HIIT for Creativity

HIIT for Creativity

Sometime in 2015 I started making 9 inch by 9 inch abstracts with alcohol based markers. I do this activity most weekend nights. Pre-pandemic, I would also socialize but I usually make about one a week. I haven’t counted my output but it’s a lot.

Maybe a year ago the supplies were organized, markers separated by colors into three containers (warm, cool and neutral), finished work dated and put in box. Now there are many containers with no categorization. Worse, there are four pads of paper, each holding undated finished pieces, some that still have the tape I use to hang them while working. A few are quite good. One I felt should be framed and hung. How had it gotten so neglected? One was stunningly bad. Color selection is atrocious. Why put baby blue with so many warms tones? Composition is maybe the worst ever. The opposite of harmony. Looking at it is like eating a lunch of leftovers from three culturally distinct meals, spaghetti with seaweed salad and a few bites of burrito. That one is never going into the box!

I was noticing all of this as I set up last night. It made me a little uneasy. What is all this about? my mind demanded to know. What exactly are you doing here? What’s the point? You’re awfully messy. If you can’t even preserve the ones you’ve already made, why are you making more?

Ack! I couldn’t put the music on fast enough!

With monkey mind diverted by song I choose some markers and got to it. Ten songs later and a good way into the piece I started pondering again, but with a more enthusiastic perspective. Doing this is practice for everything else. If I can be brave enough to confront a blank piece of paper and not walk away until it’s totally filled, I can do that in other arenas as well. I can do that in my job, which requires a lot of stamina and creative decision making. I can do that in my relationships, which require me to fully be present and open to unknown terrain, some of it quite anxiety producing. By engaging over and over in creative uncertainty, watching it resolve through choice and time, I learn that I am competent to do that. There is almost nothing more useful.

Making one mark after another over and over makes me stronger. It’s a workout for creativity. It’s like a very targeted exercise that uses repetition to build of intuitive muscle matter. Some are good and I feel so grateful. Some are hideous and I hate it. It’s not about getting it right every time, it’s about getting it done and learning from what the finalized piece has to offer.

I like the thoughts I have while making art so much more than the thoughts I have when I am only thinking about making it.



I am a stickler about accuracy and my headline does not match my essay. I didn’t draw a sufficient parallel to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I just used the word as a synonym for workout because Workout for Creativity is Blah! Maybe another time, goodness knows I’ve been known to do a part one and part two of a topic.

Get Out Your Fancy Beach Shoes!

Get Out Your Fancy Beach Shoes!

I always find the best opportunities when I am not looking for them and don’t want them. Actually, is it ever the case I don’t want them? Hard to say. Take this one for example. My son and I went for a long beach walk. I made a face in the sand while we sat and talked but it was so similar to a recent sand face that there was no point taking a photo. I don’t like to be redundant. I was fine with not getting a new face because I was more focused on our conversation and being together. 

We were happily trudging back towards pavement when I came across this shoe. It’s instantaneous for me. I HAVE TO MAKE A FACE! It doesn’t feel like a choice. All facial items were located in the circumference of a squat within 60 seconds. Need white? How about two tiny broken clam shells? Need black? Here’s two small pebbles. Need a mouth? Try this dried bit of plant matter. If it doesn’t look good laid down flat, jab it in sideways and make a shadow. 

Man oh man I like him! And so did my son. Being a fancy woman’s shoe he should be a lady but I think he’s a rescue pilot having a good day which means someone was found and retrieved. Hurray! Or maybe she’s a female pilot, or a nonbinary pilot. Who knows?! But they just saved someone and looked fabulous doing it! 

Thank you abandoned shoe for being the momento of my lovely day with my lovely child.