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Fun Creative Inspiration

Blue toenail polish in honor of Dr. Mary Murdock

We all have the power to create!  Today’s first creative prompt is:  follow a child’s example. Invent a new world using markers and colored paper. Turn your handprint into a work of art. Make a book out of pictures you’ve torn out of magazines. Transform trash into a treasure. Take your imagination out for a ‘play date.’ Invent something fun and functional (like lizard sandals – my newest fashion statement!)  The only limits are in your mind…and I invite you to practice ignoring them;)

“When we live our life as art we make room for creativity, flow, connection, synchronicity, and magic.”
Heather Ash Amara

The 2011 International Children’s Art Festival held June 17-19th on The National Mall in Washington D.C. brought together children, parents, teachers and performers from around the globe to join in a transformational celebration of creativity. I was there presenting along with 9 other students from the International Center for Studies in Creativity - under the guidance of Dr. Cyndi Burnett. Together we created opportunities for children to exercise their creative spirits and play with possibilities. 

“Creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth.”
Abraham Maslow

Witnessing spontaneous bursts of creative inspiration can be contageous!  A young girl named Dilnoza came half way around the world (look up Tajikistan on the map and you’ll see just how far she traveled to get to Washington DC) to share her talents at my table by creating the flower-filled lizard land shown above.  It was fun watching many new worlds being created out of the fertile imaginations of children from 2 to 12 who spoke different languages, yet shared a universal appreciation for different forms of creative expression. I noticed adults looking longingly at the art supplies – and in some cases – taking the markers out of their children’s hands and taking over the creative process. This is a big ‘creativity craving’ clue.  Adults: if you get the urge to take over/improve(?)/direct/guide a child’s art, it’s time to give yourself free access to the same supplies, as well as your own ‘creative play time.’  When children visited my presentation table, they were invited to select and ‘adopt’ a (rubber) lizard. Their creative ‘task’ was to create a ‘world’ the lizard would love to live in. It could take any form – from something on the moon or in the desert or anywhere in a child’s imagination. The most wonderful part was hearing the children’s ‘lizard land’ stories! Magical!  You ARE encouraged to try this at home!


“Moment after moment we are creating something, and this is the joy of our life.”
Shunryu Suzuki

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to play with your creativity?  ‘Everyday creativity’ researcher, Dr. Ruth Richards reminds us this type of creating is , “…one of the most powerful capacities we have, bringing us alive in each moment, affecting our health and well being, offering richness and alternatives in what we do, and helping us move further in our creative and personal development.”  (From Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature , 2007, page 25).

“The creative process includes exploring, experimenting, messing around with materials, being playful, entering into the unknown.”
Natalie Rogers


Marta's "Wish 2B Creative" Collage, 2011

Currently, my favorite forms of creative self-expression are collage, photography, and Latin dancing.  I also have a dream to create an Art Play House in Sarasota, Florida, based on the work of Shona Hammond Boys, an art educator/advocate extraordinaire who lives in New Zealand.  We connected at the International Children’s Art Festival and discovered we share a passion for promoting creativity worldwide. She showed an amazing video which I highly recommend viewing, which tells the story of the Opotiki, New Zealand Children’s Mural Project (and the coolest view of a whale tail as well as children catching big fish with their bare hands).  When  you have a half hour to get inspired, click the link above. About 15 minutes into the movie, Shona speaks to the dramatic, positive outcomes of this project. It is nothing less than transformational. To learn more about Shona’s Art Houses in New Zealand, visit: www.arthouse.org.nz . I love the simple truth of this child’s view of creativity. View the video by clicking here.

One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.”
Rebecca Falls


Fun creative inspiration comes from trying new things, playing with materials,being around children creating, and sharing stories. Creativity lessons are all round us. Listen for laughter. Follow your joy. Be curious and take some risks. It’s the recipe for making magical moments. The photo of my friend Carol (in blue) and I in front of a wrought iron re-creation of Cinderella’s carriage demonstrates the creative result of acting on inspiration. I saw the carriage and, like a couple of kids, we decided to sneak over and capture the moment, just for the fun of it!  Creativity prompt #2 is to do something just a little  bit daring (or ‘out of character’)…and take a picture! I recruited a ‘partner in crime’ to catch me in a few fun poses and discovered I enjoy being a ‘creative director’ in photo sessions!  Both photos were taken at The Art Center in Sarasota, Florida.  They have a great exhibit of scanned objects from nature which is jaw-droppingly beautiful which will be showing until the end of July. It’s a great place to visit!

I hope you enjoyed this ‘fun creative inspiration’ blog. As always, you’re invited to visit www.JoyofQuotes.com daily for positive, encouraging quotes and inspiration. We’ve added some new subject categories – including a page of quotes to use on Twitter. I’ll be adding ‘tweetable’ quotes weekly, so keep stopping by. You can also help support our website by clicking on the ads posted by our advertisers. Even if you don’t make a purchase, your click helps offset the costs of keeping our site up and growing.  Thanks, in advance, for your help! I also love hearing from visitors to this blog and hope you will feel inspired to share your comments. 

July is ‘birthday month’ for three of my very dear friends: Tamara on the 22nd, Carol on the 25th, and Janus on the 26th. I hope this is the year each of  your happiest dreams come true!
Thank you for all the ways you bless my life!  And if your birthday is in July, too, I wish you nothing but wonderfulness;)

With peace, joy and smiles….Marta Davidovich Ockuly

Photo Credit:  A special thank you to Tamara Williams who treated me to a fabulous photo session which resulted in many new ‘favorite photos’ – including this professional ‘head shot.’
She made it fun being photographed. If you are ever in Sarasota and need a wonderful photographer, Tamara comes highly recommended! E-mail: magicalmarta@aol.com for details.

How are you creative?

Your beautiful, creative brain!

“Creativity is for us all – it’s about you, me, and about everyday life. It is
about the abundant originality we manifest, and our flexible improvisations,
whether teaching a class, raising our kids, fixing the car, helping
a client, landscaping the yard, planning a benefit, or
trying to figure out why we’re on this earth.”
Ruth Richards, M.D., PhD, originator of the term ‘everyday creativity’ 

Imagine this…you are in a large auditorium and the speaker asks everyone in the audience who thinks he or she is creative to raise their hand. Would your hand go up or stay down?  Truthfully!  Do you ‘own’ your creativity? This blog has an important mission and that is to inspire you to enlighten anyone you ever hear declaring they are ‘not creative.’  In fact,  “Are you creative?” is the ultimate ‘trick question.’  If you are alive and have a functioning brain, the only correct answer is “yes.”  Need more evidence?  Spend ten minutes taking our new HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? Quiz. Then explore the latest creative brain science explored in this blog. 


Shelley Carson, PhD, a Harvard researcher whose new book is titled Your Creative Brain, has this to say on the subject: We are all creative. Creativity is the hallmark of human capacity that has allowed us to survive thus far. Our brains are wired to be creative, and the only thing stopping you from expressing the creativity that  is your birthright is your belief that there are creative people and uncreative people and that you fall in that second category.”  Once and for all we need to erase the old myth that creativity is something doled out to “the select few”. It is not just for artists, composers, rocket scientists, and other geniuses.  Our entire beautiful brain pulses with creativity.  You can create anything you can imagine – no matter who you are. The key is playing with ideas, being curious, and building up mastery the subject area(s) you find most intesting. Doing what you love is important to unlocking your creative potential, but simply learning new things, moving new ways, and stretching your creative muscles on a regular basis will deliver amazing results. 

 “You are in possession of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, one that has virtually unlimited potential not only to change your life, but also to change your world.”
Shelley Carson 

 April 15th is Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday and the kick-off of World Creativity and Innovation Week .  In honor of creativity week, a committee of creative change leaders (including me) attending the International Center for Studies in Creativity are launching an international HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? campaign aimed at increasing every person on the planet’s awareness of their brain’s creative power. Will you join us?  Simply ask 5 people “How are you creative?” – have a creative conversation about the reality of everyday creativity – and then ask them to pass the information on the same way.  Encourage people to watch this wonderful video my friends Juliana, Erika, and Meagan created for our Current Issues class.  It’s all about ‘regular’ people talking about the importance of claiming their creativity.

“Most people see what is, and never see what can be.”
Albert Einstein
It’s time for people everywhere to know we can all be creative catalysts and agents for positive change. When people claim their creativity, they are empowered.  Awareness of creativity also opens up feelings of possibility.  Go public with your creativity between April 15th and 22nd.  Gather friends for creative play parties.  Everyone is invited to Grad House in Buffalo to attend our Creativity Week Collage Party Open House. E-mail me for details and directions: magicalmarta@aol.com Doing something as simple as using your non-dominant hand to hold your toothbrush will stimulate your creative brain!  Pick a fun-for-you-creative-project and just do it!  The point is to get creative!  Creativity is a great thing to share with your friends,  family, co-workers, and other people in your community.  Remember: playfulness pays big creative dividends, too!

Co-founder of Creativity Week & graduate of ICSC

 Helping people to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best they have to offer.”
Sir Ken Robinson


 Creative Prompt #1:  Here’s the HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? word and idea cloud I created.  Read through it and find the phrases which inspire you most. Tweet those words, make up your own colorful ‘affirmation’ card, or use the words to inspire a new creation this week.  If you usually collage, write a poem.  If you are comfortable writing about ‘reality’ – jot down a fantasy.  


Creative Prompt #2:  Click the link to take our new  HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? Quiz.  There are just 10 questions.  Every ‘yes’ answer affirms your creativity. I challenge you to ask everyone you know if they are creative. If they answer ‘no’ or seem less than confident about their creative abilities, share this survey with them.  I’d love your feedback.  Send me a note about your results and/or experience and I’ll send you an autographed copy of the HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? word and idea cloud


Creative Prompt #3:  Looking at things differently. Many creative discoveries come from combining things in a new way.  The fish and the feather show above are a beautiful example.  This prompt suggests you take a discovery walk in nature and begin to imagine unusual combinations – maybe a flower bird or cloud candy.  Be sure to take along a small notebook or journal to capture your imaginings.  Use as many of your senses as you can during your walk – including balance. Your brain will love you for it! 


Have you heard Ken Robinson’s newest TED talk?  It’s a great introduction to his recently released, revised edition of  Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.  This book is literally calling for a creative education revolution – and it’s solidly founded on facts I believe most people will find astounding. Robinson offers evidence personalized education for every student is an investment rather than a cost.  He states,”The only way to raise overall standards is to engage the energies and imaginations of every student in the system.”  The book covers examples of this type of ‘radical innovation’ which is working miracles in pilot programs affecting thousands of students who use technology coupled with group work, collaborative projects and ‘thinking’ time.  Standardized test scores are balanced with “…exhibits and demonstrations of achievement reflecting  real world evaluations and assessments that all of us face in our everyday lives,” (p. 258).  He does not suggest identical changes be imposed throughout the country. It’s up to each community to design a system which addresses their unique challenges. This book also has a strong creative leadership focus.  In his closing comments Robinson states, “To realize our true creative potential – in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities – we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.”  To that I say ‘amen’! 


“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Albert Einstein

My creative spirit daughter Sarah. Photo credit: Marta Ockuly
“Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naïve at the same time… Creative individuals have a combination of playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Creative Prompt #4:   Take yourself lightly. Pack a mini-picnic and pick up a package of sidewalk chalk first. Then go find a playground with a set of swings and set yourself in motion.  Make up a ‘swinging song’.  Here’s my attempt: Swing high, touch the sky, floating like a butterfly. (You need to sing this;)  Now it’s your turn!  Send me the words and I promise I’ll sing them back to you. Now take out the sidewalk chalk and make a ‘temporary mural’ or set of ‘silly signs’.  Use your imagination.  Invite some kids to play along.  Sing songs, run around, and fall down laughing.  If that isn’t enough to get your creative juices flowing, dip your hands in watercolor paint and leave hand prints on each tree you hug!  Journal your feelings the next morning.


I wish for you a crazy, fun, creative week of pulling out all your creative stops.  I hope you’ll also join our HOW ARE YOU CREATIVE? crusade. It is truly time for every man, woman and child in the world to know, without a shadow of a doubt, they are creative.  Teaching creativity has the potential to change lives and our collective futures for the better. Let’ get started!


SPECIAL REQUEST:  If anyone reading this blog has insights into available grants or fellowships for a person pursuing a PhD in psychology and creativity (that would be me!) I’d greatly appreciate hearing from you.  I’ve started the application process and hope to be starting my PhD studies at Saybrook University this Fall.  If you are looking for a PhD with a humanistic and creativity focus – Saybrook offers a fantastic program!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s creative brain work out.  As our journey of creative exploration moves toward closure, is there a topic you wish I would cover?  Let me know.  I’m very grateful for your comments and feedback.  Don’t forget to visit www.JoyofQuotes.com when ever you need some positive inspiration or encouragement.  My hand-picked quote collection includes 200+ subject categories as well as a fun ‘inspire me’ button for those times you need instant inspiration.  Enjoy the warmer weather and signs of spring.  I often end my blogs with an image of me dancing. This time I’m sharing a photo of a frog who has taken up meditation (or maybe he just downed a ‘chill pill’).  Keep going with the creative flow….Marta Davidovich Ockuly

 P.S.  Sending out Happy Birthday wishes to my super creative, master’s project  ‘sounding board partner’ Amy!  It is certainly fitting for you to be celebrating the anniversary of your arrival on earth during World Creativity and Innovation Week!  Sending you billions of blessings and your happiest dreams come true!