4/9/15 Notes to Myself: "You can't create in a vacuum. Life gives you the material and dreams can propel new beginnings." -Byron Pulsifer Life does give one "material". I love that! However, this often means I need time in quiet to distill the multitude of material that can be contained in a day vying for my time. Inspiring or irritating as that may be, distractions are a part of daily life. My attitude and how I work with them creatively is what matters. One invaluable tool for me in this process is journaling. Journaling helps me stay focused and ultimately assists in sorting out what's important and what isn't. Not being a "writer" helps because I give myself a free pass in terms of format. This isn't about being grammatically correct or even articulate. It's simply about getting down on paper what's going on around me or inside my heart and mind. Single words or run on sentences are welcome friends. A sketch or two may appear. It's the action that creates the space to breath outside my head. My journal rests beside my desk. It has become a supportive tool in my "paint box". A set of blank, open and willing pages constantly await my presence. There are no judgments or feedback and that's key. The value of this time spent may not be realized until weeks later. What looks like a bunch of random thoughts and notes from daily experiences often contain hints to areas of new work. Answers to hurdles in my process of painting are also frequently resolved. The writing ultimately supports my creative "flow" and that's critical to my process and growth as an artist. And if I'm not growing my art won't either.