Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just Because It Makes Me Happy

I go back to the simple yet profound book, Steal Like An Artist, over and over again.  I wonder how a guy as young as Austin Kleon got to be so wise. Regardless, I am grateful that he shares his perspective on art and creating.

Austin devotes a chapter to the importance of side projects and hobbies.

If you have two or three real passions, don't feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Don't discard. Keep all your passions in your life. 

I love this philosophy. When I need a little break from photography, I switch over to quilting


It's so important to have a hobby. A hobby is something creative that's just for you. You don't try to make money or get famous off it, you just do it because it makes you happy. A hobby is something that gives but doesn't take . . . No pressure, no plans. It's regenerative. It's like church. 


Don't throw any of yourself away. Don't worry about a grand scheme or unified vision for your work. Don't worry about unity – what unifies your work is the fact that you made it. One day, you'll look back and it will all make sense. 


Unlock your creativity with side projects. I'm looking forward to a drawing class this winter with a local artist. I really can't even draw a stick figure, but I've always wanted to be able to make a simple sketch for a nature journal or a photo idea book.


I'd love to hear about your side projects – those that feed into your photography – and those that just make you happy.

When you just play, magic will happen.

24 comments:

  1. Oh I love this post. I am so happy I found your inspiring blog a few months back. I need to get that book.

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    1. I feel the same about you and your blog, Rebecca. Without fail. when I visit my online friends, I am better for the time spent - inspired, educated, supported. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I love both of Austin's books - yes, simple but yet enlightening...
    your quilt is beautiful - fantastic colors
    and what do I do as a hobby...I sew...and I tinker - don't know how else to describe it - but I love to fiddle around with stuff and just see what I can come up with...
    enjoy the weekend Donna!

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  3. I love the words, "don't throw away yourself." awesome to think about. Your new venture I am so excited about for you. My niece in Roanoke has taken this project "drawing" to help with her through the caregiver stage. She has gotten so good at portraits and drawing through a journal. I remember her first ones and oh my in such a short amount of time she has really improved. That is all we can ask is to improve, isn't it?
    My newest venture is calligraphy, I love this style and boy it isn't easy at least I haven't found it to be. I need to practice more and hope to continue even if I am not the best at this or I will ever show it to anyone. It is a creative outlet other than photography and that can never be bad. I think that "is a good thing" as Martha would say. Love your quilt and seeing you always in your projects.

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    1. I am so happy for you that you are giving calligraphy a try. I did a little many years ago . . . I wasn't very good but it was fun. I'm trying to let go of trying so hard and just enjoy the process. I won't have a choice when it comes to drawing, since I really can only draw a little stick figure! Yes, we can all improve and embrace our own unique approach!

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  4. Your blog is so lovely. Maybe I will restart mine soon. Life just got to painful for a while.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit. And I enjoyed getting to know you by way of your blog. I especially enjoyed reading about your friend Joy and her 80th birthday. I would love to be just like her when I reach 80 - what an inspiration! I am sad to hear that life is painful right now - and I will confess I surely feel the same some days. When life gets hard, I tend to retreat and isolate myself . . . and maybe this is necessary. But just as surely, it's good for me to share my sorrow with trusted friends and seek the joy that lies in each day. Wishing you the same - as you embrace your journey.

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  5. Donna, everything about this is so beautiful. Thank you for this in particular "Don't throw any of yourself away. Don't worry about a grand scheme or unified vision for your work. Don't worry about unity – what unifies your work is the fact that you made it. One day, you'll look back and it will all make sense. ". Your quilts are beautiful...and who is taking the pictures when you are in front of the lens?

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    1. Vanessa, You are a very dear friend as I hear from you every day. And every day, I learn something new from you. You have a way of breaking down the walls I put up to protect myself - helping to free me from a sort of prison I've built for myself. So when you see beauty here - I know I am making progress - and I thank you for your part in my journey.

      Ha! Who is taking the pictures of me? I refer to my sweet husband as a human tripod. I set the buttons and dials of the camera and place him just where I need him to be and presses the shutter! Presto! No . . . we never have a cross word in this process (she said tongue-in-cheek).

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  6. Every single word is so true...I love "don't throw away yourself"! Perfect. Donna, I think I was born with a needle in my hand...my mother and grandmothers were all seamstresses, embroiderers, crocheters, (are these words?), so my first love is sewing, and also now machine embroidery, along with decorating. It's all about color, design, and I find them in each one of these hobbies. In the last 24 hours I've had a couple of confirmations, and this is another one for my list! LOVE your quilt...I have made several also. My sewing room is my quiet space and the only other things that join me there are my two Ragdoll cats, and now and then a daughter, or grand daughter. When I spend time there, the tension of a day just melts away. Thank you so very much for sharing these words, and your beautiful photos. I love the black and white one very much. xx

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    1. Beverly, I try to keep up with your beautiful blog . . . but I can't recall seeing any of your sewing posted. Next time you make something, share it online, so I can see! Wish we could sew together - along with Odile. I'm sure I could learn so much from you two. Basically, I can only sew straight lines to hook things together!

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  7. I don't think I can afford time or money wise to have any more "hobbies" :) My daughter and I did get out our adult coloring books last night and worked on those, a good relaxing stress reliever.

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    1. I've been wanting to try the new adult coloring books . . . thinking it might be relaxing. And yes, you are right - hobbies can be expensive and time-consuming and just take over if we are not careful. But, I suspect you are like me, and photography feeds your spirit - it gives and gives to me - with every press of the shutter.

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    1. Robin, Only you can make beautiful more beautiful. Thank you always for being my friend and teaching me so much.

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  9. How much I loved your colorful and cheerful post today Donna! Your quilt is wonderful and I'm amazed how quickly you've made it!
    I love the picture of you wrapped in this gorgeous work of art and the little touch of red in your hair and your clothes with the coordinated colors, so cute!... I love the association of aqua blues and reds, greens and greys... such lovely modern fabrics! The result is a gorgeous, bright and so smart quilt!
    I totally agree with you Donna, a hobby, a passion brings so much peacefulness, such relaxing moments, such joy while crafting with our hands and such proudness when the result is up to what we've expected...
    I quilt and sew as well and I'm never as much happy as when I've finished with my daily obligations and can spend a few hours in my workroom!
    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful quilt so artistically presented.

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    1. Odile, If I could sew like you, I would be over-the-moon happy! I've spent time studying your sewing projects on your PhotoStream and you are so talented and confident. I'm pretty good with straight seems and simple patterns, but that's where I leave off. Fortunately, there is a lot I can do with simple patterns. Much the same in photography, I prefer to keep to simple and good - which is a lot harder than it sounds!

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  10. oh Donna, I just love this photo of you wrapped in your quilt !!! It is so colorful and cheerful. The quilt is beautiful. I agree with you on the importance of a hobby and the need to be creative... I am missing this in my life right now. As soon as I get settled it will come back. As always, such a lovely thoughtful post...

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    1. Thanks for making time to visit here, Cathy. I know you have your hands full with the unpacking and your Art Room looks like it's coming along as a beautiful space. Heading into winter, you'll be all ready to create your art - and what is missing will be returned.

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  11. Beautiful quilt, my friend! I'm glad you shared it, as much as I love your photos, I've hoped to see more of your other creations, too! My hobby is embroidery. I'm working on an afghan right now. Snowflakes in various shades of blue. So restful. Have a blessed weekend!

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    1. June, Do you do embroider by hand? Would love to see your afghan - along the way or when completed. Snowflakes in shades of blue . . . so pretty. I have little crocheted red stockings that I hang on my Christmas tree each year and they are my favorite ornaments. We are made to be creative - don't you think? Every person is an artist - in my view.

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  12. Donna such a lovely post. I must take my Steal like an Artist book out again. Such good advice packed into that small book. I love your side hobbies although I must admit, I can't sew a stitch. At one point though, many years ago , I did make two quilts. One hangs on the wall in my Maine house with some of the thread still in it. Perhaps I'll finish quilting it someday.
    I have two passions that I love and do , for no other reason, except they give me complete pleasure. One is knitting. I've been doing it for years and years and the other Is reading. I read everything and I read everywhere. Not a day goes by that I don't turn pages somewhere. It's amazing all the good things you can find out when you break a binding.
    The photo of you in wrapped in your quilt of love is priceless. The smile on your face and a sense of pride shine through. Your words are a good reminder to us all to slow down, take the time and enjoy our many talents. I think it's what was intended for us.
    Have a happy week.

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    1. Cheryl, I sure do wish you lived close enough to teach me to knit! I want to make some of those cute fingerless gloves that are so popular now - and perfect for a girl who needs her fingers free to work the buttons and dials of camera! Like you, I love to read. I've recently discovered Ann Tyler and am reading some of her first works. But I really love a variety of genres -and am never without a book by my bed. How blessed are we - passion and curiosity are gifts.

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