It’s not everyday that I get to be asked for an interview by one of my favorite artists and creative advocates! Carrie Hanna of ArtistStrong recently interviewed me about my thoughts on creativity, my inspirations and how I work as an artist. Carrie has built a career of not only creating wonderful artwork but also championing and helping other artists!
It’s summer and an excellent time to catch up on reading!
Although typically summer is good to read more fiction-based works, don’t neglect the opportunity to learn more about how to enhance your creativity, especially if you are striving to reach some creative goals before the end of the year.
I thought I would share a few of my favorite books that I have found to be helpful with my own creativity. They all can be found in a variety of formats (Kindle, hard cover, soft cover or audio) and range from including exercises to help you get going with your creative work to providing motivational messages to keep you on track.
From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.” http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/
The first thing I noticed about this book is how upbeat it is. Gilbert gives down-to-earth and at times humorous testimony on the creation process in a fun and provocative way. She provides anecdotes about personal creative triumphs and failures as a writer, as well as share stories from other artists which helps us all not to be discouraged from our own short-comings. The one-liners and awesome testimony ultimately focuses on encouraging readers to over come their own fears, whether by other people or themselves and have curiosity instead, lead the way to creative fulfillment.
“The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, it’s an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Perhaps more vital in today’s cultural climate than it was when it was first pulbished a decade ago, it is powerfully provacative and inspiring work.” The Artist’s Way
“The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection with God.” Wikipedia
I consider this book is the “Grandmother” of creativity books and one that is most recognizable all over the world. The book was first published in 1992, is divided into 12 chapters with exercises that can be conducted on a weekly basis, with topics such as recovering a sense of creative identity to recoverging a sense of faith. Two important tools that Cameron shares for creativity recovery is Artists Dates and Morning Pages.
I first read this book in the early 2000s and was amazed how much it helped me to not only open my own creativity but also manifest success in other areas of my life. I highly recommend it as the starter book for anyone who is interested in reclaiming their creative gifts at any point of their life.
“The Desire Map is a holistic approach to life planning that uses your core desired feelings as the guidance system for your goal setting. Over 125,000 copies sold and print in multiple languages.
Here’s the vibe of it: “With an organic elegance The Desire Mapcouples our primal desire-energy with the inborn intelligence of our feelings. The result? Optimizing our time on Earth. LaPorte’s joie de vivre is contagious. Prepare to catch it!” – Michael Bernard Beckwith I Life Visioning
And here’s why you need them: You’re a seeker who wants to get things done. You want to take your life from good to great. You want to strive less and at the same time, open up to the fortunes of life — from greater life force and passion, to cash, adventure and freedom of every kind. You’re here to design a life that’s an expression of your soul.” – DanielleLaPorte.com
The Desire Map was a life saver for me when I became personally dissatisfied with the way my art career was moving. The book brilliantly leads you to the core question…”how do you want to want to feel?” That question has lead me to make a lot of decisions based on what she defines is the “core desired feelings”…the main 3-5 feelings you want to experience with whatever you are doing, the relationships you are in engaged in or the choices you are making. Since 2016, I have been working with the Desire Map to serve as a guide regarding almost everything I do. If I am engaged in a project that does not meet my current (annual) core desired feelings, I get out of it. As a creative person it is important that I stay true to my commitment to my creative practice. Using the Desire Map process, I am able to identify the projects and activities that resonate with my soul rather than from an ego-based perspective.
This book is perfect for those who are defining their creative goals and need help ensuring that they choose the kind of projects and activities that support them.
“Most people associate Georgia O’Keeffe with New Mexico, painted cow skulls, and her flower paintings. She was revered for so long—born in 1887, died at age ninety-eight in 1986—that we forget how young, restless, passionate, searching, striking, even fearful she once was—a dazzling, mysterious female force in bohemian New York City during its heyday.
In this distinctive book, Karen Karbo cracks open the O’Keeffe icon in her characteristic style, making one of the greatest women painters in American history vital and relevant for yet another generation. She chronicles O’Keeffe’s early life, her desire to be an artist, and the key moment when art became her form of self-expression. She also explores O’Keeffe’s passionate love affair with master photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who took a series of 500 black-and-white photographs of O’Keeffe during the early years of their marriage.
How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living delves into the long, extraordinary life of the renowned American painter, exploring a range of universal themes—from how to discover and nurture your individuality to what it means to be in a committed relationship while maintaining your independence, from finding your own style to developing the ability to take risks. Each chapter is built around an aspect of living that concerns women today of all ages: how to find your own path; work with passion and conviction; express yourself; be in a relationship without sacrificing your sense of self; and do it all with an effortless, unique style.
As with Karbo’s previous books, How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living is not a traditional biography, but rather a compelling, contemporary reassessment of the life of O’Keeffe with an eye toward understanding what we can learn from her way of being in the world.” – KarenKarbo.com
This is not a how to regain your creativity book. It is an inspiring read, focusing on one of the art world’s most talented and renown artists in the 20th Century. Karbo takes us on a journey of how O’Keeffee became…well…O”Keeffee. The story of the artist’s life provides a timeless testimony on how Georgia took risks and worked outside social norms at a challenging time for women artists to stay focused on her own individuality and creative talent to produce some of the most beloved artwork that is still celebrated today.
This is the perfect book if you are looking to learn about an artistic icon and how their life can be an inspiration for your own creativity.
Feel free to add your favorite books on creativity in the comments so you can share with others as well.