"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." ~Sir John Lubbock

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.michellehedgecock.com. Feel free to explore past posts here, then please come by for continued creative fun! If you like what you read, don't forget to "follow" my blog at its new site, to continue to receive creative fun and inspiration in your mailbox! Thank you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coyote Haiku

The coyote’s song
Blesses my soulful journey,
Beautiful. Haunting.
(M. Hedgecock)

Ready to go wild with your creativity? Take a lead from the highly adaptable and vocal coyote, aka Canis latrans, its scientific name meaning “barking dog.” Read a little about the vocalizations of this iconic canine. Hear its song, then sing your own through a poem, painting, on the wheel, your voice...

Coyotes are found throughout North America, from Alaska to New England to Panama. I feel blessed whenever I hear their calls, whether I’m in the desert or the mountains. The coyote is one of the few wild animals whose vocalizations are commonly heard night or day (desertusa.com). They will howl, yip, bark and yelp to communicate with other individuals. Whether you feel a tingling, primitive instinct of fear, or smile when you hear its song, your first coyote howl in the wild is sure to stir your soul.

Below are some interpretations of common coyote vocalizations from DesertUSA.com:

Howling - communication with others in the area. Also, an announcement that “I am here and this is my area. Other males are invited to stay away but females are welcome to follow the sound of my voice. Please answer and let me know where you are so we don't have any unwanted conflicts.”
Yelping - a celebration or criticism within a small group of coyotes. Often heard during play among pups or young animals.
Bark - The bark is thought to be a threat display when a coyote is protecting a den or a kill.
Huffing - is usually used for calling pups without making a great deal of noise.

Listen to these
wild coyote songs for creative inspiration! Ahhh, truly one of my favorite sounds and favorite desert muses  :)

What is your song today?
This post originally appeared in my previously named blog "Restore Your Nature."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Challenge Accepted

A great way to maintain or rev up your creative drive is to fuel it with alternative, creative experiences. Challenging yourself is essential for keeping ideas flowing, building confidence, and staying creatively productive.

I challenge myself by trying new things, by taking on things I’m afraid of trying or feel I will fail (hello future post). I challenge myself when my inner critic emerges. It is sometimes challenging for me to stay focused on my dream goals, but I usually enjoy the challenge in experimenting with new media. In fact I tried a little something new recently—digitally altered photographs. And I did not let the fact that I don’t have Adobe Photoshop or another useful program stop me. Instead, I used a variety of programs already in my computer (whatever it came with) as well as online resources to have a little fun creating some original images.

You know me, sometimes I like to cannibalize my own projects, maybe reincarnate a personal project into something different. The Gigantic Gallery gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment with self-portraits as part of their current Cartes de Visite show—of which I am so excited and honored to be a part (please go check it out if you’re near Portland, OR, you’ll find five of my works there)!

I was inspired by the Spiritualism movement on the 1800’s and used Picnik to alter images of my hands and face from this project to create creepy “spirit hands” and a trapped spirit face for three of my self-portrait cards. For a fourth image I altered a photo of myself with my head foolishly inside a dinosaur’s mouth using ink, pastels, and Picnik online. I could have died if it hadn’t just consumed most of the family that was ahead of us. Finally, the fifth “Mother Nature” image emerged by digitally combining six photographs layered and altered using Word, Paint, and Picnik online.

Once finished, I hand wrote on the photo cards (many of the CDVs have notes written one them by the photographer or studio) to create a more authentic appeal. You’ll have to visit the Gigantic Gallery in person or online to see my spirit hands and face, but I’ve included the other two in this post—although without the full affect of the handwritten notes.

So, yes I used images and programs I was already familiar with, yet I challenged my abilities by combining these resources in a fresh way (for me), creating something entirely new (new for me). And I loved it! My creative confidence is up, many ideas are swirling in my head now that I have a fresh creative resource at my fingertips. This is allowing me to stay productive, and to continue moving forward with my creative goals.

Big or small, how are you challenging yourself today?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photo Doodles

Photo doodling is a great creativity exercise to try and a fun way to let your mind wander. Artist/author, Stephanie Corfee, reminds us just how this tried and true outlet can turn family photos into treasured works of art in her book, Creative Doodling & Beyond.

Begin by grabbing a few black and white or color copies of your favorite photos. Grab a Sharpie or drawing inks in a variety of colors and start framing out and doodling around the subjects in your photos. Add text, deface faces with silly designs, or lose yourself in detailed doodlistic patterns.

Embellished designs on favorite photos from family gatherings, vacation, or that girl's night out can make a unique gift!

Below are a couple of my own family photos I played around with doodling. I loved reliving the special feelings felt on these days and I later noticed that the doodles that evolved seem to fit those memories from that day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Dash of Calabash

A dear friend of my late grandmother's is a children's writer/illustrator. The illustrations and story of one of his books, "The Calabash Cat" was inspired by a calabash engraved gourd he received during his travels. The book in turn has inspired hundreds of students--young and old--to try their hand at their own calabash inspired drawings.

The Calabash, or gourd engravings, originating in Chad are typically designs featuring animals with another animal inside them, embellished with "Zentangle" like designs within and around. In some drawings I found several animals within a larger animal, but I'm not sure if that is a regional thing, something directly related to a particular historical narration or story, or simply different artistic interpretations of calabash art. Either way, I love the style, it offers such visual stories, etchings combining animals that seem to have leaped right into another animal, blending two (or more) creature spirits into a lively illustrated story.

Inspired by the Calabash Cat, I was further
prompted by a paint chip I came across
named "CALABASH” in the hue of native
squash (gourd)!
I was inspired and eager to try my first "calabash" drawing. I chose an octopus because they’d been on my mind, and because it left room for error with so many flowing lines. Once drawn, and after a few mistakes, the bird nearly emerged on its own, so I followed through with a few extra details, keeping it crisp with contrast so as not to lose the image. Finally I filled in the surrounding “water” with a simple, repeating pattern in an effort to show movement.

How about a little creative doodling inspired by CALABASH style art? Even if you are not comfortable free-handing an animal, trace a simple silhouette or just go for your best attempt! You really cannot mess this one up. Grab your black ink pens, smooth drawing paper and start doodling. Fill mistakes with black ink, creating new designs and spaces (shhh…top secret art tip for covering up mistakes!). How many animals will speak through you?

See/hear “The Calabash Cat” by James Rumford here www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5cRVSvvASg
Calabash Octopus drawing: