I’ve been working as a Teaching Artist for five years now. Wow! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I started out applying for grants through the Nevada Arts Council. I designed creative exploration workshops for adults and children. Then last summer I applied for a Youth Collaborative Art Workshop and Temporary Installation project through Clark County Public Arts. “Songbirds Of Hope” was born! I created a design and wrote a detailed proposal and lesson plan for the project. I was interviewed a few weeks after the submission period ended by a selection committee who eventually chose me and a dozen other artists to facilitate workshops throughout the county. I didn’t know where my project would land, but luckily it ended up at the Desert Breeze Community Center which is only a few miles from my home.
A few months ago, I attended a meeting with the program coordinators at the community center, and we discussed the location of the artwork, the schedule for the workshops, and how to prepare according to their COVID safety guidelines.
Then I got to work preparing the background canvases, vinyl lettering, sound recorder, and of course, 50 cut-out birds to be painted by the children.
Being on “lockdown” might not be all that bad for some people, like me. I’m used to spending long hours working alone, but for some people this is a fate worse than prison. As we all grapple with where this global situation leads us, it is essential we stay connected with others and with spirit.
We are all in this together and we are stronger than we realize. In a meditation I received this prayer which has become my mantra:
May our bodies be fortified with boosted immunity, may our minds be filled with positive thoughts, and may our hearts be overflowing with generosity and compassion as we courageously walk into the future with dignity.
Now is a great time to start a creative project of your own. If you’re not sure where to start, try getting one of these playbooks. Each day you can write and draw in it until you figure out what you want to create. Once you’re into a project, you can use it to monitor your progress. I’ve been using one for three years and now I’d be lost without it. (read more…)
As an empathic creative, I am constantly bombarded with ideas, inspirations and messages from spirit. I used to have a day planner, several spiral journals, a sketchbook, and about a million post it notes floating around my house and work space. It was maddening trying to keep everything straight. I had no single resource to turn to to really measure my progress and reflect on where I had come from and where I was going with an idea or project. One day, I decided to try… (read more…)
Deep in my heart I’ve been wanting to write a Children’s Picture Book about global climate change and our role as stewards of this beautiful planet we live on. I’ve been waiting for a story to come to me ever so patiently. Then, just yesterday it appeared! As I sat in my backyard and wrote in my journal next to my favorite tree, the words came through my hand and I don’t even really know how. I believe it may have been from a source outside of myself. It felt like an out of body experience. I love it when that happens!
As a writer I find it embarrassing that I was never an avid reader as a kid. I was much more interested in going outside. It didn’t really matter what I was doing, as long as it was outside. Mostly, I wandered. I looked at things, smelled flowers, tried to talk to the birds, and when I felt really brave, I would lift up a rock and see what I might find hiding underneath. I didn’t really become a recreational reader until I graduated from college.
I’m facilitating a collaborative mural project for the Discovery Children’s Museum! On Saturday, August 3rd from 10am – 1pm we will be in the Discovery Lab working on a visitor-created piece of collaborative art in celebration of Art Appreciation Month at the Discovery Children’s Museum here in Las Vegas. I’m so excited to be a part of it.
My illustrations are a reflection of my inner child. I can remember drawing my own characterizations of animals since I was in Kindergarten. When I was in the first grade I won a poster contest about listening. I drew animals with big ears. When the teacher announced to the entire class that I had won, I heard a classmate say, “We all know her Dad drew it.” I was horrified and heart broken. It’s true my Dad can draw, but he didn’t help me, not one bit. Already being fearfully shy, I didn’t know how to express my distress over the comment and began crying right there in front of everyone. Over the years I have realized how precious our creative lives are to us. I try to express this vulnerability as well as beauty in my art. My intention as an artist and writer is to encourage people to express themselves creatively and become more resilient to criticism, especially that dreadful inner-critic.
How are you using your creative life? Do you feel like you have one? I’d like to reassure you right now that you do. When was the last time you engaged in a creative project just for the joy of it? Sometimes I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves to create something amazing that we never even start. It’s true there are a lot of amazing creations out there. The other side of this truth is that these things were created because a whole lot of other things (things that may not have been so great) were created first. So, take the pressure off yourself and create something for the pure joy of it. No expectations. Just joy.
Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique.
Vitalize Your Creative Life is a workbook based on a series of classes I designed based on creating from the energetic space of your inner child. In this workbook, I encourage you to rediscover the creative kid inside of you by coloring, scribbling, and even drawing stick figures. This is a very approachable book for people who want to begin exploring their creative life in a playfully spiritual way. Read more…
Today I want to share with you a video I made with my son, Donovan. I’m stretching my own comfort zone by sharing his video here, but since it’s only on my blog, and we’re all friends here, I guess it’s okay. Besides, he really, really wanted me to share this with other kids, so if you know a kid you can share it with, please do so.
As I’ve been writing my new children’s story about a mouse and composing my cast of desert animal characters, Donovan has been very interested and involved. It’s a great advantage to have an expert child so easily available to me when I write. I am constantly asking him what he thinks of a drawing or cluster of words. There are often days like today, when he wants to get involved even further, by sharing his own experiences and ideas. So, without further ado, I present to you, “Making Paper Spiders: (A Tutorial) By Donovan.”
May you embrace your own ideas with enthusiasm and a willingness to share them.
Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates children’s books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique. Her book EVER OPEN is now available on Amazon in print and for kindle.
Deep in the heart of the Everglades, 26 tiny eggs are beginning to hatch in a giant nest under a tall cypress tree. The fourth alligator to see the light of day is about to embark on a classic hero’s journey. Join Baby D as he explores his world through the innocence and wonder of a natural dreamer. Discover what makes him special while pondering what it might be that makes you special, too.
I always feel that I have so much to be grateful for. I really do, even when things are not so awesome. Gratitude is what has kept me going over the years. It’s what keeps me connected to spirit and source.
I was recently gratitude-gifted with a beautiful smoky citrine generator crystal. Isn’t it just gorgeous? (note: buy crystals from nice people) This act of gratitude compelled me to start igniting my new character, Artemis. I’m getting amazing results already. So much inspiration is starting to pour in, it’s hard to keep up with it all.
So on this full moon Thanksgiving, I’ve set up a little altar by my workspace. I even created my own little 3D Artemis out of sculpey. She’s got her magician’s cloak on and we’re ready to make some serious children’s book magic. In addition to the altar, I’ve got a moon calendar starting tonight. So, this cycle will go from full moon to the winter solstice.