Archive | April, 2005

The Soul Food Cafe

In my search for a little inspiration, I tripped across this delightful site at It’s called The Soul Food Cafe.

“The Soul Food Cafe is a portal for artists and writers alike. It is a safe haven where creativity flourishes. The Soul Food Cafe aims to promote creative pursuits as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every artist. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement.”



The Top Ten Benefits of Play

Whether or not we’re still in school or working at a ‘regular job,’ we all look forward to Summer vacation because it signifies a time to play. Personally, I’d rather see us integrate more play into our daily lives … and here’s a great article to back me up with the reasons why!

“Play is extremely important for humans from birth to death. Play is not meant to be just for children. It is a form of release and connection that can tap into creativity and can allow you the chance to connect with your inner child and the inner child of others.

Play is a state of mind, but it is also a state of body, emotion, and spirit. Yes…it is something you do (playing games, swinging, playing “tag”, playing with dolls), but it is also something you watch others do, and gain pleasure from simply watching.

It is often described as a time when we feel most alive, yet it is something we take for granted and may forget to do. It can be entirely positive, or can be dramatic (such as acting out a thrilling or suspenseful activity). Play can be used in many ways to not only stimulate creativity but as a way to transform negative emotions. We are hardwired as adults to engage in play, and it is crucial to our vitality to spend time with play each day.

This article will address the top ten benefits of play and provide suggestions on how you can get in touch with your own creative possibilities and abilities.

Read the full article by Marianne St. Clair, The Top Ten Benefits of Play found at



Music Unleashes Rainbows of Color

Heard a great story on NPR (National Public Radio) this morning. You can listen to the audio clip …

When pianist Laura Rosser performs, she hears more than sounds. She hears colors — each note has its own associated hue. Rosser has a rare neurological condition called synesthesia. Stimulation of one sense produces the sensation of another.

Synesthesia is rare. Perhaps one person in several thousand has it. Most of these people don’t have the form that allows them to perceive sounds as colors.

Yet a number of famous composers appear to have been synesthetes. They include Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Some research suggests musical synesthesia is more likely to come with perfect pitch.

Each synesthete has a unique system of associations. That means the periwinkle that Rosser associates with D-flat might be purple for another synesthete. Other synesthetes associate colors with letters and numbers. Rosser has this type of synesthesia as well.

Randolph Blake, a researcher at Vanderbilt University, says the brains of synesthetes appear to be wired in a way that allows signals from one sense to trigger brain circuits usually associated with another sense. But it’s unclear how this alternate wiring takes place.”

NPR : For Pianist, Music Unleashes Rainbows of Color


The 70 Most Beautiful Words in English

To mark its 70th anniversary, the British Council asked more than 40,000 people in 102 countries to come up with the most beautiful words in the English language. See the 70 most popular words from that survey.

My guess is many of these words were chosen based on how fun they are to SAY, not necessarily for what they mean.

While there, check out the winners of the contest to compose a story of 150 words, using as many of the words from the list as possible. Maybe you’ll submit a story?



Digital Hangman (the game)

Here’s a blast from the past — especially from those school days in Spring — when Summer vacation just couldn’t come fast enough — and you passed the time with a buddy, playing Hangman.

This time it’s digital, and you can choose which topics interest you — and you can say you’re exercising your right brain, because you are.



Brainstorming – How Ideas Are Formed

A portion of what I teach in my Goosing Your Muse creativity workshops is “How Ideas Are Formed.”

If you slow down the process of how ideas are formed, and look at each step, it helps to establish some vocabulary useful to creative people who collaborate on projects. This makes it easier to identify more clearly which phase you’re working in at which time.

Example: one of you might still be coming up with ideas, (First Insight) while your partner already has made a big leap to the Verification (Will It Work) phase. This could be very annoying as one of you says repeatedly, “What if?” or “We could do…” and the other says, repeatedly, “Nah, that won’t work, that won’t work.”

Another example is when one of you is in the Incubation phase, sleeping on an idea overnight, or taking a walk, or simply staring off into space. Others in your project group might see you as not working at all. Frustrating for everyone.

And naturally, it is totally possible that one person can have several ideas cooking at once, each one in a different phase of development.

Here’s a simplified version of the classic 5-step model for How Ideas Are Formed:

1 – First Insight: Identifying the problem/goal at hand
2 – Saturation: Pooling all the research that you can about the subject
3 – Incubation: Pausing to let the ideas take shape
4 – Illumiation (Aha!): When the idea or solution arrives
5 – Verification: Will it work

The article by Paul E. Plsek, Working Paper: Models for the Creative Process explores other models which are used successfully in brainstorming.

Remember, these are guides for a useful vocabulary, not recipes!



Enchanted Mind – Creativity Test

Some people love IQ Tests and performance quizzes. They find them useful to answer such questions as, “Am I creative?” or “How creative am I?” Personally, I like tests more for what I can learn by taking them, but I don’t advise setting your clock by them.

But if you are one of those people with a burning curiosity (and a true sense of play) you’ll enjoy this fun (and quick) Creativity Test on this truly interesting site,, loaded with puzzles and explanations about why they’re good exercises for your “creativity” muscles.


0 – for Artists

I once took an evening art class at Walt Disney Imagineering provided by concept consultant and pro artist, Ron Pekar, where we explored various art forms and techniques. It had been a long time since I’d touched any art supplies, and it was in this class I fell in love with watercolors.

I admit I don’t take as much time as I’d like these days to play around with paints, but when I see a site like this one, I get inspired all over again. is a resource worth bookmarking …

Also check out their excellent article (with illustrations) by Arnold Lowrey called The Control of Water in Watercolour.

Thanks to Douglas Welch for pointing out this superb site.


Danny Gregrory’s illustrations and writing

I’ve featured Danny Gregory’s blog before, Everyday Matters, (and no, I don’t know him), but I think he does such a good job illustrating his writing — or writing about his sketches and watercolors — that I just had to bring this site back to your attention.

Everyday Matters is a series of occasional essays on creative things, journal making, drawing, etc. intended to challenge, inspire and perplex. –Danny



Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes