bottle, water, painting, Sarah Bush

Painting as thinking: Sarah Bush

“I have an idea, then the work helps me finish the thought” – Sarah Bush

Sarah Bush works quietly in her studio, which is also a quiet palette of light neutrals – her colourful clothes jump out as she moves in her environment.  Many of her paintings are also quiet: almost monochrome.

There is depth in her work – she uses layers to represent time and memory and space.  As a mixed media artist, she literally puts in delicate slices of nature into some of her work.  Text is also important, too.

Screen shot 2018-03-22 at 11.28.51

Sarah Bush at work in her studio

As always, my curator’s eye was caught by a visual throwaway, briefly featured – the bottle and water.  It was one of many still photos of her works, and then was in the background in her studio.  I love it so much, I made it the feature picture for this article, so you can’t miss seeing it.


Creative Takeaway

What are you thinking about today?

Try taking it into your artwork (of whatever medium) and see if that process develops the thought.


Street becomes Poem – Dobby Gibson

Dobby Gibson has published 3 books of poetry and had 2 nominations for the Pushcart Prize – he realised that a lifetime of taking the same bus ride in Minneapolis meant it had become, for him, a type of poem, and he reads that poem “Beauty Supply” while riding the bus route.  Watch from 4 minutes 15 to 7 minutes 10 to hear the poem.

Also in the video, Dobby speaks about the respect or lack of respect in which poetry is held in America, how he came to write poetry, his conflicting standpoints (he wants to remove the personal ‘I’ yet wants to commemorate people important to him, specifically), and balancing the writing with a day job.  In fact, his 20 minute commute became an important editing time for him, as a regular time period when he can work on his writing.

poetry on bus

Dobby Gibson reads a poem about a bus journey on that route

I enjoy various lines of this poem, especially the one about his dad still living near the same route:

“I was born on this street, about a mile from here and can still take it almost all the way to the house where my parents live – just beyond Minehaha street, to my beautiful Dad in his beautiful basement, listening to the TV at a volume that would scare a soldier”

Creative Takeaway

Is there a regular journey you go on?

How about making it into a poem or video.

Writing Time Travel – beginnings and endings

Opening our eyes on day one of a New Year (in the UK), we find ourselves in the oddity of having to write dates on paper differently – having to remember to write the year as 2018 instead of 2017.

But what about Time Travel?  When did it start?  A few musings on this by Nerdwriter.

Nerdwriter’s discussion is punctuated with excellent video clips – a rather good reminder of many good science fiction films which are worth seeing again.

Creative Takeaways

If you like writing science fiction, involving time travel, then this is a good reminder of some of the most powerful stories told – so far – in the genre.  It’s interesting to see that society now concentrates on dystopian (negative) visions of the future, whereas about a hundred years ago, there were so many books about a positive future, a utopia.

If you’re going to seriously write story pondering cause and effect, then a deeper look at timelines in fiction would be this one, by MinutePhysics.


Iconic Photo 1944: D-Day Landings (Robert Capa)

As soldiers landed ashore on Normandy in WW2, a war photographer, Robert Capa, went with them, sending historic images of the action to Time Life back in America. (The film travelled: France to London, then to Glasgow to catch a transatlantic flight to Newfoundland, to Washington, to New York).  Robert Capa’s editor remembers…

Phoning it in – poetry

Stumbled across this today on the blog Julie Unplugged: “10 smart ways to use your phone to improve your writing”


  1. Listen to conversation around you and capture rich/true dialogue using your audio recording setting.
  2. Take photos, especially those surprise images to write about later. Once you set the intention to be surprised visually, you’ll spot more and more.
  3. Collect “jots” of writing in your notes program in three words or less… what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel emotionally.
  4.  Use your phone’s timer: Do timed stream of consciousness writing at any time in any space – literally write down what you are thinking/noticing, without censoring or trying to make sense. Do timed writing with your note book or straight onto mobile, wherever you are.
  5. Keep a one-sentence journal. At the end of the day, write a one sentence summary of either the entire day or whatever stand out event happened
  6. You can practice haiku, micropoetry – also helps to practice writing tweet sized, meaning and image filled sentences. Try it! Three “lines” – five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. (If you go to twitter and search the hashtag #haiku for more inspiration.)
  7.  In your calendar note times (and set alarms!) for sunrises, sunsets or other “time attached” subjects to jog your elbow to be in the right place at the right time.
  8. Find writing time when bored – take notes and people will assume you are texting.
  9. Create writing prompts from what you see. There is never, ever, EVER “nothing to write about!” You can tweet short awarenesses and write them up another time. Examples: “The waitress with very red lipstick reminds me of…” (use later for a stream of consciousness prompt.) “I wonder where that old man at the bus stop is going?” (write later about traveling via bus, the elderly, your Grandpa) “The fallen tree at the side of the road calls me to prune my life of what doesn’t work.” (and later, write more.)
  10. Write how-to articles. Guess what technology was used to write this one?



Small redemptions

This phrase “small redemptions” came to mind as I sat with my breakfast/snack/lunch and a cuppa.  I was waiting for my study group to gather, and realised that while I waited, I could learn off the contents of a study card which I usually have to keep fishing out of my bag, to refer to.

Screen shot 2016-03-12 at 02.54.27.pngThere’s a popular phrase “seize the day” – but today I was contemplating if you seize small moments, those little bits of time pieced together to make something substantial.

I have someone I’m close to, doing a repeat of an exam today (having failed it the first time around) and in a likely place for struggling to pass it, second go around.  This person is heavily resistant to revising.  But perhaps, just perhaps, might wearily agree to a 5 min revision of one key quote or exam technique daily/weekly, together.

If I do some small learning daily, it’s there for life.

What am I learning with my bits of time today?

(Note: this blog has got a whole segment titled “5 mins” for just those pockets of time)

Quilt by Liz Kuny     http://lizkuny.com/gallery.html

Keep creating!

Writers keep writing, singers keep singing, dancers keep practising, musicians keep playing, parents keep parenting, teachers keep educating, painters keep illustrating, orators keep speaking, be-ers keep being, curators keep keeping…. it takes time to make something beautiful.