Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

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Mindfulness is key

The Artdog Quote of the Week

If ever there was a good argument for staying alert and practicing mindfulness, this is a great one. Whyte has focused a spotlight on an important principle of the human experience.

My Quotes of the Week during the past three Mondays have focused on maintaining an attitude of hope and gratitude in the face of adversity. It’s hard to do, but it’s important work, both in our personal lives and in the public discourse. I’m confident that, unfortunately, we’ll get plenty more practice as time goes forward.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Flowing Free for this quote from David Whyte

A daring, creative choice

The Artdog Image of Interest 

The new year has begun, and if you’re like me you’ve begun to think about the year to come. What new initiatives will you take on? What changes will you make? What new insights will you bring from the year just past?

I’d like to challenge you to look at things afresh, to rethink some of the areas where you may have settled into unconscious habits. To dare to make divergent, creative choices.

Can’t imagine a cooler way to say it–or a more badass attitude to carry into the year to come. Be creatively bold!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Aga’s Pinterest Board, via NanouBlue’s Drole Pinterest Board, for this image!

This square design features a purple, orange, and yellow background to set of a rectangular design by Jeffrey St. Clair. It shows a square design that is mostly orange, with purple, yellow, and black elements. Words surround it. They say: The seven principles: Kuumba: Creativity. To use our creative energies toward creating a vibrant community.”

Creative healing

The sixth day of Kwanzaa

This one is especially near to my heart: the principle of Kuumba, creativity! The only way to build a vibrant community is through the creative devotion of the people within it. Is there any community that could not benefit from some creative healing?

Just as the arts can help revive a dying neighborhood, so can applying creative energy build positive bridges of hope, where before there were only walls of separation. Our whole country desperately needs this kind of creative healing.

What better, more hopeful task can we set ourselves upon than that, this New Year’s Eve?

This square design features a purple, orange, and yellow background to set of a rectangular design by Jeffrey St. Clair. It shows a square design that is mostly orange, with purple, yellow, and black elements. Words surround it. They say: The seven principles: Kuumba: Creativity. To use our creative energies toward creating a vibrant community.”
Image by, and courtesy of, Jeffrey St. Clair. See Credits below.

Creativity Transcends Communities and Careers

There are very few careers or communities that cannot be improved with creativity. It is the driving force of innovation, the power that fuels important breakthroughs. Applied creativity gives us the capability to overcome obstacles and develop greater vision.

And where systems or communities are broken, creative healing is the force that builds them back best. We become “stronger in the broken places” when we harness our creativity for good.

On a square blue and gray background, this vertical design has a top and bottom section. On the bottom is a photo of Mae C. Jemison, the first African American Woman Astronaut, in the microgravity environment of the International space Station. She smiles at the viewer/camera while floating in midair, wearing dark blue pants and a yellow long-sleeved shirt with a NASA patch on it, surrounded by wires and technical gear. Above the photo, on a dark blue background, the words say, “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. -Mae C. Jemison, First African American Woman Astronaut. Students at the Center Hub / Black History Month.”
Quote-image courtesy of Students at the Center Hub.

Creative Healing Scales Up

From personal improvement to mending conflicts in our communities to resolving divisions on the national or international stage, creative healing empowers us.

This square design has a green and red background to set off a vertical rectangular design by Emily Poe Crawford, Em Dash Paper. It is an artistic calligraphy project in green and red on a white background that says, “Devote yourself to your community around you & devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose & meaning. -Mitch Albom.”
Design by Emily Poe Crawford, of the Em Dash Paper, courtesy of OhMyHandmade.com. See Credits below.

Where can you employ creative healing in your life and world today?

IMAGES

Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to Students at the Center Hub for the Mae C. Jemison quote, and to designer Emily Poe Crawford of the Em Dash Paper and OhMyHandmade.com for the Mitch Albom quote.

That funny-looking tree!

Seriously, people. 

You have pets and you also want one of those tree-thingys?

In researching this month’s Images of Interest, I found a BUNCH of funny pictures of pets tangling with Christmas trees.

I’m not going to glorify the ones where the animals appear to be in active danger (though the tree-topper cats are pushing it), but here’s a collection of assorted favorites. Happy holidays!

This was a much-re-posted favorite, all over the Internet.

Assorted critters

It’s not just dogs and cats who get in on the Christmas tree action.

Yes, it’s a rat. Don’t judge–rats make great pets. They are sweet natured and smart. Also take to trees pretty naturally.
Almost a “Hallmark moment,” if you’re a rat-lover.
Here’s another natural climber. Matches the pseudo-flocking pretty well, don’t you think?
Who knew Bearded Dragons made such good Christmas decorations? This one liked the warmth the lights created.
I thought this little guy was especially stunning. When better for a chameleon to show what it can do?

But the Cats rule

Dogs, lizards, rats, and ferrets may take the occasional stab at consorting with the Christmas tree, but the cats OWN this territory. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

This is my favorite Christmas Cat photo of all time.
What? You thought it needed something more?
it’s almost like the toy closet scene from ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, don’t you think?
Ruler of all s/he surveys . . . naturally.
Never doubt it.

So, then, are we who want Christmas trees defenseless?

Well, maybe. But we do still have a few options left.

We could take the “minimalist” approach . . . or is that simply how the tree looked after the cat got done with it?
I think this might qualify as “extreme cat-proofing.”
I actually did a variation on this “Fortress Christmas Tree” idea one year, when we had a puppy. Made it harder for the humans to mess with the packages, too!

Whatever pets you may have–and however they interact with your Christmas tree (if you have one), I hope you got a Christmas laugh from this post, and I wish you the best holiday season possible!

IMAGES: Many thanks to The German Shepherd Dog Community’s Facebook page for the “Oh Christmas Tree” German Shepherd; to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the Christmas tree Rat on a limb and the Christmas Ferret; to Michelle Nyree’s Pinterest Board for the red-package Christmas tree rat; to TikkiLink’s DeviantArt page for the ornamental Beardie, and to Harlingen Pets’ Facebook page for the Christmas Chameleon. As for the cat collection: a thousand thank-yous to: Emma Bruck’s “Emma’s Pics” Pinterest Page, via my own earlier post from Christmas 2015; to FunnyCatsGif’s “Christmas Cat” post, for the two mid-tree cat photos; and once again to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the tall “Tree-topper Cat” and “I’m the Star.” The three “cat-proofed” trees are all from i iz cat’s “6 Cat Proof Christmas Tree ideas to try out during the holidays” page. I appreciate you ALL!

Maintaining, extending

The Artdog Quote of the Week:

We sure could use more leaders with  skills and the mindset to handle conflicts by peaceful means, right now. It’s our key to survival, I think–and I worry, as a result.

IMAGE: Many thanks to BrainyQuote, for this image and quote from Ronald Reagan.

The crazymaker

The Artdog Image of Interest

We’ve all lived or worked with someone like this. I just couldn’t leave this angle out, in a month of exploring the dimensions of horror.

IMAGE: Many thanks to cartoonist Jim Benton, via Neatorama and MoreThanHorror on Pinterest.

Is it REAL?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

It all turns on what we bring to the reading or viewing experience. I firmly believe that (whatever art form we engage) the artwork is not complete until it has been experienced by a third party. Apparently Poe agreed.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Brainy Quote’s Horror Quotes page for this image.

Reality check

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

Stephen King hands us another one this week, a little thought-provoker that I’d like to pair with a second thought from Clive Barker:

IMAGES: Many thanks to Brainy Quotes for the Stephen King image and quote, and to the “Bigger Jaws” Pinterest pinboard, for the Clive Barker image. 

Choosing one’s path

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

A note to the wise: to all of us, beware what path we choose. For writers: this the ultimate key to a good antagonist. Thanks, Mary!

IMAGE: This is another quote-image that’s been pinned several million times to Pinterest boards. I found this file on–yet again–on the pinboard of Stephanie Girolami-James, this time via the “Horror Quotes” pinboard of Amanda Rios.

Breaking out of patterns

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

When we look at creativity’s value, it’s everywhere.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Pinterest, and Professional Artist Magazine for this image. 

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