My journals are bulging with inspirational ideas, sketches from places I visit, visions I have collaged from magazine photos, childlike messages scrawled with my nondominant hand from my intuition, and more.
Use pages in your artist's journal for your own writings, reflections, and sketches. Cut out photos of yourself and add them, as a collage, into landscapes or paintings you love—then glue inspiring words and sentences over the photos and paintings. Piece together affirmations made from cutout letters and words. Work with spontaneity and intuition and be open to surprises as you gather together your life, dreams, and goals. As you add to your journal over the next few months or year, you'll be amazed by your insights and how many of your goals are realized.
As adults, we often have less confidence in, and are more judgmental about, our art. But when you let go of that, it's so fun to simply make marks on paper.
Try a walking-meditation drawing: In your artist's journal or on a pad of paper, walk slowly in your garden, home, or other place you enjoy. As you walk, draw what you see—daisies, a tree trunk, the curve of some clouds, some distant hills. You'll get little sketch vignettes, and nothing will be finished. Your practice is really about deep observation, seeing what is in front of you, and drawing in the moment without a filter. And it's fun.
I first fell in love with photography at twelve years old when Uncle Fenton handed me a medium-format view camera from Japan to photograph his party.
Photography can be used as a chronicle of your life journey as well as a meditative tool. Try taking at least one photograph a day for a month or even a year—whether it's your garden or objects in your home that you love. Explore with a new eye, seeing as if for the first time. Experiment with different perspectives. Perch on a high vantage point, taking in the whole for a sense of place, then take in the details with some close-up vignettes. Miksang is a Tibetan word meaning "good eye." It has inspired a whole approach to contemplative photography to capture the essence of what you see when you are present. Photography can be a spiritual experience—as well as visual communication. You can share with friends online and print your best images for notecards or for the wall.
The artist is a risk taker.
Self-doubt often comes from fear of failure or fear of looking foolish. Try to notice what ignites your own lack of confidence, and write a specific positive verse, affirmation, prayer, or gatha (meditative verse) to return to your creative center and help you overcome confusion and self-doubt. Then make a list of some things you would like to learn or do creatively that you have never done before. Pick one and begin with experimentation, a class, a workshop—or ask a friend to teach you. Sometimes all you need is to begin.