Thursday, July 23, 2020

Beginners Mind

Bonjour, friends--

I've been working on a novel about Paris in May 1968 with flashbacks to Paris during World War II, including scenes with dancers from a fictitious cabaret called "Le Crocodile."

Along with working on the novel, I've been taking painting lessons by Skype with the amazing artist Jacqueline Rogers.  She's the author and illustrator of "Goblin Moon" and the illustrator for Beverly Cleary's famous Ramona Series.   And she's a local artist!

Before I began my lessons, I was obsessed with my black pens (particularly TUL gel pens--they're very velvety and smooth, although not waterproof).  But the point is, Jackie got me to change things!

I learned to make a watercolor wash and paint with a brush and finally give up my black pen habit.  It wasn't easy!  Jackie explained that I needed to practice using thick and thin lines. 

And, look.  Here's a illustration of one of my characters parents from the 1930's, done with the usual black pen:

And here's a little painting of Mirabelle, dancing with feathers at Le Cabaret Le Crocodile, circa 1940's, done in ink, watercolor and brush:

I must say, giving up the pen, has made my art challenging, but also more free-flowing.  Both are fun, but I find that it's given me a renewed sense of creativity.

What does this have to do with your writing practice?  
Everything.  When you change up your tools, your style changes, you see new possibilities, and you expand your creative horizons.

This is not about perfection or being the greatest this or that.  It's about living in the place of becoming and embracing the mystery of what you are creating and where your are going.  It's deep!  In fact, I would suggest you embrace the "Beginners Mind."  (Always.)

And, this brings me to this week's creativity prompt:  

Change something.  It could be the tools you use (switch from the computer to writing by hand or switch from paint to pastel).  Change the location where you create.  Change the time of day you create.  Go ahead and make yourself just a little uncomfortable! 

You will be well rewarded for your efforts.

And if you need a little something to get you started.  Take my painting of Mirabelle in Paris or the parents and find the inspiration to paint, draw or write something of your own.

Have fun!


  1. The pandemic has provided opportunities for trying new things and making new friends on the internet.

    1. Bonjour, Denise! And I can see from your social media posts that you are very productive and creative during this time too! Love, Jamie

  2. I love the free flowing new style. What pens are you now using?

    1. I've taken a little break from pens, in favor of water color and India Ink, but when I do you pens, I use Sakura Pigma Micron pens--they're waterproof, so you can outline and then paint ove them. I also like Staedtler Pigment Liner sketch pens. I use the TUL pens when I'm just playing with line drawing and not painting (they're so smooth, but they are not waterproof.). I hope this is helpful!!! Jamie

  3. Those are so beautiful Jamie! I love the! I always love dabbling in different arts and this has inspired me to work on sketching again! I love how minimalist the first one is and how just simple and beautiful the second one is! Plus that shade of pink is perfection! You are just talented in everything you get your hands on!!! :)

    1. Dear Jennifer--Thank you so much for your sweet note! I'm so glad to know I've inspired you to work on your sketching again! I do find that ALL the arts are connected. And oh my goodness, you are such an Artist! Much love, Jamie


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.