Creative Homebase

Art Studio from Donna Jackson on Vimeo.

Life changes everyday for everyone. My life admittedly is changing at a speed that fills me with anxiety. I know that all the change is a great thing and is purposeful but I find myself quietly sitting and looking for something that will keep me grounded in the whirlwind that is life for me.

When I open my door to my studio/office, I naturally take in a large breath and the anxiety goes away. My studio is my stability. It is where I create and feel mostly like myself.

If I had my wish, this is where I would go everyday and work for hours and hours and hours. At some point this will be my life. Right now though, I am building to that. I am glad I have this space of both creativity and stability.  I invite you to come by if you have a chance. Just call me and let’s set it up. I think it will free you as much as it stabilizes me.

Launching 2014 Detroit100 Community Art Project

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The Detroit100 Art Community project has launched and is underway. I look forward to this year’s entries. This is the third year of Detroit100 but the second year of projects and it has been a wonderful experience so far.

There are a lot of projects and events happening in Detroit that are working toward making this great city fantastic. My goal with Detroit100 is to capture more of this spirit and the stories behind it by providing a platform for Detroit to tell their story in words, with drawings, with photos and more.

The stories and history of the world are told by the victors. Detroit’s stories have been molded by media and though some of what is said is true, it is a small portion of what is happening in this city and what is happening most importantly with its people. Art has always been the truth teller of society and in the spirit of true art, these projects will help tell the truth about Detroit, the people of Detroit and the Detroit experience.

This year I expanded the mini-projects from 3 – 7, giving more ways for people to participate and to give a little more variety to the story telling. I do hope you take part in one of them. Detroit, if we do not tell our story someone else will so, have fun and stand up and let your voice and your story be seen.

For more information, visit www.dmjstudio.com/detroit100 or email me, donna@dmjstudio.com.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

I don’t worry as much as I use to. It isn’t like there aren’t things to worry about, but I think with time, I’ve found that it doesn’t really help much. When there are a lot of new variables in my life that I cannot control or variables that just overwhelm me, instead of worrying, I kind of go in observation mode.

I feel a part of myself, stepping out of myself and looking at all of these different things that are happening. It observes without fear; something that can be difficult to do when the things that are happening could drastically change your life. But the observer does not think of the outcome. It just looks and sees the beauty of life. How these different variables are coming from different places to meet at one point creating an outcome that can change my life.

The outcome. We all pray for certain outcomes and we worry that we won’t get to that outcome. We worry about how to get to that outcome. But taking that step back from fear and worry allows you to see clearly and know that the outcome is going to be the best results needed for you to fulfill the vision you have for yourself.

Vision. I’ve learned that I cannot stay focused on my vision if I am scared or worrying about outcomes of decisions I made or outcomes of changes that are happening in my life. STOP. Observe and watch the universe work. Observe and see the beauty of the variables in your life instead of looking at them as pieces you need to control. It is truly less stressful.

Observing life, living life instead of worrying about it has just been a better way to use my energy. Bob McFerrin was right. Don’t worry, be happy. It is a decision. Easy to make, challenging to stick with, but it really has changed the quality of my life and I hope a little less worry will help yours.

Detroit HOUSE Project 2

Detroit House Project 2 is the artsy side of this community project. Here, you will see posters, paintings and some illustrations of houses that will support the Detroit HOUSEProject effort. It is a fun way to do some good in the world. Here is the first entry for HOUSE Project 2.

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DATE: September 17, 2013 | HOUSE Project 2 – 4×5 painting

Remember as kids, when you drew a house it included a square for the base of the home, the triangle as the roof and rectangles for the chimney and windows. You can’t get simpler than that. What a simple vision that can have so much impact to our lives. A house that could become a home for a family or a hub for a community.  Please come back to this page to see the progress of this project over the next few months.

Committed to Creating – 365 Days of Creating

Create for Creation Sake. This is one of my mantras. Something I have lived by for years and pretty much follow, but yesterday, I felt that I needed to create a practice that is tangible and one that I am documenting. So, as of yesterday, I began a project called Committed to Creating and everyday, I will create something and share it with you all on my blog…everyday.

WHY?

Easy. Creating is fun, but it is also hard work and a discipline. I think the fun comes AFTER you learn to discipline yourself. I think seeing this process may encourage others to tackle it and also help other be okay when creating becomes challenging and just plain hard to do.  I hope that you will join me in this practice.

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GALLERY OF DAILY DRAWINGS

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Family

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I agreed to watch my nieces so that my sister could go on a date. That is what sisters are for. I didn’t want to sit in the house looking at kids do nothing, so I called my nephews mom and made a play date. Play isn’t really the right word. My nieces and nephews age ranges from 5 – 15 so some played outside, some chilled in the house and talked, others played on the Wii.

The cool thing is that I watched them relate to each other and there is a true camaraderie between them. I am glad about that. I am also glad that though my nieces and nephews live in different cities around Michigan, they get along; they interact that relate. I also enjoy watching my nieces and nephews with my parents too. This is something I did not get a real chance to do since most of my cousins and grandparents lived in Alabama, New York and Illinois.  Family is clearly important. Family, as crazy as they make us, also make us who we are.  The family members that are here and the ones that have passed.

I know that when we think about our dead relatives, it is not always the brightest or joyous thoughts we have. We missed them. But this day, I thought about some of my family that passed on. My favorite Uncle Leonard (my dad’s brother) and Uncle Louis (my aunt’s husband), my Aunt Barbara Ann, my grandmothers and grandfathers.  I thought about my music teacher (he was like a father to me) and all the ancestors I know existed because I exist. Thinking about them made me as happy as I was watching my nieces and nephews two days before. I would like to think that it is true that sometimes those who have passed on  still visit us and guide us and love us in this life; making things a little more lovely in a world that can be tough. That is a happy though for me. For a moment, I smiled thinking, how wonderful it would be to see all of those lovely faces again.  How excellent to meet my mother’s father. He had passed before I was born. How great it would be to hear my uncle’s laugh or one of his stories. And, for that moment, it seemed, that seeing these people was as easy to as it was for my nieces and nephews. Maybe it is.

Why did my thoughts go from my living relatives to the dead? I think it surprised me that I feel the same for my dead relatives as I do for those that are living. Beyond grief, frustration, misunderstanding and all the other junk, there is this love.  Our state of being doesn’t really change love and realizing that was a moment of clarity for me. And now, I share it with you.

Candy Chang’s Philosopher’s Library

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I adore the work of Candy Chang. She has been an inspiration for the work I do in my community and, from studying her work, I feel that it is possible to do things in this world that have purpose while still making a living from it.  So, her new project is Philosopher’s Library. This library is a sacred space full of books suggested by people just like you and me. The books are selections that have changed the lives of the reader.  I LOVE THIS IDEA! for many reasons:

  1. I love libraries and feel they have a key to changing the world if they are willing to change some of their traditional uses and services to fit the desires, needs and wants of the people.
  2. I have read many books that have changed my life for the better and love a chance to share them with others.
  3. I believe libraries are sacred spaces and this project is creating this library as a sacred space with the purpose of healing those who experience it.

We are all looking for answers to life and when things are chaotic in this world, it is good that we can go somewhere for answers. Some of us go to church or we get on our knees and pray to get answers. Sometimes we talk to our friends, family members or even our therapists to find the answers to our questions about this life.  Having another alternative, a space that demands quiet and gives you comfort while you absorb its resources and knowledge can only be of help in our life journey.

I would love for more libraries and more churches to engage people in this way; giving us the opportunity to create a way to get closer to understanding the reason for being. I think that both of these institutions have lost their way a little because for so long they filled a particular need and space in our society that is now being filled by other things. We still need churches and libraries, but in a different way. Yet, since libraries and churches have been slow to change (I know this is a very blanket statement), others have picked up the gauntlet to create sacred space and to feed humanities minds with knowledge that has the potential to lead us to enlightenment.

This week I am going to go through my home library and recommend my books to this project and I hope that you will do the same. I have made a special date on my calendar to experience the Philosopher’s Library in New Orleans. What better place to find a little bit of sweet serenity.