The Friday Five – Discover Your Creative Gifts

The Friday Five boats 1

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings.  Our current theme is “What have you done with your Gifts?”

Previous TFF’s can be seen here.

For the last four years I have been the facilitator of the art programme of Cancer Support Services Barbados.  It has been such a wonderful experience and, in sharing what I know, I have received so much more in return.

In today’s Friday Five I’d like to share with you what I have learned by being the facilitator and instructor of a visual arts programme.

group artwork

Insight 1:  Make it a place where people want to come.

Art is a vehicle for self expression so there are no mistakes.  Take care to create an encouraging and supportive environment where participants feel comfortable experimenting and discovering their innate creativity.

Insight 2:  Be sensitive to student needs

The concept of fairness in the classroom does not mean treating everyone the same.  It means giving them what they need to feel successful.  Some students will need additional assistance and encouragement to “let their hair down”.

Insight 3:  Enthusiasm is contagious–remember to bring yours!

‘Nuff said.

Insight 4:  Embrace guest teachers

One  facilitator cannot know everything, so invite other artists to share their talents.  In this way you are assured to incorporate the interests of the group into the curriculum.  One of our most successful units was paper making and card making facilitated by a wonderful guest teacher.

Insight 5:  Building and maintaining a successful programme takes time and commitment.

It takes time to build trust and to get to know people.  It also takes continuous effort on the part of a facilitator to maintain interest and encourage participants to make art between classes.  Take it from me, it is worth your best efforts.  You will be rewarded beyond expectation.




The Friday Five – Discover Your Creative Gifts

The Friday Five boats 1

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings.  Our current theme is “What have you done with your Gifts?”

Previous TFF’s can be seen here.

July 2015 marks the 4th anniversary for The Art Programme at Cancer Support Services Barbados. Many of the participants have been with the group since its inception. As programme facilitator, I’d like to share some insights from the journey of those who were initially convinced that they didn’t have a creative bone in their body.  I hope the lessons we learned will urge you to begin your own creative journey.

Insight 1: Start Small
The class started simply, each student equipped with an artist’s pen and piece of paper. We doodled.

Over time, artwork blossomed from this,


to this,

group artwork

to this!


Insight 2: Keep moving forward
As time went on we developed skills and took on more artistic challenges. We learned how to make paper, prints on a geli plate and expressed ourselves using mixed media.

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Insight 3: Before we knew it…..
We embraced our creative side and discovered that we are all creative. It’s amazing what happens when you nurture your talent.

Insight 4: Just when we thought we couldn’t push ourselves any further, we stretched yet again.
In May we held our first Art Exhibition and learned how to make prints from our artwork. The press came to our opening, we made the papers and we were on the local newscast!

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And then, to put the icing on the cake prints of the students’ artwork were presented to speakers at Cancer Support Services’ annual conference.

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Insight 5: Art class isn’t just about the art
We also realized that the classes aren’t only about creating –we made new friends with which to share, learn and feel part of a community. We celebrate birthdays and support each other during the tough times. It has been a very worthwhile journey.

So for those of you who think you aren’t creative, or wish you had a vehicle for self expression, art is waiting for you. Come and discover your gifts.

To find out more about Cancer Support Services Barbados and the Art Programme visit their website here and connect with them on Facebook here.


Developing Your Creative Practice–Part V What to Do When You Get “Stuck”

Welcome to Part Five of Developing your Creative Practice. You can view previous articles in the series here.

You’re probably wondering, after looking at the title to this post, if there’s any sense to the order of the articles in this series? First there’s the article “Why Should I Care About Developing a Creative Practice?, and then Part II gives pointers on “How to Choose”. We are told to be gentle with ourselves and “Learn to Love the Word ‘Beginner’” and then encouraged in Part IV, “The Magic of ‘Me Time’”. Now, in this latest installment, we’re stuck? What’s up with that?

Getting stuck happens to the best of us. It may happen at any point in our creative practice, whether we’re just starting out or in the midst of creating great things. We need to find a way to move around and over these obstacles to creativity. Here’s what I do to get “unstuck”. Continue reading

The Friday Five

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings.  February’s theme is “Beautiful Words”.

Previous TFF’s can be seen here

This week it’s time for a little “Word Play”:
1. How clever is this? Loving this video “Word as Image”.
2. Master sign painter RJ Guzzardi on “The Lost Art”
3. Go back to school with Dangerdust. (via Visual News)
4. Beautiful Type’s bloggers share their passion for typography
5. Waldeinsamkeit, anyone? Spice up your vernacular with “Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures”. (via Mapita Blog)



Developing Your Creative Practice — Part III Learn to Love the Word “Beginner”

“Enjoy developing your talents. How silent the wood if no bird sang save those who sang best.”


I read a wonderful article some time ago that I wish I had kept. It spoke of how we wanted, needed, to be instant masters of our newest pursuit; that we believed perfection was the only goal and should be achieved almost instantaneously—if not, we considered ourselves failures. We dismissed any thought of being a beginner. How sad, the article went on to say, we were missing out. Continue reading

Developing Your Creative Practice — Part II How to Choose

Water Lily

Water Lily

In the first installment of Developing Your Creative Practice I took a bird’s eye view of selecting and starting a creative practice. In Part II of this series, I’d like to provide some ideas that may help in choosing a creative pursuit.
In addition to being excited by or curious about a creative activity, taking stock of your skills and recognizing how you learn can give you some great insight into narrowing down the field of choice.
While the goal is not to choose a creative pursuit that is easy for you—the point isn’t excellence, perfection or mastery right out of the gate, and maybe not ever—it’s nice to do a bit of pre-work that will increase the odds that you will select an activity that you enjoy and increase your odds for personal success. Continue reading

The Friday Five – Put Art in Your Everyday

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings. Our theme for January is “Art in Your Everyday”.

Previous TFF’s can be seen here.

Who knew?…

that veggies could be so sexy? Watch and then make this amazing veggie tart courtesy of Food Republic…..

that doodling is good for you, aiding in concentration, memory and recall? So what are you waiting for? Unleash your inner doodler and make a card for your Valentine…..inspiration pictured above (art by me!).

that tying a tie could be a creative exercise? 30 Different Ways to Tie a Tie knot…..

that art turns up in the most unexpected places and that often it’s as simple as going for a walk. (link to Icelandic penny).

And lastly…. Tomorrow, Saturday January 31st, is known in some circles as “Inspired Your Heart with Art Day”. So grab a buddy and head out to enjoy that great show/exhibit/concert that’s on at your local museum/gallery/venue. Go and soak up some culture—it’ll do your heart good. Share your artistic adventure in the comments.