Slice of Life: Cultivating Creativity


I am not an artist. But over the past year or so, drawing has been nudging its way into my brain. At NCTE, Linda Rief spoke about incorporating several different art techniques into a poetry project. Linda’s presentation inspired Vicki Vinton to invite readers of her blog, To Make A Prairie, to do “something creative” in response to a poem they love. So when I was offered the opportunity to attend an art “camp” for adults, I jumped at the chance. For the past two days, I have been sketching and painting and making collages.  This experience has been everything I hoped it would be and more.

One of yesterday’s activities found us out in the garden, gathering images. It was a classic summer day: bright blue sky, puffy white clouds, insects buzzing from flower to flower, birds chirping from the tree tops. It was lovely just to sit and soak in the beauty of the moment. Our teacher instructed us to do just that, but to write and/or sketch the images surrounding us.

Back in the studio, we were given time to turn our thoughts into haiku, then time to capture the image in watercolor or colored pencil.

I drafted two poems based on my observations:


serene summer day

breezes whisper through pine boughs

lilies trumpet joy

First try–tiger lilies are hard to draw!


hidden sweetness

clover blossoms pink as dawn

bees hover and buzz

This experience has been quite an eye-opener, and I’ve had some interesting insights into my writing process through drawing. Driving to the studio yesterday, I was filled with anxiety about this experience. Now I wish I had more than four days to continue to forge what Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, calls “pathways into [my] consciousness through which creative forces can operate.”

Thank you, as always, to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for hosting Slice of Life each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Cultivating Creativity

  1. All lovely, but the special part is the joy you’re communicating here. I too love the “lilies trumpet joy”, also “clover blossoms pink as dawn”. It is fun to sketch, glad you are enjoying this time.


  2. I too am not an artist, so I celebrate your willingness to overcome your anxiety and try something new. Wonderful haiku, and beautiful tiger lily.


  3. Love both these poems, Catherine, and your sense of enjoyment in the process. I experimented with “getting creative” up at Linda Rief’s Boothbay workshops – such fun to discover how playing with paint inspires playing with words.


  4. Love the poems and the lilies, Catherine! Reminded me of an art class I took when I was a teenager and I tried to draw a vase of daffodils. What I most remember was the intensity—and the reverie–of looking really closely at every flute and fold of the flowers, and your post made me want to experience that again. Maybe I need an art camp too!


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