Daily Art

A creative loophole: by Christina Rosalie

That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? Me with my arms outstretched, feet in first position. The chromosome half of us don’t have. Second to last in the alphabet: almost there. Coupled with an L, let’s make an adverb. A modest X, legs closed. Y or N? Yes, of course. Peas sign reversed. Mercedes Benz without the O.

Y, a Greek letter, joined the Latin alphabet after the Romans conquered Greece in the first century—a double agent: consonant and vowel. No one used adverbs before then, and no one was happy.

~ From Y, by Marjorie Celona, originally from the Indiana Review, republished in Best American Non-Required Reading 2008.

How can you not be inspired, like I was, reading this, to pose and consider everything remarkable about a letter? Maybe your first initial, or your last. I'm on the lookout every day for opportunities like this: to slip through an open doorway, an imaginative loophole, a slight tear in the fabric of all that right now insists. Because everything is happening at once, as it always is. Everything converging. Projects, deadlines, discoveries, presentations. It’s easy for me to just put my head down and run hard without stopping, without looking, without pausing for a handful of moments to practice doing what I love the most. And I found this to be the perfect thing to do today, mid week, now, on the seventeenth of November, with the world blue and brown and quiet with the promise of snow, amid everything else.

At the back door there are leaves that the wind’s tossed up in heaps, brown and crackling under our feet as we make a bonfire with friends, roast marshmallows and press them between crumbly graham crackers with chocolate; drink cappuccinos, and watch the children play. They take rakes with bamboo tines and heap the leaves until one or all of them are buried, laughter rising up with the sparks toward the night sky that is full of ink and diamonds; such a mess of grandeur, are the heavens above us.

The children turn on the porch lights; four boys in hats, leaves eddying up in the dark. Their shadows are eerie and huge across the grass, and then up in the sky, the waning gibbous moon, a pregnant C up there with the spilled milk of the universe, the faintest shadow of its darker side also there, barely illuminated: a C in reverse.

C: The letter that is at once the contents and the container, the balance of negative and positive space, the curve of palms, cupped, holding a bowl, and also the shape of the bowl. It is curiosity, and the top bit of a question mark in reverse. The final slight line in a pair of parenthesis, the pause of a comma, the arc of a story, a a smile turned on it’s side. It is the consonant that invokes creativity, the third letter of the alphabet, the symbol for chemical concentration, the speed of light in a vacuum, the abbreviation for carat, century, constant, cubic. It is the first note in C major, and the way my name begins.

It's your turn!


Take 5 minutes. See what you can write about a letter. Or share a link an image or post and I’ll be sure to take a peak.

An inventory of things found on my studio floor: by Christina Rosalie

Things found on the floor of my studio: A blue letter O; two puzzle pieces; a small rocket ship; a cardboard tile with the word COMETS on it; a very small sticker stuck to the floorboards that says "Road Closed" in black against orange; another sticker, artfully pressed into a knot in the floorboards that says "YES" in all caps; a small black wheel; a spool of turquoise thread; a solitary striped sock; a red matchbox car; 1 pacifiers; 7 hair ties; countless snippets. I can only trace the origins of the final two from that inventory. This is what happens when I work in my studio with children underfoot.

It's such good practice though, to slow down enough to take an inventory of the details around you. Try it: Can you notice five unusual things within an arms reach? What are they?

Inspiration for daily art: lines + marks by Christina Rosalie

1. Mine. 2. Collage Tipograficamente, 3. Collage and acrylic, 4. collage-067, 5. Collage 6x6 # 6, 6. collage-064, 7. Watercolor Collage

Hello! I wanted to share a few pieces that have been inspiring me as I continue with Daily Art, trying to make pieces that are simple; that play with positive and negative space; with online lines + marks or color. I am exploring what it means to make something quickly. To just do make something--following following through with the act of putting something on the page because this is what I committed to do. I am trying to slip into a grove of doing this as a creative habit, without worrying about meaning or intent or composition, as a way to exhale a little.

“Turning something into a ritual eliminates the question, Why am I doing this? By the time I give the taxi driver directions, it’s too late to wonder why I’m going to the gym and not snoozing under the warm covers of my bed….

It’s a simple act but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it–makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. it is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about…” ~ Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

If you're feeling brave, join us! Just a few simple marks on a page; a photo; a squiggled line; a bit of fabric sewn. This is a way to pay homage to your creative heart.

xoxo, Christina

The things I carry: by Christina Rosalie

Today I carry the feeling that I’ve slipped right back to the cusp of more things not being known than things that are for certain. I am carrying the way the light looks over the pacific ocean in the morning at Bodega Head, and a homesick feeling for my fathers hands; for the way they were always warm and skilled with tools, knobby knuckled like mine, mottled with vitiligo.

I carry a secret awful wonder at what my DNA might hold for me, and a list of appointments including one at the dermatologist’s to investigate a small hard lump on my thigh that arrived without my notice sometime in the summer, and then persisted. My regular doctor shrugged. More than likely benign. Still, a referral was made, and then one appointment after another, cancelled to make room for other more urgent things.

I carry my wedding band of soft hammered gold; a hair band around my wrist, snarled with a few tangled strands of hair yanked free from a ponytail with impatience; and the memory of my tenth birthday.

I carry my father’s SANFORD LOGO II mechanical pencil; my soft-covered Moleskine reporter’s notebook; and an ache for what I know I will forget of the way Sprout is right now, small like this, speaking with a little lisp, repeating everything, begging for a convertible blue vintage VW like the one our neighbor drives. His hair is sandy gold in the sun. Potty training is a comedy of errors and stubbornness. He gives the sweetest kisses, one arm circling my neck. How will I hold all of this in the permeable container of time?

Today I carry the sight of geese cutting across the pale morning sky, one after the next; the first inklings of a second book; ideas for classes I’m planning. I carry the way comparisons always make me feel terribly small; the fact that my jeans are tighter than they were when the summer; and the muscle memory of running hard (today, 3 miles.)

Today I carry the memory of quiet; my cup of coffee; the rooster crowing; my laptop; kindling; honey crisp apples; and questions, always questions.

What do you carry?

Daily Art + Unabashed joy by Christina Rosalie

I watch my son sitting across the table from me in the golden afternoon light, drawing. He draws effortlessly, without thinking of it as a creative act. It is simply a means, a process, a discovery. Every morning before school he draws; every afternoon, he produces copiously, without caution, without expectation. He makes pictures because they are adventure: the representations of the story track running in his head. He draws in a way that is utterly his own. Complex lines: cogs, wheels, wires, motors. He draws pitched roofs and internal stairways, porch lights and door bells, cars with drive-shafts, oceanscapes with pirate ships, secret potion machines, fantastical creatures, and night skies filled with five pointed stars. These, he’s just mastered, and he draws them in everything now, along with words and letters, filling up secretive corners on every page where he practices invented spelling; summoning the magic of phonemes and consonants to make word sounds.

And he draws all of it, without even realizing the work, the effort, the certain shortcomings of his ability; he draws all of it joyfully, filling page after page with deep, wholehearted practice.

I’m in awe of this. Of him, now, at six and a half, before self doubt has any leverage at all; before there are any inklings of “perfect,” in his bright mind. Before this effortless creating slips away and the unwanted cacophony of standards, criticisms, expectations, and reviews fill its place.

Now there is simply the joy of drawing lines for the sake of it: Drawing without any critique at all, without any consideration for audience or perception. His art is the work of wholly self-absorbed wonder, and I am taking notes.

This week I have been asking: What do I need to do to allow myself to create as recklessly and easily?

What creative constraints do I need to put in place to quiet the analytical chatter at the back of my mind, ever full of commentary, critique, and doubt?

When I was finishing the illustrations for my book I discovered the immense power of creative constraints: Of having certain parameters that defined the scope of the work. I have found that for me, incredible creative force emerges under such circumstances, and in the context of daily practice, I’ve been experimenting with constraints as a way to short circuit my inner critic, and find my way back to the simple joyful state of art as play; of making as wonder; of creating as joy.

This week, I’ve been inviting myself to show up for 15 minutes to make a piece of art—and to be joyfully, gently, gratefully satisfied with whatever emerges from that process. As V-Grrrl commented in my last post, "I’m first and foremost a writer"... and I know this resonates with many of you as well. But there is something so profound about working with images. It’s good cross training, at the very least: to slip out of your comfort zone, and create with the pure raw material of image.

I’m going to keep doing this for the entire month of November, sharing my pieces every week in this set, and I am wondering:

What if you were to join me? What if you were to you accept this invitation, and explore your child-self; your creative, adventurer heart?


I’ve created DAILY ART flickr pool here

...if you’d like to join me on this adventure... I'll be posting more observations and discoveries about ways to get started this week...if this is something that you'd like me to share... I would SO LOVE to have you join me.

I'm also curious: When was the last time you remember being creative without worrying about meeting a deadline, or if you were "doing it right" or being "good enough"? When do you find yourself slipping into an un-judging creative groove?