Creativity Coaching Online

At the end of the summer I attended a free online “Creativity Chat” hosted by Jessica Outram, and it felt really good to connect with other creative souls, and talk about art, writing, and the process of creativity. It was all about giving ourselves permission to create! (The next zoom gathering is this Sunday, September 20, 2020).

Jessica has a variety of offerings ranging from email newsletters and creative prompts, to online chats and workshops; So if you need to break-through a creative block, or if you have had the urge to create but don’t know where to start “Creativity Coaching” is for you! Certainly check out her creativity blogs for more info too.

“How do you integrate creativity into your daily life? Do you search for ideas?  How easy is it for you to identify with each creative opportunity that is available to you every day? Have you recognized creativity as a core function of a happy life? Creative energy is sustainable and renewable. It is available to everyone. You can live a creative life without compromise. This is possible.” – Jessica Outram, owner of Creativity Coaching.

​Be sure to follow Creativity Coaching Canada on Facebook for daily updates.

Expanding On The Arts

There is something about the crisp air of September that always helps clear my head, and get me motivated again. Since August I have been working on a few custom oil paintings, and playing around with some merchandise from previous works. Tote bags, mugs, and the 2021 calendar are a few on my list of “things to do.”

Since covid hit, and my yoga classes have gone virtual, I have had to get creative with my business (no pun intended!) and expanding the arts just seems like the most natural direction to go.

Keep your eyes open, as I am hoping to contribute my work to a few upcoming events in October, and I will be promoting them on my social media platforms so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

If there is any chance you might want a custom painting as a gift (to give or receive), please contact me as soon as possible. Since changing my medium from acrylic to oil, I need much more time to prep and for paint to dry! Planning ahead is the best option.

I look forward to sharing more work in the near future, so stay tuned as always!

Forty-One is Fun

August 25, 2020, I turned 41 years old; and I must say, despite this pandemic, it has already started off better than last years 40th!

I felt like 40 was going to be a turning point for me, but instead of it being the positive one I envisioned, it turned out to be a mildly tragic year. Pandemic being the most obvious challenge of the past year, but also dealing with health concerns, relationship challenges, and a massive creative block.

During my 40th year I had so little energy or motivation to do anything – and once covid-19 hit Canada, there was no opportunity to focus on anything but getting my kid through his online schooling and trying to re-structure my yoga classes to online teaching. That was overwhelming enough!

With that being said 2020 has actually ended up resolving many of the said-challenges noted above. All my health concerns are resolved, my energy and focus has returned 10-fold, I made peace with my relationships, yoga classes are back on track, and I have busted through my creative block with flying colours (pun intended).

Plans are in the works for my 2021 Calendars (the new collection of oil paintings), and tote-bags, and other possible merch (mugs? magnets? What would you like to see made available for purchase? I’m thinking Christmas gifts!)…

All in all… Life is okay, and I’m looking forward to another year of creating!

Painting and Writing

WAVES

Words roll over me

Like waves in the sea

Sometimes above

Sometimes below

But always

Drowning

(2008)

A writer my whole life, rarely have I shared or published any work.

I am much more in my comfort zone as a painter; it is a form of expression that feels more limitless to me. Open to interpretation, for better or worse. I know what I see and feel, but someone else might see or feel something different gazing at a painting. I like that about painting, that my landscapes likely won’t be judged as harshly as my writing might be.

Writing makes one much more vulnerable. Writing can become messy, and entangle others into a world they don’t want to be apart of, or exposed in. Writing can hurt feelings, cause conflict, and trigger people. Writers, in my opinion, are the bravest people in the world. They are bold, fearless, want to be seen and heard, they don’t care what you think (or they do, but they write anyways!), they value their own voices and opinions and ideas. They voluntarily throw themselves to the wolves. Why? I have no idea… a calling?

I have felt my whole life, called to write. It helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings. Since I was a teenager I have likely filled over a hundred journals, all of which I burned before 2010. Since then I have filled 46 more books. I have binders full of poetry, stories, and notes. Writing has always been very private for me, therapeutic and cathartic.

Then, I wrote my first song last year; and a new connection was made for me in writing. David Newland hosted a workshop through Spirit of the Hills (SOTH), annual art festival. At that point, I had just picked my guitar back up for the first time in years; I had chords and a tune for a song, but no lyrics. This felt very backwards to me. Yet after this workshop, talking with other creative people, and basically being given permission to “create” without judgment, it all came together. The most valuable part of this workshop, was talking with like minded people, being introduced to new songs and lyrics and allowing a new form of inspiration into my life – community.

With that in mind, when I renewed my SOTH membership recently, I added “writer” along with my usual “visual artist” in the application; because I want to connect with other writers too. I want to dive in, explore, and learn about this art form that I’ve never taken seriously; or more so, that I have been afraid to take seriously. Wish me luck!

Who Inspires You?

20200405_134157

In June 2017, I saw the O’Keeffe exhibit at the AGO, in Toronto. It blew my mind. She was never an artist I related to, or was really very familiar with. I always associated her with big flower paintings, that were of very little interest to me. However, when I saw this exhibit, of her vast subjects and materials, I gained a whole new respect for her and her work.

The more I have learned about her over the last three years, the more relatable she becomes, especially her relationship to land/scape and painting. Can you believe I bought this book at the exhibit three years ago, and just yesterday sat down to read it? I had looked at the images many times, but never read the content. I found myself more and more inspired by each essay, letter, and time period.

As I lazily make my way through these early pandemic days, mostly with very little worries as I am privileged enough to stay home safe with my child; I read about this woman artist who lived through the first world war, a 2-year flu pandemic, the Great Depression, and then the second world war… I feel nothing but awe and reverence towards her. Very humbling.

At 53 years old, in 1940, she bought herself a small piece of property in New Mexico. But it wasn’t until her husband passed away six years later that she made it her permanent home. She found a new freedom in her life, she learned to drive, she traveled the world, and she painted.

After finishing the book last night, I pulled out an old acrylic painting I have been stuck on for over a year, and decided to do it over in oils. I’m thinking about the travels I will be able to do once this pandemic has passed, and we are safe to explore the world again. Ghost Ranch is on my radar now. Iceland is still a dream. And I’m thinking a drive through the Northwest Territories to the Yukon would be good for my Canadian Landscapes inspiration.

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“Dreaming of Iceland” Work in Progress

In the meantime, I will keep working with what I’ve got… books, photographs, and other artists to inspire me. Who inspires you?

Keep On Truckin’

 

What a strange time, in the calm before a potential storm, of this covid-19 pandemic. How are you spending your time, as the world around us (at least in Canada) slows down?

I am trying to do as little as possible, and avoid as many people as possible. A lot of this is beyond our control (I was notified that our yoga groups can no longer gather at the current locations).

When I titled this blog “keep on truckin'” I didn’t mean – keep on living life as normal. I meant it’s time to do something productive, at home. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to do things that have been on my “to do” list for  years. Like finish writing my yoga manual. Maybe write another simple song that has been brewing in the background of my mind. Create. I unpacked the art studio again, and got out the oil paints… and the 8th Juried Show for the Colborne Art Gallery is coming  up. I wasn’t going to enter this year, because I didn’t have anything new, but maybe I will by the end of this month… and even if I do none of these things, I have a ginormous pile of books I’ve been wanting to read that I never get to.

 

What’s your plan for the next few weeks? I hope something that can ease your mind and soothe your heart. Share in the comments below!

How Five Years Fly By

In 2015 I took a trip to Jasper, Alberta, that changed the direction of my life and art. I started painting the Rocky Mountains, and selling my work. I started hosting 2 shows a year, doing custom paintings, and planning trips and projects to help propel my art-career forward.

Mountain Tree cropped

In the last five years I have made two trips out west (one to Alberta and one to British Columbia), multiple trips up north (camping at Lake Superior and Killarney Provincial Parks), and come to love and appreciate my local landscapes along Lake Ontario and the rolling hills of Northumberland County. I planned a trip to Iceland for an art residency, that I was unable to follow through on in October of 2019, but hope to one day re-assess that dream. Overall, life has been good.

rocky mountains banff juried show

My work has been shown locally at Northumberland Hills Hospital, Campbellford Library, Colborne Art Gallery, Art Gallery Northumberland’s Shop on 3, Belleville’s Parrott Gallery, Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop, and in the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. Round Hill Studio in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, still carries a variety of my prints. I have painted 14 custom paintings since 2015; and sold almost 40 other original paintings. THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who supports the arts, values this creative work, and who has my art hanging in their homes.

studio jasper (2)

We have now arrived at 2020. Where did those last 2 decades go; and what lies ahead? For my art, I do not know. Yikes! I know I need to travel again, I need a new project to focus on. Likely a camping trip next summer (Bruce Peninsula?)… and otherwise I will just keep dabbling as my heart desires.

Cheers to another 5 years, another decade, and hopefully another 20 years of creating!

Pop-Up ART Show | Port Hope

Come say hello!

Sunday, December 8th

11:30am – 3:30pm

249 Ridout Street, Port Hope

ABOUT SHANNON WOOD

Shannon Wood’s artistic view of the world emerges spontaneously and candidly from a fusion of her colourful imagination and her emotive experiences.

You can follow her Facebook Page: Shannon Wood Art.

 

ABOUT ME, JENNIFER ANNE BURKE

Bright and bold Canadian Landscapes. I have been painting mostly in acrylics, but just this year have branched out to experiment in oil paintings. You can view my newest work at the show on December 8th.

You can follow my Facebook Page: Jennifer Anne Burke.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!

Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop

shop outside

Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop

8 Queen Street, Port Hope

Open Thursday to Saturday 11am – 5pm, and Sunday 1 – 4pm

‘Tis the season to start Christmas shopping… what do you buy for that person who has everything? If you are looking for a unique gift, Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop in Port Hope might have just what you need! An eclectic mix of arts is what you will find, and more than just paintings. All local artists and artisans. Go check it out!

I am grateful they are carrying my 2020 calendars (all Ontario Landscapes), along with a few prints and tiny paintings. A perfect place to stop if you are unable to make it to my other shows this year (November 22/23 at St.Mark’s Church, and December 8 pop-up show with Shannon Wood in Port Hope).

Support the arts and shop local this Christmas ❤

Then I Wrote A Song…

So here’s the thing about creativity… it comes in soooo many forms, right?

The other thing about creativity, is we often fight it….. right?

Plus, there’s always someone better doing it… right?

These have been 3 massive blocks for me in my creative life, and no doubt they have been for you too. Conflicts of interest (“I’m a painter not a musician”), reality (“you don’t have time for this stuff”), Self-Doubt (“You must be crazy suddenly picking up your guitar and writing music at 40”)… But here’s the real thing: maybe all those things are true. None-the-less, why not just give yourself permission to explore it all anyways? Stop the criticism and doubt, make the time, and let it flow…

 

What are you resisting in you life? What is that urge or inkling in you that never seems to go away, no matter how hard you push it down?  Maybe you have a poem or book to write, a song to compose, a painting to paint… give yourself permission to do it. You don’t have to do it forever. It might be terrible, but trust yourself enough to let it move through you in whatever form is calling to you. Maybe magic will happen, maybe not. Do it without expectation, except for the simple joy of creating it. To listening to your calling.

THE PROCESS

20191107_153700Believe it or not, it started in grade five. My teacher had a guitar, and the joyfulness I felt when we did music in that portable was so real. I asked my mom for a guitar for Christmas that year, and it was GIGANTIC. The salesman had assured her that I would “grow into it” but I never did (I grew a bit wider perhaps, but no taller).

It was not until grade 10, when a guitar class was added to our high school curriculum, that I considered trying to play it again. During that semester I learned the 4 basic chords, and simple strumming and picking patterns. Yet, still, my motivation waned. It felt so unnatural and difficult, and there was no song I could commit to without getting bored.

20191106_111701I tried selling the guitar when I was in my 30’s… but to my surprise, I couldn’t follow through on the sale; and in fact ended up buying my 2-year-old son a tiny little Fender too. Maybe one day we would learn together?

Something started to shift this year though. I found myself picking up the little Fender frequently. Instead of trying to learn new songs, or master any of the old folk songs I enjoyed, I just started strumming. When I would stop, my kid would tell me to keep playing. He was enjoying it. Then we found a simple chord combo we liked, and the next thing I know we were humming along to it. We had a tune! Yet the lyrics wouldn’t flow…

When I would sit and strum the song, I imagined myself running. Flying. Freedom. Yet, I was stuck. I could not get the song itself to take flight.

THE WORKSHOP

In October, I saw that David Newland was offering a workshop on “The Heart & The Art of the Song”… and with my own writing struggles aside I had a friend who I thought should attend (she writes/sings all the time). I myself was still in song-writing-denial at this point, but felt called to attend the workshop, and it was a game-changer.

I’m not sure I can even pin-point exactly how or what shifted in me after that workshop… but the next day the lyrics came through on their own accord. Truly, as David suggested, I just had to get out of my own way. The song knew what it wanted to be.

Whether or not there will be more … who knows. But I plan on continuing this joyful exploration of this new form of expression for myself… It only took me 30 years to honour it…