In the Lefty Spotlight: Virginia Breaks Through Creative Blocks

Virginia and I met through The 52 Project; a 52 week art journaling event hosted by the Riverside Art Museum. Virginia was intrigued by my non-dominant hand drawing and decided to give it a whirl and here's what happened!

Virginia: I am fairly new to the art world. I started out with a mixed media class at the Riverside Art museum and I got hooked. I started an art journal in September 2015. I found that sometimes I would create a background on a page but would be stuck beyond that. Recently I repainted a page several times because I did not like what was there and I felt blocked. Nothing creative was coming out. I finally thought about Kathy Crabbe’s lefty cards and something I had read describing how writing, scribbling or drawing with your non-dominant hand helps to get you going again when you are creatively blocked. I scribbled and wrote with my left hand on this page. It was like magic! As soon as I filled the page with my lefty scribbles I was able to create again. Thank you Kathy Crabbe!

About Virginia, Mixed Media Artist and Art Instructor

Virginia Godoy retired from her career as a Wastewater Chemist for the City of Riverside after 30 years of service. During her last year in service at the City of Riverside, she discovered a love for mixed media art after taking a class at the Riverside Art Museum.  Since that time, Ms Godoy has judged several art competitions and started a new career as an Art Instructor for the Riverside Art Museum’s Art-to-go program. Ms Godoy is currently teaching art with History and Science as well as Fine Arts to 5th and 6th graders in the Riverside Unified School District. Ms Godoy occasionally teaches youth and adult art classes at the Riverside Art Museum.

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The creative brain: where does inspiration come from?

Once artists are free to admit that they are crazily passionate about some thing outside of art, that still nourishes their art, you'd be surprised what you hear. I've learned that one artist gets most of her ideas not in the studio but in her garden, another was replenished with ideas by taking the same walk through town every day, another responds to stoop sales and street finds, another was into obscure horror movies, another horse-racing, another visited candy stores and bakeries, and so on. Also, while normal people may have to travel the world to get inspired, it doesn't take a lot to get a creative brain going. This passionate thing, therefore, is usually quite specific, controlled by a careful protocol, often quite secret, hidden, in the manner of Kepler's statement, "I live in a secret frenzy" - possibly the best two-word description ever of the creative brain at work (J.W. Connor, Kepler's Witch, 2004, p. 329), under the surface of an otherwise nondescript life.

This thing, in my view, is a reflection in conscious life and in art of the jumble of images in Andreasen's associative cortex that precedes a eureka moment: it sets the stage, creates a predisposition, for the eureka moment.

Essay by Robert Mahoney, "Eureka: The Creative Brain" from Accelerating on the Curves The Artist's Roadmap to Success by Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

For me, the thing that set off and inspired my Journey into Intimacy series was my desire to find a container, a tabula rasa, a safe place to let out my emotions. It was emotional pain that drove me insistently and unrepentantly to start this series. I literally RAN to find all my painting and drawing materials so that I could start creating BIG. This new series had a lot of emotion to express and capture and it felt BIG. So I grabbed a bolt of silk, attached it to the wall, set out all my acrylics, brushes, pastels and charcoal and began. That was in October of 2009 and I haven't stopped since.

Kathy Crabbe, Beginning to see the light, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48”.

Although the pain that initiated this series has gone away I find myself questioning what thing apart from my art itself, deeply and unconsciously informs my current paintings (still from the Journey into Intimacy series) now painted on canvas since 2012.

The first painting I'd like to explore is "Beginning to see the light" (see above). My emotions around this painting were intense. My best friend, a revolutionary, writer and fighter for the under-dog was visiting me at the time and she was working non-stop, hell-bent on saving the world and especially the United States. I was reading a book she loaned me by Chris Hedges called "Death of the Liberal Class", we visited Mexico (Tijuana), took walks in nature around my property and visited the vineyards nearby where my friend was appalled by the fakery and plastic-ness of the women she encountered. All the tensions and oppositions between the natural beauty of inland Southern California and the horrific damage wrought upon the women here who are madly creating a plastic persona to 'keep up with the Joneses' exploded into this, my first painting on a black gessoed background and before I knew it I'd painted my vision of this horrible beauty; a vision both intoxicating-ly magical and horrifying-ly frightening. The painting felt channeled; it appeared so suddenly and so brilliantly, capturing a split second fluttering in time where amidst the ruin of a culture I felt...something good. So that's why I paint and continue to paint and draw every day.

Gillian & the Faery Folk – New Moon Wisdom

New Moon in Cancer July 11, 2010 12:40 pm pdt

Cancerian Artist Gillian

Cancerian Artist Gillian

"With the Moon in Cancer our feelings take the lead. Cancer encourages the wisdom rising out of our oceanic unconscious through moods and feelings. Ground in the magic of our home as a temple. Ask what needs protecting and feeding. Plant, fertilize and water your garden." ~ Excerpted from the We'Moon Datebook

Spotlight on Cancerian Artist - Gillian Guelph, Ontario, Canada Shop: Miss Quite Contrary

I am a self taught photographer and art history student from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Since I first held a toy camera in my little toddler hands, I've been taking photographs, but it has only been in the past couple of years that I thought I might be able to pursue this love professionally.

Since those very early years with a little baby camera, it was my Cancer sensitivity and emotion that were my main drive to take photos - to try to capture my feelings about a time or place and preserve them and express them to others in a way I couldn't otherwise - to help others see the world the way I see it.

Gillian, Bertha's Window. Photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. © 2010

Gillian, Bertha's Window. Photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. © 2010

This is an altered version of my 'Rochester's Window' photograph. This photo was inspired by Bertha Mason, the 'madwoman in the attic' of Charlotte Bronte's Victorian Gothic novel, Jane Eyre. It was created with a vintage camera and found antique photographs.

I think my work is instantly recognizable as the work of a Cancer. My shyness and tendency to remain 'in my shell' come through in my chosen locations - often abandoned, isolated or forgotten corners of the world, and in the dusk like lighting I love so much - the approach of evening and rise of the moon are my favourite time of day. I'm inspired by ideas of things hidden, decaying, dusty and ethereal, and am particularly interested in nature, animals, fairy and folk tales and Gothic novels.

I think my attraction to the past, and interest in history, is the Cancerian trait most visible in my work. I attempt to capture a glimpse of otherworldly beauty in the everyday, as well as incorporate elements of the past by using antique, vintage and toy cameras, printing photographs onto the dusty pages of old books and tattered ephemera, and occasionally integrating hand embroidery, scraps of antique textiles, found antique photographs and other found objects into mixed media and wearable pieces.

Gillian comments on her post: Thank you so much for featuring me - it was a fun thing to do and I like how it made me think about my work in a really different way!

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