The Elixer of Creativity!

Wine? Coffee? Tea? What’s your drink of choice when you sit down to be engulfed by your creativity? Personally, I’m a tea drinker. I tend to stick to a couple varieties depending on the type of work I’m doing. Chamomile for relaxing work, english breakfast for “art-on-a-deadline,” orange pekoe cut black for rainy, cozy, coma-inducing days, and iced chai for summer heat to cut through the thought-muddling humidity.

It’s the feeling I get knowing I’m drinking a flavored liquid made from nature that attracts me to tea – organic tea leaves, organic honey and maybe a little dairy-free creamer or coconut milk, but nothing more. I use honey because sugar just doesn’t flavor tea the way honey does. Not to mention extra sugar is unhealthy while the health benefits of honey are numerous.

Tea puts me in a mellow, thoughtful, self-exploring mood that I desire when I’m creating my art. Bad tea is an unwanted distraction and breaks my focus. I’ve tried lots of sources for my honey – the good old “honey bear” variety, creamed honey, over-priced, low-quality “raw” honey at the supermarket. . . They just don’t have that “BAM” flavor. Where’s the BAM?! I’ll tell you where! At! They have quite a few varieties, but my favorite so far is definitely their Raw Apple Blossom Honey. It has a sweet, subtle apple flavor and a pleasant, fruity aroma.

The flavor and aroma emitted from this apple blossom honey is a lot more pure than the normal liquid “sshtuff” you get at the store because those store varieties come from multiple hives all OVER the place! How do you think they get so much of it? It’s mass produced, mass collected, and blended not to mention processed; removing a lot of the good nutrients you find in raw honey. This particular apple blossom honey is harvested from specific orchards so you know exactly what type of apple blossoms the bees have visited. That’s how you get the apple blossom honey variety and the distinct flavor and aroma.

I absolutely love the foam that is often forming on top of the honey. Sometimes it has little bits of pollen, propolis, and wax in it. I try to only scoop a section of the foam at a time to stretch it out to as many wonderful cups as I can. Maybe I’m weird, but I like it when my honey is super thick and foamy at the top – it’s a sense of freshness and ripeness. I have the same feeling about bread that gets moldy really quick because that usually means it doesn’t have added preservatives.

Some people might be repelled by the idea of consuming unprocessed honey, but I’m a nature kid! I grew up in the woods and I. ate. dirt. I once ate a bit of tree because it looked good. Besides, honey is actually regurgitated nectar. You are eating bee vomit. And it’s fucking delicious! Sometimes raw, natural, unprocessed things are better for you. I’m not advising you go out and shovel tree bark and dirt down your gullet, but you should definitely try this honey. It might just make your art-making more enjoyable and relaxing.

It’s pure, flavorful, amazing, and good for you. ‘nough said.

The difference between finding time and making time for art.

Can you agree that you are usually the hardest on yourself most of the time? I certainly am. Recently, I’ve been disappointed in my neglecting to work on any of the “masterpieces-to-be” that are chillin’ in my garage. And yet with that disappointed voice nagging in my mind, I sit here typing out this post. Though I did tweak my back last night at work (twice). So, I don’t really want to move around too much, but I digress because there are always a million reasons NOT to do something.

The point I’m getting at is one I read in “Art & Fear ~ Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.” I’ve read it twice and thoroughly enjoyed the motivating – yet brutally diminishing – theme of the book. It had a key message that stands out in my mind at this time simply due to the situation I’m in now. There is a passage discussing the difference between finding time for artmaking, and making time for artmaking. I can’t find the exact passage at the moment so I’ll do my best summarize it.

As artists, we make excuses about why we can’t sit down for a few hours to work, probably more often than we realize. There is an  endless river of “obligations” and “plans” that prevent us from reaching our serene garden of essential creative time. The issue is not the lack of time, it’s that we don’t make the time, either for fear of failing, rejection, or whatever. Unless you set aside time to do it, you may never get it done. How do you know whether you will succeed or fail if you don’t ever get around to trying? I feel it’s a struggle I share with a lot of people.

The idea of sharing struggles with millions of artists is one of the many humbling points made in the book that makes me feel less alone as an artist and part of a community, but at the same time, less unique and more “common.” It’s a good book if you want a reality check and an ego boost all wrapped into one concise read.

The book also contains quotations from various artists and historical figures at the head of each chapter. Here’s a suitable one for the end of this post. . .

Artists don’t get down to work
until the pain of working is exceeded
by the pain of
not working.
                         –Stephen DeStaebler

P.S. – Does taking the time to talk about my lack of time to create art count towards making time for creating art?