Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Few Random Pieces

Here are some photos of pieces I have made throughout the last few months.  I know that I need to spend more time making art, but carving out the time is a challenge.  You probably face the same challenge.

Good luck to all of us in finding time to make art!
- christina
I made a small wall hanging to
help market a friend's creativity class.

I wanted to make a piece using the face stencil in the
center. Drawing the rings with crayons was very relaxing.

I made this page in my traveling art
journal after a rough week at work.

My sister requested "Birthday Girl" pins to give to her
painting students. You will notice 2 "Birthday Guys" in the bunch as well.
A friend helped me made these since I was short on time.

A drawing using NuPastels from my class in the fall.

I had the urge to make an art doll.  She is
about 6 inches tall and her name is Gladys.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Good Book

I love to read, especially non-fiction.  I just finished the book Quiet by Susan Cain.  It was my selection for a book club in which I participate.  We focus on non-fiction books that help us understand the world and our place in it.  My kind of book club!

Quiet is subtitled The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  The author posits that American culture idealizes extroversion to the point that introverts are left feeling inadequate and inferior.  How can you tell if you are an introvert or an extrovert?  One way is to take the Myers Briggs personality test (free versions can be found here and here).  Another way is to ask yourself how you feel when faced with the prospect of going to a party where you don’t know any of the people.  Are you excited (extrovert) or anxious (introvert)?  Although introverts can be good at socializing, they find it exhausting and they need some quiet, alone time to recharge. 

I recently developed another method for differentiating between an extrovert and an introvert.  I call it “the waiter test.”  I have a friend who is an extreme extrovert and whenever we go to a restaurant he befriends the waiter.  Don’t get me wrong, I am always friendly to waiters but this is almost a courtship.  By the time we leave the restaurant, my friend knows the waiter’s relationship status, hometown, favorite pastime, location of the closest living relative, favorite vacation spot, and plans for the upcoming weekend.  On one occasion we left with an invitation to the waiter’s cousin’s christening and gift suggestions.

From the book, I learned many interesting ways that introverts differ from extroverts.
  • ·      Take time to think before they act
  • ·      Work more slowly and deliberately
  • ·      Stay on task longer and give up less easily
  • ·      Tend to be more creative because they are less prone to distraction
  • ·      Are more sensitive to stimulation
  • ·      Are less driven by rewards
  • ·      Are relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame
  • ·      Exercise less, but suffer fewer injuries
  • ·      Are usually less successful in elementary school, but more successful in high school and college

I am definitely an introvert but I can act like an extrovert in certain situations, a concept that is thoroughly explained in the book.  I can’t pass the waiter test, though.  I have tried.  Recently I put all my effort into befriending a waitress and I got as far as learning that she had once lived in the same town where I went to high school.  The friendship wasn’t sustainable, though, and we parted without sharing favorite recipes or the names of our most beloved pets. 

Obviously I have more work to do if I am going to live up to the American extroverted ideal.  Room for growth is a good thing, though.  Waiters of the Midwest beware, because I want to be your friend!

- christina

FYI:  Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, has a Ted Talk about the power of introverts.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Word for 2015

I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions.  Instead, I prefer to select a word for the year.  Selecting the right word is more difficult than you might imagine.  This word will guide my actions and decisions throughout the year so the nuance of the word is important.  After talking to my sister for about 3 hours and looking at the definitions of many words, I finally selected my word for 2015.


I wanted a word that expressed my desire to look outward more than inward.  Sometimes I spend too much time analyzing myself and I would like to focus more on my connection to other people.  I would like to be more thoughtful and more giving.  The word “nurture” expresses my desire to “encourage the growth and development of” my friends, my friendships, and also myself.
Please take a moment to comment on this post and share your word for the year.  I would love to know what you have chosen to guide you through 2015.  Happy New Year, everyone.

- christina

By the way, my word for 2014 was stretch. I am happy to say that I was very successful in stretching myself last year in multiple ways – professionally, artistically, and relationshiply (I made that last word up).