Creativity and the Learning Curve

I've been in a learning curve of late, and haven't blogged about it.  Which is very unlike me.  I won't blog about it until I have something to show for it.  Right now my attempts at a new technique are still developing.  I am letting myself be a beginner, and make some wopping failures in the process.  But learning is happening, and I am thankful for that. 

Learning new things is a powerful locomotive for me, in terms of making time to do work.  For a long time, I have been very focused on making Izannah inspired works. What I am working on right now has nothing to do with that, and it has been somewhat freeing.  Like I'm coloring outside the lines.  

This goes along with a kind of self-discovery class that MAIDA Dolls Group has going on right now.  Each week I am posting a self-discovery prompt for "Creating More Like You."  This has been very fun to think about, and fun to hear other people's thoughts as well.  Incidentally, in February MAIDA will be FIVE years old.  I can't believe it.  

A Doll for Dixie

I have a small collection of artist made Izannah dolls. Some were gifts and some are bartered; a couple I purchased long ago. This week a doll made by Martha Bishop of Maboriginals joined the group. 

I love Martha's dolls.  Isn't this a sweet girl? 

Martha also sent along this pinkeep doll which makes me grin! 

This girl will help me focus on getting some of my own dolls completed. 
Here's the doll I am working on now.  

A Doll for Edyth

I made this doll for Edyth, because the head was taken from an antique Izannah Walker doll she once owned. The head for this doll is a purchased composition facsimile of the original Izannah Walker doll.  You can purchase one of three Izannah Walker doll head types from Lymda Hampton of the Little Hamptons.

Usually when I make dolls, I finish them with a final glaze to mute the color and unify the parts.  I will be leaving that part up to Edyth, who has my permission to repaint this particular head and modify it as she wishes.  The dress will not travel with the doll, as I know Edyth has many more appropriate dresses in muted colors. 

Now that I have finished my part of this process as a gift to Edyth, I will return to my own sculpts and dolls.  There's a hint below: 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Good for a snow day!

This soup is a good guideline recipe
It's one of my favorites.
I'm posting it here so I can't lose it.
The LIME is a must in this soup!

So here's what I do differently from the recipe below.....1 CAN of chipotle peppers is toooo much.   So I add just one chipotle pepper.   I usually find that's a bit spicy for me so I add in more chicken broth than they call for.   And then I decide it needs more of the other stuff.  Ha ha!  It's how I cook.

So use this recipe as a guideline,
and start off with very little chipotle peppers
unless you have an iron stomach.  ;-) 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 – 7 oz. can chipotles in adobo sauce  \
(NOTE, I use only 1 chipotle pepper for the soup.)
Chilies finely chi\0pped or mashed, sauce reserved

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 cup shredded carrots
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breasts,
cooked, and chopped into bite sized pieces
juice from ½ lime
salt to taste
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey jack cheese
chopped green onions

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, tomatoes, chipotles, adobo and broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in corn, green chilies, beans, cilantro, chicken and lime juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese and chopped green onion.

Yield: 8 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving: Unable to calculate.

See other recipes I recommend at

Honor What You Can Do

This past week I mentioned on Facebook that I was trying a yoga class. Mind you, I haven't done anything other than walking and regular life movement (hello laundry!) in years. So it was a stretch for me. Literally. Ha ha ha, I crack me up! It was hard, but I did it. I reported back on Facebook that I was thankful to have done it, and glad I hadn't fallen over. And this comment from Lori Ann Corelis stuck with me.

 My whole life I have had a kind of impatience with my body for one reason or other. Some of it came from societal expectations. I was always comparing myself to a yardstick that was touted as the beautiful ideal, as if there is only one kind of beauty.

This relates to being an artist, as well. So often we bump up against what we see in our mind and what our hands can execute, especially in the beginning stages of learning something new. I have blogged about the time I cried in art school. This is particularly true for people who are trying to create works which look like creations from the past. It is sometimes hard to let go of the yardstick we measure our work against and be thankful for our own perspectives, our own creations, the work of our own hands. (This is why MAIDA Dolls Group has self-discovery prompts this year, under the title of "Creating Like You.")

Thank you, Lori Ann, for that comment. it's been rattling around in my head since I read it. There is a proverb that talks about saying the right thing at the right time. Older translations read "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." The Message, a modern version of the Bible, puts Proverbs 25:11 this way:

If I approach movement and creativity from the perspective of honoring what my body can do for me, how would it change my work and life?

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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