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Creative Life News Blog

A Surprise Gift

This is the season of giving. So, I'd like to share with you an unexpected and rather wonderful gift I received from Art2Life (video at end of this post). Art2Life is an organization I'd joined during Covid, a program founded and headed by Nicholas Wilton, an extraordinary art-and-life coach, who, with his team of artists and technicians make art come alive in a virtual, online setting. Doing so was a new event for me, yet I found not only a program I enjoyed but also a huge community of creative persons who seemed both diverse and supportive of one another. It proved to be a very active and engaging lifeline for me and many others at all levels of accomplishment (novice to expert), especially during all the disconnection and isolation of pandemic challenges on social gatherings, art shows, workshops, and the like. You can check out the many facets of this approach to art and life on all the usual social media channels (FB, IG, youtube, etc.). There's much good and free instruction given, as well as workshops for a fee.

photo of an art "inspiration board" by Janet Strayer
"inspiration board" by Janet Strayer

I'd been enrolled in one the Art2Life programs (Creative Visionary) for some months, and learning new things as well as important old things (that I thought I knew) in new ways that made them more potent and accessible-- pieces of from earlier experience and learning put into a "method" or way of approaching and handling the challenges and joys of creative artwork. It certainly fit my way of thinking about my art in my life and what I wanted it to do.

After I'd been in the program for some months, the big surprise came when Nicholas Wilton asked if I'd agree to be interviewed. I did, knowing him to be a very down-to-earth, engaged and engaging artist and teacher. "Why me", I wondered. No clear answer, but I suppose my story and my art might be of sufficient interest to reach people it might inspire. I enjoyed our one-to-one interview that lasted nearly an hour and half. Based upon this, and subsequent photo/video material I was asked to supply, the Art2Life team produced the video presented here (shown first at Art2Life FB page on Dec. 13, 2021). I think you might enjoy it, and (from the online comments) find it inspiring for your own creative path.

This video, created by Nick's team, distills my story: my great leap of doubt to becoming an artist. My comments are necessarily condensed without the full context of the original interview, so I'd like to clarify something important to me.

I became a researcher and academic in Developmental and Clinical Psychology because I loved (still do) the field of human development and my specialization in empathy development. As a child I loved art but knew (and was confirmed) that I was far more skilled in intellectual than artistic pursuits. So, my career choice to become an academic was both "natural" to me and encouraged. I never regretted that choice. It just became clear to me, after a good and satisfying time, that university life had changed and no longer suited the creative and artistic parts of myself that needed to be let loose-- to live the unlived parts of oneself. I'm sure many of you understand that feeling.

As for Now-- making art is an ongoing revelation to me. I create art to explore and often to celebrate life in its variety, focusing on the intersections of worlds within and around us. I wish for my work to connect with others in ways that enliven the senses, the imagination, and the different experiences people bring to it.

Enjoy the story. Enjoy the art. May this video spur you on to your own creative adventures, and may you find many moments of joy along the way. I'd like to hear about it..


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