O'Reilly logo

Cultivating Your Creative Life by Alena Hennessy

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:24
001-128_28050.indd 24 2/22/12 7:33 PM
(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:25
001-128_28050.indd 25 2/22/12 7:33 PM
“A tree is an
incomprehensible mystery.”
—JI m WOODRING
(Text) (RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:24
001-128_28050.indd 24 2/22/12 7:27 PM
Into the
Woods
Have you ever noticed the way a tree holds space? I like its per-
fect silhouette against the bright blue sky and the way its colors
shimmer and move effortlessly with the wind. To me, there is no
better example than a tree of something incredibly beautiful that
stays resilient despite its surroundings. Like nothing else, it quietly
becomes one with each changing season.
What a gentle reminder is each tree of the transformations we
all go through. It shows us there is something unified taking place
in our experience. It is surrendered in a state of grace. Trees hold a
timeless beauty that we all can embrace, a beauty that we all have
within ourselves.
[ Shown here iS a painting of a tree in Spring made with pen,
ink, and watercolor adorned with jewelS and two peacockS .
t he daYtime moon iS peeking out from the leaveS to give
a feeling of the changing hourS and cY cleS of each daY. ]
- 25 -
c hapter 2
(Text) (RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:25
001-128_28050.indd 25 2/22/12 7:27 PM
(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:26
001-128_28050.indd 26 2/22/12 7:33 PM
(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:27
001-128_28050.indd 27 2/22/12 7:33 PM
(Text)
—VINCENT VAN GOGH
t
r
u
e
w
a
y
t
o
u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
K
e
e
p
y
o
u
r
l
o
v
e
o
f
n
a
t
u
r
e
,
f
o
r
t
h
a
t
is
t
h
e
[ d rawing onlY certain impreSSionS , in abS tract
colorS and S hapeS, createS a minimal but
bold and contraS ted work. ]
a
r
t
m
o
r
e
a
n
d
m
o
r
e
.
(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:26
001-128_28050.indd 26 2/22/12 7:27 PM
into the woodS - 27 -
(Text)
Take your sketchbook with you the next time you walk in the woods. Begin to see the details all
around you. Notice how colors intermingle, light reflects, flowers come together in effortless group-
ings. Observe how numerous shapes can be expressed in one single blossom. Take in how nature
seems to dance without any pretentiousness or assumptions, as if it were saying, “The only time
is now, and in that, perfection can be found.” The beauty of the natural world is so immense and
restorative that it can turn any day around.
The next time you are outside, bring a sketchbook, pencil, and eraser. You can also bring pens
or any other media that you fancy. Sit beneath a tree and close your eyes. Just allow yourself to
follow your breath for five minutes. Notice how your breath moves up and down; allow each exhale
to release any tension. When thoughts come, let them pass like clouds, without grasping or trying
to control them. Feel every tiny hair on your arms and notice every sound. Hear the birds sing from
both near and far away.
Be aware of what feelings or sensations arise in you. Then slowly open your eyes and take it all
in. Begin to sketch. Start with exactly where you are, not where you wish you could be. Look out
onto the horizon and direct your gaze back to your surroundings. Notice how colors and shapes
shift in all directions. You do not need to sketch only what you see, but sketch what you feel as well.
Make up shapes and beings. Create a world around you—slowly, without judgment—that expresses
what you see in this moment. It can be as literal or imaginary as you want. Begin to ponder: What
do I find beautiful? What do I feel when I take in this scenery? Take a little time to draw shapes and
observations only. Draw what impresses you. Leave out what is not necessary. Your sketchbook will
serve as a visual library with words and images that come directly from you.
(RAY)
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28015/28050 Title:RP-Cultivating Your Creative Life
#175 DTP:204 Page:27
001-128_28050.indd 27 2/22/12 7:27 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required