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Fear is only a word until we give it power. When uncertainty happens such this pandemic, it's so tempting and easy to give into fear which creates a sick feeling in the stomach and boosts stress levels to crazy heights.

in the current health and emotional climate of the world, I've learned so much more about the beauty of choice. I can let fear drive me to crazy town or let it give me an energetic kick in the pants to take a creative leap, find new ways to do things and learn fun new techniques. It's astonishing how focusing on creating what I love and new opportunities helps take the focus off the fear and remember "this too shall pass". It's a great kindness I do for myself and all those around me when I take the creative leap and allow fear to do something positive.

Case in point. Les Femmes Artistes. A group that I had the privilege to create with dear women artist friends in Minneapolis a number of years ago. Because of the current situation it is becoming an online group that will encourage many more women in their artistic pathway. What great new techniques will they learn and what level will they take their art to?

May we all focus on what feeds our soul, gives us hope and kicks us in our beautiful big or small behinds, opening our minds and hearts for new ideas. Look at the plants and the birds during this pandemic. The plants are blooming more than I've ever seen and the sound of all those birds singing blows me away.

To our health and all our creative endeavors.

What a beautiful thing to see the #peaceful protesters after the death of George Floyd.

Where do we go from here to make a lasting #change. As human beings we have creativity we can tap into to change our lives and the lives of every other person we may meet. Creativity is about curiosity and and what better way to make a connection with others than to show honest curiosity about what is important to them, what they love, care for and do. When we are all given honest attention, we thrive.

At our house we've taken in a number of feral cats and they are always afraid and timid in the beginning but as they are loved and cared for, touched and allowed to be just simply who they are, they inevitably relax and start to play and give us their trust and they thrive. I believe it can go much farther than that and we can apply that principle to all people, our beautiful earth and every being who lives on it.

We can make a new start, we can make a change.

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In this time of a pandemic, we can have all kinds of reactions. It's like we go through both an individual grieving process and a worldwide collective grieving process. for some strange reason, my creative juices have been flowing more than they have in a long time. This has been such a relief between the times of feeling a bit out of sorts or even panicked because of the ongoing situation. What can I learn anew with my illustration, what new techniques can I try?

Art and creativity can take us away from the stresses and scares of whatever is bothering us. It creates a sense of play and curiosity that can get lost among the stress and sometimes panic in a difficult situation. I know it has really helped me to de-stress.

In illustrating the octopus book, finding ways to create a sense of water and the movement of the octopus has been a lot of fun. Watercolor tells this story the best. In thinking about an octopus, it's body is fluid, just like water. Even if it moves on shore, it flows like water that moves over the sand and rock.

Try this:

Pick up a new creative tool, a brush like you've never used before, a woodworking tool that you've been wanting to use, a plant you've been wanting to grow. Now is the perfect time to enjoy ourselves in a new way. Live life to the fullest.

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