If You Are Looking For Freedom to Create: Artist Kindling Letter from MrJayMyers

August 30, 2018By jayart, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Writing

The kids and I (Raynna) are all back to homeschooling this week and one of the more interesting things I got to teach so far is the word, enallage. This is the rhetorical name for an effective grammatical mistake. Oh, the kids liked this very much. A reason, a purpose, for mistakes in grammar. Think of the possibilities!

Arthur Quinn has famously spread these good tidings through his book, Figures of Speech, wherein he tells of the night of June 21, 1932…

“Joe Jacobs, a professional prize fight manager, after hearing that his man had not been awarded the decision, achieved for himself linguistic immortality by shouting into the ring announcer’s microphone, ‘We was robbed!’

‘We’ does not ordinarily go with ‘was.’ And we might think that Jacobs has simply made a grammatical mistake of a rather rudimentary kind. Yet, if he had said ‘were,’ he likely would have been consigned to the same oblivion as was the smug winning manager. Far from being a mistake, ‘was’ was an inspiration. It was, to be more precise, an enallage…an effective grammatical mistake.” (italics mine)

Pretty exciting right? Well, at least it was to my grammar students. But I thought it had a place here too because I’ve heard Jay speak of the essence of this so often to our children, “Learn how to do it right, then break the rules.” He told me a long time ago about how he first heard of this from a story about Pablo Picasso, who early on in his career proved excellent in realistic paintings but later chose to “break the rules”.

In all this though, all I can think is; isn’t it fascinating how we’re all looking for freedom to give ourselves graciousness?

Jay did this beautiful sketchbook page this week. I got to watch it unfurl over the course of a couple of days. The night he finished it I loved it so much and was curious, “What were you thinking while you were creating this?!” Anticipating some imaginative, maybe even spiritual, response, his answer—”I was just trying to survive.”

My answer, “No, the story!” (I love his stories.)

His answer, “No, that’s it.”

I sigh. He sighs. But then. Then, I realized there’s nothing to sigh about here. He did survive. He survived gorgeously. And that’s enough. He kept on. He disciplined himself in the rules a little bit deeper. He instructed his hands, his mind, his time. This is enough to celebrate, to be gracious to himself, to keep going. He may call it survival — the truth is, he could barely tell me a better story.

Maybe someone else needs to hear that today. Maybe they, or you, need a fancy word, like enallage or enough. There’s a lot of freedom in following the rules, even fun little surprises like graciousness toward ourselves—allowing us to create more than we ever thought possible, outside the lines with style—but maybe we have to simply submit to style to figure this out. Here’s to sighing a happy sigh wherever this finds you today. You’re enough. Keep going creative people.

Look, it’s me in the tree with a faerie! Among other radness…

Storyteller:

Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called,
Consider the Ravens :

Forged

I am not the man you think I am.
I was forged in the fire of eternity’s past,
Shaped upon the anvil of eternity’s present,
To be wielded in eternity’s future,
I am not the man you think I am.

-Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens


What we’ve been reading:

This book, The Artist’s Torah by David Ebenbach, has been so grounding and inspiring. It is a compilation of weekly readings on finding vision as an artist through weekly Torah (Hebrew Bible, first five books of Moses) readings. This past week for instance considered the instructions about first fruits given to Israel when once they were settled in the land. Talk about adopting a more gracious perspective.

“As artists, we know that our first attempts are not necessarily our best. Given that we see so many rough, rough drafts and unsatisfying initial sketches, it might seem strange to privilege the first fruits of someone’s labors…Even if our early attempts aren’t as high quality as what we’ll produce later, they’re extremely important…”

Mr. Ebenbach even points out how God implicitly privileges rough things when important altars were to be built from unhewn stones….imperfect, unrefined, uneven.

“This is a statement of God’s values—God wants to be worshiped not from a place of perfection but from somewhere humbler.

But why value imperfection?

Without a first fruit, without some rough thing to get things started and to show us how to do better, there will be no last fruit. Trying to perfect one’s work before beginning is a creative dead end, and usually just another form of procrastination.”

Good stuff. Read more about it here.

Note: We always want to disclose to you that we do use affiliate links on the products we share, that means we may get a small percentage in return for sharing products, but never at any extra cost to you. We’ll only recommend products we believe in, and seriously appreciate you coming alongside our family in this way. Our full disclosure policy is here if interested.


Do you know about our 14 Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration? Jay and I wrote this one page PDF to keep your inspired.

Want a free, downloadable, encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get our weekly letter in your inbox as well as a link for the free download of the one page PDF, 14 Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: 

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Remember creativity is a muscle. Create, be happy, create more.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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True Vision (social media, RL, artist block, you): Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

August 23, 2018By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Design, Encouragement, giveaway, inking, Writing

Hello All,

How has your week been so far? It feels like just about everyone we know has had a pretty challenging one. Jay and I’s discussion this week was woven through our own challenges as well as hearing others, seeking true vision through the fog of weariness, social media and RL (real life) weirdness, and then, there’s ourselves. Oi.

It is difficult sometimes to see the way decimation is the beginning of creation.

“Art is simultaneously creation and destruction… The person who wants to escape destruction—a synonym here for change, for letting go of the past—has to avoid creation as well. Neither can go long without involving the other.” -David Ebenbach

We know this by heart so well that it is painful to write the words, but then that’s why we must. It’s true. The question we all need to answer is how do we walk through this with grace? This real, seemingly juxtaposed, way of living? How do we wrap our minds, let alone get our legs moving, while holding these truths in tension? They don’t come to us beautifully wrapped. These realities come to us wrapped in tired skin, in the daily grind, in traffic hour.

“Rabbi Bunin, a Hasidic teacher of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, told his students that they should carry two scrolls with them, one in each pocket. One should read, ‘I am dust and ashes,’ and the other should read, ‘the world was created for me.’ -David Ebenbach

These are the kind of truths that can cut through the noise and obstructions of true vision. It’s humbling, and that’s the point.

“The first thing is to make the difficult commitment to the truth, even when the truth is uncomfortable in some way.” -David Ebenbach

Like a small hole in a ship unattended will cause it to sink, make a commitment in the small things first, so that you do not undermine who you are — who you are created to be. If you choose the difficult path of holding in tension that you are both dust and ash as well as know the whole world was created for you, you will do well. You will live beyond yourself, you will strengthen the fabric of your culture, because anyone who can see this in themself can see it in another as well. Our world needs this. THIS is the foundation of our most important creating, and it starts in every small way.

Make a commitment to knowing that no matter how many friends, followers, or likers you ever have in real life or social media (tens, hundreds, or thousands) there’s always  going to be a core of people who stick with you through the highs, the lows, the stretching, the failing, and the accomplishments. Keep your eye on that core, see them, appreciate them. See true.

Make a commitment to hold the possibility that no matter how many excuses we give ourselves for being “blocked”,  we’ll be willing to consider the often uncomfortable truth that, as Paul Simon put it, “I think when I get blocked, when I get writer’s block …what it is is that you have something to say but you don’t want to say it. So your mind says, ‘I have no thoughts.’ Closer to the truth is that you have a thought that you would really prefer not to have.” (Zollo, Song Writers, 98)

Make a commitment to call yourself an artist. Say it out loud. Tell somebody. We know that doesn’t feel like a small commitment, but in the big picture, it is. You have been created in the image of a Creator. It’s time to see true, and create.


What Jay has been working on this week. Oops, I mean the last three years:

This is very exciting news around our house. Jay started this comic TWO out-of-state moves ago. I’m deeply proud of him for persevering. This is one of those projects we had to look at and say, “Even if it takes ten years, you’ll finish.” In that light, three years just didn’t feel so bad! Ha.

This is the cover to a story/comic that, in Jay’s words, is an exploration of grace. He’s in the last stages now. Stay tuned!


What we’ve been reading:

“The Artist’s Torah is an uplifting and down-to-earth guide to the creative process, wide open to longtime artists and first-time dabblers, to people of every religious background-or none-and to every creative medium. In this book, you’ll find a yearlong cycle of weekly meditations on a life lived artistically, grounded in ancient Jewish wisdom and the wisdom of artists, composers, writers, and choreographers from the past and present. You’ll explore the nature of the creative process-how it begins, what it’s for, what it asks of you, how you work your way to truth and meaning, what you do when you get blocked, what you do when you’re done-and encounter questions that will help you apply the meditations to your own life and work. Above all, The Artist’s Torah teaches us that creativity is a natural and important part of the human spirit, a bright spark that, week after week, this book will brighten.” (Amazon)

Note: We always want to disclose to you that we do use affiliate links on the products we share, that means we may get a small percentage in return for sharing products, but never at any extra cost to you. We’ll only recommend products we believe in, and seriously appreciate you coming alongside our family in this way. Our full disclosure policy is here if interested.


New Month, New Give-Away!


We’d love to send one of you a copy of Jay’s Western Fairytale Comic, The Adventures of Tomy & Jon this month. Your name will be entered into the drawing by following two simple steps:

  1.  Share this post, and
  2. Let us know you did. (comment here or elsewhere, private or public)

We are grateful for you each, and appreciate how often you have shared our posts, written us with your feedback, and inspired us to keep going. Thank you!


Remember creativity is a muscle. Create, be happy, create more.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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Who is Creative? Why Does it Matter? Artist Kindling Letter from MrJayMyers

August 16, 2018By jayart, Blog, children's books, Design, Encouragement, inking, Writing

“Creativity is not a talent, it’s a quality of life that characterizes every aspect of human involvement. From the smallest mundane chores to the grandest works of art, creativity is not reserved for the professional artist or a select elite. It influences the way we cook our food and set our tables, the way we raise our children and take care of our cities. Every part of life can be endowed with the creative touch.”
-Steven Roach, Makers & Mystics Podcast Season 4, Episode 6

Last week we broached the subject of looking beyond what we do as creative souls to who we are. It was encouraging to get many of your responses. We apologize for not being able to respond to all as of yet. This is a piercing subject. This is the kind of conversation that if translated into what we do could shape not only who we are but what lives beyond us after we’re gone.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -J.R.R. Tolkien

These words touch on so many planes. In the case of creativity, of beauty, it is too easy to dismiss the value, too easy to miss what this brings into our lives and what the process bears in terms of character and awareness — not only for ourselves.

The last few weeks as Jay and I search for quiet moments in the days to connect we keep coming back to a similar theme — legacy. We agree that if we fail to aim for our best as parents or as husband and wife we’re missing the mark entirely. So with that firm, we’re also continually wanting to take an honest look at this question: What does it mean to live fully as ourselves in those roles — even as we lay our lives down in very real ways?

The hard work of living into our full potential in any role includes listening to the design of who we are, trusting it has a place, it fits, it matters. The joy in this is not only working hard at something, it’s rounding those mysterious corners, every once in awhile, that give you a glimpse into how and why being fully ourselves matters to the people we love the most.

It’s unnerving how close we have often been to giving up only to have a small voice enter the scene — our children, a friend, each other — telling us or showing us something true. Something that tells us, this is important. Who we are matters. Yes, from the mundane chores to the grandest works of art.

If you missed our post last week with what we hope are some helpful prompts to dig into this further, read more here.

Recent sketches as Jay explores the look and feel of Florid Sword & Shadow Blade for the comic he is working on for Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga.

Storyteller:

Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called,
Consider the Ravens :

Shall Not Pass

Soldier stood at birthing dawn
Battle cries not far gone
Stood there waiting for smoke to clear
As evil marched ever nearer

‘Halt,” he yelled, beneath iron tower
You shall not pass here this very hour
Though ogre and giant are within your sway
You shall not pass here, not this day.

Ogre screamed and giant roared
Overhead stone was hurled.
He stood his ground
As night came down

“Son, come in,
it’s time for dinner.”

-Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens

 


Do you know about our 14 Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration?

Want a free downloadable encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format



Remember creativity is a muscle. Create, be happy, create more.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

We always want to disclose to you that we do use affiliate links on the products we recommend or share but never at any extra cost to you. Also, we’ll only recommend products we believe in. Thanks for your trust. Our full disclosure policy is here if interested.

The Harder Thing: Artist Kindling from MrJayMyers

August 10, 2018By jayart, Design, Encouragement, inking, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, process

Every week I (Raynna) ask Jay, “What are you learning? What do you want to share?”

Every week our conversation gets vulnerable and he jokes that perhaps we should stop before he starts weeping and wanting to sing Kumbaya.

Because we often break out into Kumbaya. 

Hashtag, not quite.

But it’s true, looking at soul stuff is dangerous, it’s challenging. It almost always involves facing thresholds, obstacles even, that we can’t see the other side of from where we are currently standing. And that invites all the what ifs. And, honestly, it’s easier to laugh and move on than feel like your head might explode.

So what were we talking about? The harder thing — harder than learning how to be an artist, how to draw well, how to paint well, write well, make music well etc. The harder thing is learning how to be who you are. Not your style, not your stories — you.

Your style as a creative person comes out of this. Your style is an expression of who you are, but it is not the core. You could even call your style your skin. It’s close, very close, and it’s so connected, but the deeper thing is you. Who are you?

It’s worthy of our time to ask ourselves what do we want to be known for and to let that work us backwards to the question, “Who am I?”. This allows us to be present and intentional about our creativity. This will translate. But sometimes we have to start even closer to the surface. Good questions to start with:

What do I like?

What do the things I create and like the most tell me about me?

What do I find continually resonating with me?

What do I do or create that finds resonance in others?

That last one, any of these really, can feel painful if you feel that there is no answer, but we don’t have to be afraid of it, because that is an answer. It’s a place to begin. It’s a place to ask, “Why?”.

Why am I not finding resonance (don’t read likes or popularity here, that’s a separate issue).

Am I really bringing myself to the table?

Am I bringing my fears and listening to what they are telling me?

Am I allowing myself to enjoy?

Am I bringing honesty, willingness to be wrong, or imperfect?

Fascinating to me is to watch Jay be continually drawn to and create “unfinished” looking finished pieces of art. He likes to see the scratches, the splatters, the process. To him, this feels alive, immediate, present. Makes sense right? But what he has told me many times is that this has often felt like a fault in him.

However, it makes me smile as I realize how clearly this shines a light on and mirrors who he is. He is a person who needs to be ok with his own imperfections and unfinished places if he’s going to keep creating. He needs to know he is in a process, that he is growing, to know he is alive and to keep going. If he were to be too harsh or ungraceful with himself, he would quit.

He is hungry for growth so he looks for evidence of it, that everything isn’t staying the same. This is also part of why he teaches and encourages others to grow. He needs to know nothing is in its final form, not even him.

Without fully thinking of it he even created a story wherein the hero (Klausen) sees through the hardened outer shell and calls out to the truth of the inner being, showing the way to transformation. In a sense you could say his own struggles, bring out his best strengths. I’m glad for it too.

In truth, this is true for all of us. But we need to engage these questions about ourselves with kindness, a gentle light not a harsh one to see how this is playing out inside of us, and how it makes each of us tick in our own unique ways.

If that’s hard to do, ask a friend to help. (There’s worse things than getting teary, holding hands, and singing Kumbaya ya’ll.) Worse things like your own sphere of people missing out on who you really are. You are needed and important — struggles, strengths, and all. True story.

We’re not saying anything new, but every once in a while it’s good to be reminded that if it starts to feel like your head might explode — it won’t. It might let out a little steam though, and that’s actually not a terrible thing.


Do you know about our 14 Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration?

Want a free downloadable encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format



Remember creativity is a muscle. Create, be happy, create more.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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Be Brave. Cultivate Creative Community: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

August 2, 2018By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Design, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Writing

When you have six kids and work full-time, it’s easy to let dreams and desires slip away. Scratch that, kids or not, full-time work or not, reaching for what we really want in life takes effort and it just is easier, not to.

Add to that any kind of challenge or hurdle and you’ve got what we call life. And life is hard. It’s easy to let —you — slip away. We all want to feast on life, drink it in, laugh and be merry. Yet, the intention and resourcefulness we end up finding it takes to do so, to take agency, no matter the passion we feel in our hearts, is a painful reminder of our humanity.

So this post is from Jay and I to you, creative souls, who feel a little lost right now. Those of you who feel with certainty, deep in your bones, you were meant to create but for the love might cry or scream or otherwise go into a deep funk if someone glibly were to suggest you take some time to for it.

We get it. The inertia felt profoundly. And you know what one of the. biggest. game changers for us in this has been? Community. Another thing that can feel hard. Hard to find and/or find time for, right?

Jay’s been developing his Chronicles of Klausen in his off season. Even Klausen needs community.

Not terribly long ago, our sister traveled several hours, after work, one night to get to our home and take care of our tribe while we traveled another six hours to simply be with, soak up, some community. It felt like home. But it wasn’t.

It was the kind of environment where we were surrounded by veritable strangers, yet we had all come together because there was a common dialogue stirring inside of us, a starting place, a common ground to brave together—it’s why we were all there. It was wonderful.

A few days later as we drove home, Jay and I dreamed out loud at how we could cultivate that same sense, in our home, for our family, for others. Then the costs, the work, the sacrifices, the fears and all the questions came too. It was easier, not to.

The following passage of time has found us practicing different things. Little things. Almost could feel entirely insignificant things. We’re not writing you because we’ve got this all figured out. We’re writing you because we want to take the hard path with you.

Just because someone has a blog and writes to you about hard things doesn’t mean they don’t encounter the hard, in fact it’s usually exactly the opposite. Here are some things we’re learning along the way to braving-the-hard.

Remember this:

  1. It’s true, anything we create comes from a seed. This has been important for us to recognize and appreciate, we benefit from community whether we know it, remember it, understand it, or not.
  2. A very few but significant others, have spoken into our lives and have kept us going, sometimes when we have been hanging only by a string. This gives us hope that maybe we could be that for someone else. We matter, the words we speak matter. We should live like it.
  3. We don’t have to wait for the stars to align, nor have a combined family travel of 20 hours to have community. What is true community? It is where two or more are gathered with a common and unified purpose. That includes our children, random stranger at the art store looking at the same pencils we are, etc. Everybody needs people, everywhere.
  4. We don’t even have to travel to a conference. About six years ago we began our own annual family art show where the kids can all sell their art to each other as well as invite family and neighbors over to. (This includes home-made brownies. Totally art.)
    We even recently began a family tradition of a yearly artist’s retreat, at our house. in. our. living room. This is not hard. Food. Inspirational YouTube videos. Honest conversation. More food. Workshop, teach what we know because we know something. Ask someone else to teach what they know. Be where we are, it turns out there’s a lot of joy there.

    Jay’s Klausen sketches are done in his favorite Moleskine sketchbooks.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go first. Going first does not mean going perfect, it means going as we are, and that is incredibly brave. Remember what we already know in our bones, don’t we dare forget it: we were born to create.
  6. Community changes everything. It brings us out of the dark where the only voice we hear is our own, there’s no one there to tell us the truth, remind us of goodness, nourish us with beauty. We need each other.

This month we’re taking a new step and beginning an artist’s circle at our house. So, in many ways we are truly writing to ourselves here. Thanks for being with us!


Storyteller:

Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called,
Consider the Ravens :

King of Strings

The world we see is only one,
One of hundreds of thousands,
Strung together in the lap of the infinite.
You and I are within each world,
Within, we are whomever,
Whomever we’ve wished and feared
we would be.

Do you feel that shudder?
Giants are roaming the country side.
Roaming free. Cage free giants
Are chasing you, not the you here—there.

You, the you reading this,
You never see them.
You only ever feel the shudder.
The shudder as they pass by unseen,
Unseen in our string.

Strings, that once in a while connect,
Connect by the will of the Almighty.


So, we are wondering…

What do you think of this design with Jay’s motto, Create. Be Happy. Create More ? Do you think it would be fun on a tee-shirt, a sticker, or a bag? What are your thoughts?

These are simple words, but they’ve really carried Jay through some soul-deep struggles. They’ve become a commitment to him not to quit when he doesn’t like what he has created or feels it needs to be better. He’s made a decision to create, be happy with where he is at, even if it’s not the final destination he is hoping for, and finally to keep going. Create more. Don’t stop.


Commissions Available For a Limited Time:

A current commission Jay is working on. Know who it is?

Here’s what is possible:
An 8×10 watercolor or inked illustration of a favorite scene or (all-age) character. Think storybook or film character.

It will be signed, protected, and shipped as soon as it’s complete. And when you follow any of Jay’s social networks, (MrJayMyers: Twitter , FaceBook , Instagram) you will see process shots of the project.

Costs: Watercolor: $100 or Ink: $35 See more info here. 


Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you! And we love to hear from you too, tell us in the comments what you have found the biggest challenge to cultivating creative community in your life?

Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

Want a free downloadable encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format


We always want to disclose to you that we do use affiliate links on the products we recommend or share but never at any extra cost to you. Also, we’ll only recommend products we believe in. Thanks for your trust. Our full disclosure policy is here if interested.

Jay’s favorite sketchbook: See more of his favorite tools here.