Creative Icon

“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” – Annie Leibovitz

I’m settling back into my office-studio this week after last week’s significant purging-organizing-cleaning session. I again have a place to sit, a place to write, and a couple of places to create.

This happens every so often. Things get so cluttered and chaotic in my physical spaces that I feel the need to clear out before I can work effectively. I get antsy during these times, worried that I’m not being productive enough, getting hung up on the perceived lack of action. But even in the midst of chaos when things are seemingly at a standstill, I know they’re moving.

The flow of ideas is there. The inspiration, the processing and piecing together, the connections – all there. As noted in the quote from Annie Leibovitz at the beginning of this post, ‘It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.”

I anchored this way of life several years ago with the creation of my Creative Icon piece.

I had recently studied the artist Meinrad Craighad. Meinrad knew from a very young age that her art and the driving force behind it had purpose. And while that awareness could have burdened her young self with responsibility, it freed her. It relieved her to know there was a reason she was driven to create what she did and thus she was free to focus solely on moving forward with what was her life’s passionate essence to see where it would lead her.

When I learned that about Meinrad, a piece of truth clinked into place for me. It was no longer enough for me to tap into creativity here and there, when I was looking for inspiration or needing a boost to finish a piece. And it certainly was time for me to stop spending the majority of my hours doubting and questioning what the hell I was doing with this intense passion and obsessive need to create the images that called to me. I realized that something this organic and integral could no longer be considered a liability or at best, something to tolerate or simply be OK with.

AND SO I LET IT SETTLE IN ALL THE WAY. I let creativity become the fiber of my being, my web. There was no longer a separation to rekindle and reaffirm every time I entered my studio or sat at my computer. Instead it became a sacred union. A relationship. A marriage. It is with me all the time, carried into every room, every situation, every corner of life – messy or straightened, chaotic or peaceful.

This Creative Icon piece was created as me. The colors are the chakras of the body, my body. The eyes are mine, their clear vision at the center of the image. The crown piece flips from top to bottom with images of my outer self visible when it is placed up, and then images of myself as my artwork when it rests down – the movement itself a physical manifestation of creativity shifting from an outer focus to an inner resting place. Images of the piece with the crown up and down are pictured below.

Ellen Sauer Artwork view B

Ellen Sauer Artwork view A

On the strips of paper hanging from the web I wrote a few colorful affirmations.

Red: My relationship with creativity is an intimate, mystical marriage, no boundaries or barriers are between us.
Orange: We solidly believe that one won’t betray or abandon the other.
Yellow: Because of this, nothing can harm this sacred union.
Green: We create powerful outcomes together.
Blue: And we definitely don’t limit what we create or present to the world because we trust this sacred mystical marriage.
Indigo: This is a commitment, a constant presence, and we are ready.
Violet: We move through the world feeling our way, enjoying the ride, protecting each other and our intimacy without limitation.

And so off I go with my clean office into 2016, yet another year of living like Meinrad and Annie, my creative self so integral in my being that the idea of separation is as foreign to me as this intrepid togetherness once seemed.

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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