Childbirth & Creativity

Art, Childbirth, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, Matrimony, Parenthood, & Family, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

Childbirth is a rite of passage for women, I believe. One of the most obvious and striking differences between men and women is the woman’s ability to conceive and bear new life. This is not to condemn or pass judgement on women who are or have been unable to conceive. Barrenness has historically been regarded as something extremely tragic and I mourn with those who have experienced it while being extremely grateful for my effortless conceptions.

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The rest of this blog post is going to be about the correlations between pregnancy, childbirth, and how they are informative of the creative process.

Anything worth doing in life is hard. I just wrote life in the previous sentence without any hard work but to even get to a life a lot of work has to have occurred. Being pregnant is hard and I say that fully recognizing that I have had two easy and non-eventful pregnancies. In spite of having easy pregnancies I would never say I loved being pregnant. I love the finished product of my pregnancies but being pregnant isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Delivering a child is hard and yet, ironically, I look back on my births as joyous events. Why? Because that pain brought two of my greatest creations. This is what the creative process is like. When I see a painting I have made on my walls, I don’t think about all the negative feelings I had when I was actually creating that painting. I see the painting and appreciate it but I know back when I made the painting I thought I had ruined it at least a dozen times. But of course, I look at my paintings and think how pretty they are and how I should paint more.

Creativity is like giving birth. It’s labor. It’s hard. It takes time. Inspiration is essentially having an orgasm. It’s fun. But for it to fully develop into a new life, it must be carried for months, and then it must be delivered. Or perhaps inspiration is one of those first real kicks that you feel when you’re pregnant. It’s a jolt. You feel it and think wow this is really happening. The sonograms you saw before were cool because you saw the baby but now you’ve felt the baby. That’s what inspiration does it lets you feel it and feelings are exciting. Feelings are a motivating force. When you have an idea for a painting or a song you think oh this is a good idea and you might pursue it. But for that idea to bloom into that painting or song you have to actually sit down and work on the painting or write that song. And sitting down and doing the work can be hard. We procrastinate about it. We say, never mind that wasn’t a good idea. You say you want a baby, but then you wind up in a hospital or are at home in the middle of a painful contraction and you think why am I here? How did I get here? I’m never doing this again. I literally thought these thoughts at least a dozen times during my first labor. Pain is one of those things that it’s hard to really describe unless you are currently experiencing it. Being in labor in many ways is not as hard as our society thinks it is. Movies and television shows portray it either in a comedic way or in a horrific way and I wouldn’t describe labor in either of those terms, especially the latter. But we will put up with pain and labor for a good cause and having a baby is the best reason to put up with some pain. They’re magical. And a little pain for some magic is worth it. This is what happens when we create, we want some magic but in order to bring a work of art to life it must be born and birth is painful.

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My second bundle of magic

How many times do we think as artists this isn’t good enough? Or I should just give up? What we are really experiencing is that doing art despite all our natural or learned artistic abilities is challenging and laborious. We hit this bump on our creative road and think I’m a fraud, I’m not a real artist, when in reality this “bump on our creative road” is birth pains. This is really a contraction and contractions lead somewhere if you breathe with them. The common phrase, “no pain, no gain” comes to mind and is spot on. The only way to have a bundle of magic is to labor and the only way to have a work of art is to labor. Don’t give up. Breathe with it.

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fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

 

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Walking On Water Review

Art, Being an Artist, Books, My Friends, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, God, Photography, The Artist Life

Hello Fiercelings,

I finally finished reading Walking On Water by Madeleine L’Engle. There is a lot of material in this little book. The tag line of the book is “Reflections on Faith and Art” it’s a fabulous little book about well, faith and art. To kind of give you a general idea about what the book’s thesis I am going to share the excerpt that is on the back of the book:

” And as I listen to the silence, I learn that my feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory. It is what makes me respond to the death of an apple tree, the birth of a puppy, northern lights shaking the sky, by writing stories.”

L’Engle was the writer of over some 60 books most notably, A Wrinkle In Time. I have not read that but I intend to. I only became interested in reading Walking On Water because it was referenced and quoted a myriad of times in The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer.

sea shells

 

Let’s dive in.

The first chapter. L’Engle said something beautiful,

 “Why is it that I, who have spent my life writing, struggling to be a better artist, and struggling also to be a better Christian, should feel rebellious when I am called a Christian artist? Why should I feel reluctant to think or write about Christian creativity?”

I thought these rhetorical questions showed strongly how to a large extent we Christians have taken the push from society to leave our faith and religion at home. God has been pushed out of our schools and higher institutions. A Christian scientist for example seems to be an impossibility. The arts used to be largely a religious affair. I think of Michelangelo and Da Vinci. They were THE artists of their time and their works are primarily religious in nature. However, as I say that L’Engle claims something in the next chapter that I found interesting. She says that,

 “…to serve music, or painting, or words is a religious activity, whether or not the conscious mind is willing to accept that fact. Basically there can be no categories such as “religious” art and “secular” art, because all true art is incarnational, and therefore “religious.”

My first thought when she claimed that was that I take issue with it because there is a lot of “Christian” art out there that I do not like. But L’Engle explains this two pages over by saying,

“This confusion comes about because much so-called religious art is in fact bad art, and therefore bad religion.”

That made complete sense to me. Much of the so called “Christian” art that I dislike, I dislike it because I consider it to be very shallow and empty of real religious value. The art has no depth. It is bad religion. L’Engle is saying it is bad art because it is bad religion. Of course, in order to even engage is this type of categorization you have to go along with L’Engle by agreeing that all art is religious. Whether knowingly or unknowingly to the artist all art is a reflection of the Creator. This turns the whole idea of “beauty  is in the eye of the beholder” upside down because now, “good” art brings glory to God and has nothing to do with personal preferences or opinions.

wet seashell

 

I don’t think L’Engle was trying to answer the question “What is art?” but she did. Art is religious. Good art is good religion and vice versa. Agree or disagree? I’m leaning toward agreeing.

Overall: Fantastic book that really gets you thinking and pondering. Worth reading. Must read if you consider yourself to be an artist regardless of religious views.

This is one of four posts about Walking On Water. Click on the link for part 2, 3, and 4.

Fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

The Creative Call

Being an Artist, Personal

Back when I was in Oklahoma,  I stumbled across a book titled The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer in the church library. I immediately fell in love with the book! It is a very practical book for artists of any kind or simply for creative people in general. I was drawn to the book because you will remember my word for the year is create. This book is all about being a Christian and being an artist! Ahhh, I am in love! It is kind of like the Purpose Driven Life meets being an artist.  I finished the book not long after I got it. The book is designed for the chapters to be read weekly which I didn’t technically follow per se but I believe I did end up reading it in roughly the amount of time it is intended to be read.

Single Bird on Beach

One of the things that the author talks about in the book is having space for you art or having a studio. I’ve been thinking of this recently considering the fact that I am in a new house in Florida. I need space to do my art. So I have mentally blocked out parts of the house that don’t seem to get used very much that can be “my art space.” Another thing that the author talks a lot about is that in order to create art you have to create art. Meaning that you have to do the work. This is another theme that occasionally I find myself learning about. What is my creative process? Sure, every artist has moments of inspiration at times where everything clicks and works out splendidly, but what led up to that moment of inspiration? Can it be reproduced? I read something somewhere that said a lot of artists have a specific process that they return to that can help get creative ideas flowing. I have said before in a previous post that inspiration comes in waves, so you better learn how to surf. I just love how fitting that is considering I live by the ocean now =D

Waves and seashells

Lastly, the author shares that in her house she has a quote on a wall that says “Go to your studio and make stuff” which reminds her to just do art. Good reminder. I made a painting that simply says the word create.

Waves Watermark

Fiercely pursuing my creative call,

alexandria

Learn to Surf

Philosophy of Life

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Don’t you just love it when you feel empowered? You feel carefree, focused, energized and productive? You feel like your creativity is flowing, is making waves and all you can do is try to get what is in your mind out fast enough so that you don’t forget it! Welcome to the adrenaline that is inspiration. Years ago I wrote down in an old journal/planner something that has stuck with me and come back to me everytime I am in creating mode. I wrote down in the process of writing a song or something that inspiration comes in waves, so you better learn how to surf.

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Inspiration comes in waves, so you better learn how to surf

Have you ever had a brilliant thought as you lay in bed about to go to sleep? You think to yourself, oh I should write this down but you’re half asleep and you don’t want to turn on the light and jot down whatever you’re thinking about because then you’ll be awake and you’re trying to sleep! You wake up in the morning thinking what was that great idea that I had last night? I can’t remember, oh well, I should’ve written it down. Well, that my friends, is inspiration. Sometimes it comes sporadically, sometimes it comes frequently. You have periods when it is constantly present or it makes a rare appearance. It comes in waves. Sometimes the waters are calm, sometimes there’s a hurricane and you better take cover ( and by take cover, I mean write down everything you think of!). Inspiration comes in waves, maybe small or maybe large but if you want to capitalize on your moment of inspiration, learn to surf.

Surfing is FIERCE,

alexandria  FARM, COLOR RUN, FIERCE 140