these questions.

Here’s how you can connect with Victoria:

You can find my blog at http://www.ibelieveinart.com/

For creative inspiration and encouragement like my I Believe In Art Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/IBelieveInArtBlog/

You can also connect with me through my I Believe In Art account on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ibelieveinartblog/

And find fun and creative products to inspire your creative soul at http://www.ibelieveinartshop.com/

waves and wonder
The Creative Life, The Sketchbook

Muse Flash: Get out of the studio

When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?  — Ralph Marston

The picnic tables in the park down the street are calling to me. They overlook the bay and I plan to visit them soon with my paints and sketchbook for a little plein air work.

I love my studio but lately I’m hungry to be out where I can smell the ocean and feel the wind. After a dreary, rain-soaked season, I feel flat and empty.

It’s been an easy winter but still…it is winter. At first, I enjoy being cocooned indoors but by March I’ve been inside too long, despite daily walks with the dog.

It’s time to escape and energize my art heart.

One day this week, I’ll take my sketchbook, walk over the our park and set up on one of the tables. The neighbours may think I’m a bit touched but then again, who cares what anyone else thinks?

Even if I don’t paint, it’s never a waste of time to watch waves and listen to the wind.

We all need to get out of our studios and get back into life or we run the risk of growing stale.

Care to join me?

Nathalie Villeneuve
Creative Friends

Meet My Creative Friend Nathalie Villeneuve

This month I’m launching what I intend to be a regular feature – “Meet my Creative Friend”. So let me introduce you to Nathalie Villeneuve, an inspiring artist and very grounded woman living a rich creative life.

Although we have only met in the virtual world (so far), we spoke for over an hour on our first phone call. I definitely count her as a creative friend and we hope to meet in real life.

Originally from Canada, Nathalie Villeneuve now lives in New England. Since I’m originally from New England and now live in Canada it seems we kept the world in balance. (You’re welcome.)

Want to meet her? Read on!

What does “being creative” mean to you?art by Nathalie Villeneuve

Being creative to me means developing the ability to view life from a different perspectives.

If you are a painter and want to paint the ocean, you can paint it exactly how you see it or decide to change the colors and add more waves.

If you are an entrepreneur, you can look at your business and want to expand, you have a choice to see it’s pain points and address them creatively. You can grow or continue to avoid change and stay the same.

In other words, being creative is removing yourself from your comfort zone and venture towards problem-solving. You creatively shift your approach towards life.

When did you first realize that you absolutely had to lead a creative life?

I’ve always loved to draw and paint. After going to school in art, I tried to fit art into a career but I didn’t want to become a teacher. I’m proud of the fact I’ve had several exhibits and sold my art in many states.

However, when I turned 50, I decided it was time to stop ignoring my inner artist. I founded my own business in the “sip and paint” industry and now devote 100% of my time to leading a creative life AND sharing my love for painting with others.

art by Nathalie VilleneuveWhat inspires you?

I paint women. I am inspired by women. I find my inspiration from images, art, daily life situations. I also get inspired when I attend Church.

What do you want your art to communicate?

Mostly emotions. I like to communicate  inner emotions (mainly isolation).

People go through so many emotions and often keep the negative ones to themselves. I hope for my art to become a mirror where people can relate and hopefully reveal something. I want to help them heal through hope, love, togetherness and self-discovery.

I think when people relate to one another through art or other form of communication growth, healing and happiness becomes possible.

Fundraiser by Nathalie Villeneuve
Nathalie loves doing fundraisers!

Describe your creative process. What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

Honestly it’s never the same but lately, I seem to be more creative at night. When all my errands are complete and dinner is done I can relax more and abandon myself to my art.

I started my YouTube channel so now I setup my camera to film videos twice a week. That has become time consuming (especially the editing part). I love it though, because it enables me to share painting and pastel tutorials to a large audience.

Nathalie Villeneuve Studio
Nathalie’s Studio – The Blue Room

What is the most challenging part of the creative process for you and how do you meet that challenge?

I am very busy with my business and I create artwork for my Pause and Paint painters. This has made my art more commercial…but I plan to have an exhibit of my own work at the end of this year.

My challenge is to make time to create larger paintings and paint more freely for my exhibit.

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

“You have a God given talent so you owe it to God to use it” ~ Sarit (my girlfriend…lol)

Art by Nathalie Villeneuve

Is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

I would like to add My WHY, My Vision and My Mission ?

MY WHY: Is to uplift and support women through art, creative outlets & venues.

MY VISION: Every woman will wake up inspired to live a more joyful life through expressing themselves freely and creatively.

MY MISSION: Is to commit all my talent and all my energies to build that world of inspired women so I paint, make videos, teach and invite. I do anything I can to advance my VISION that was set in motion by my WHY.

Links to My Creative Friend, Nathalie Villeneuve

Website and Blog: NathalieVilleneuve.com

My Group: The Women of Facebook Create 

GIRLFRIENDS’ JOURNEY CARDS (SET OF 10) www.GirlfriendsJourney.com

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The Creative Life

We need more boredom

Boredom gets a bad rap these days.

The problem is this – we aren’t creative in special pockets of time or space. Creativity doesn’t occur in isolation from our lives. We are creative all the time, wherever and whenever we are. Everything in our life is raw material. (Just ask the family of a writer.)

Or at least that’s how it used to be

Frankly, I’m worried about the richness of our creative lives these days because so many of us are just so, well…distracted.  Those smart devices are training us to avoid boredom at any cost. We turn to them constantly and when we do, we miss the inspiration all around us. There are ideas floating through the air, waiting for our attention but fewer and fewer of us are paying attention.

Invite boredom

A little boredom might be a good thing

What’s got your attention these days?  Are you actively looking for the creative sparks and ideas that are all around you?

Or does your social media feed keep you distracted?

If your creative well is feeling a little dry, that may be a sign you need to take a vacation from technology and get back to real life. Everything feeds your creativity, if you are awake and aware. Everything.

Challenge yourself. Let yourself feel the boredom. It’s actually fertile ground, contrary to what you might think.

A lot of creative brilliance had its roots in boredom

Start with just an hour. Put down that smart device and pay attention to the world around you for that time.

You might be missing something important.

lighthouse at sunset
The Creative Life

Water: The Magic Element

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”  Loren Eisley

Before our move to Nova Scotia, our home backed onto a quiet lake in Ontario. Living by the water was something I’d dreamed of as a kid and we enjoyed that lake for almost 20 years. I especially loved watching the weather move across the water and the sunsets on the far shore.

Peace of the ocean

However, since moving here to the Bay of Fundy, I honestly feel I’ve traded up.

Anytime of the day I can step out my door and the ocean lies just around the corner, always different, always fascinating. Walking the dog is always an adventure. In the fall an eagle pair hunt along our shoreline. Yesterday, a pair of seals bobbed just offshore, watching us watching them. Fishing boats come and go, while the weather has its way with everything.

by the waterI’m so grateful to be living this close to powerful tides and the sound of waves and wind. The smell of salt and seaweed keeps me aware of the invisible.  Beach-combing for interesting rocks, fishing floats and driftwood has become my new form of meditation.

And honestly, how many people have a lighthouse almost in their backyard?

Water and Creativity

Studies show we are hard-wired to react positively to water. We become calmer and more creative (which is a definite plus for this artist). Being near water gives our brains a rest from all that stimulation around us. And who doesn’t need that these days?

Apparently this preference for water is even responsible for those Aha moments many of us experience in the shower.

For me, there is definitely magic in the water here. There’s just no other way to explain why my life is more peaceful and my art more heart-centered living here on the shore.

Where do you go to feed your creative heart?