Tag Archives: creative inspiration

How You Can Apply Movie Star Mom’s Two Encouraging Gifts to Your Own Life

There was an American Masters series on PBS that highlighted the life of actor Jeff Bridges. He won an Academy Award for his performance in the movie Crazy Heart, and has been in a number of notable films.

Bridges spoke fondly of his childhood and shared two things his mom did that he thought added to his creative flair.


She would spend an hour with each child every day. In a video interview he said, she used to do this thing called “Time” with each kid.

She wouldn’t take any calls.

“Time would be anything I wanted to do with her. Every day for an hour I could count on my mom having time with me. I’d say, lets go do your makeup and I want to make you up like a clown. . . it was totally focused on whatever I wanted to do.”

"Blossom," drawing by Mary Gow
“Blossom,” drawing by Mary Gow
Also, she kept a journal and would write a paragraph a day about her experiences. When each child turned 21 she would give them a book compiled with the references to them in her journal. In essence each child had a biography of their lives up to 21, written from their mother’s eyes.

Though I am not in this situation nor was my childhood like that, I think of the beauty of the takeaways from this.

Why not commit to writing at least a paragraph a day about my life. Lately I do write daily though not it’s not a diary Better yet, include at least five things I’m grateful for that day.

And to spending at least one hour a day (or a certain allocated amount of time, doesn’t have to be an hour), to play!

Even though you nor I are kids anymore, it doesn’t mean we cannot give myself these gifts, and nurture our continual creative growth!

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Discovering a New Kind of Zen

"Serenity Mountain," watercolor by Mary Gow
“Serenity Mountain,” watercolor by Mary Gow

A few days ago, on a whim I decided to bring this painting to the monthly competition of an art club I’m in. It won Third Place.

The following day I found out a photo I submitted to Forum Magazine, a literary journal at City College of San Francisco, was selected for their Fall 2017 edition!

For over two years I’ve been painting almost every single day. I’m noticing some creative shifts by honoring the practice of creating on a regular basis.

Thank you for coming back to read this if you’re a fan of my blog. I appreciate that you’re here.

I’d like to say it doesn’t matter if I win awards or not. I’m not creating in order to win them. In fact my indifference to them makes me wonder if I have a big enough ego to be an “artist.”

It’s not essential that my work appear in museums either.

What matters to me is that my work bring a bit of Light to the world. That what I write/create inspires you or touches you in a way that uplifts you.

When I paint I often have no intent and just being, not preplanning anything. I literally go with the flow, as I did when I created this painting.

I’ve been falling in love with watercolor more and more each day.

The medium is spontaneous. Unlike acrylics, I can’t keep changing it.

I love the time element with watercolors that dry so quickly I cannot ruminate over any placement, any stroke, any color. I must trust my gut. (This is not to say there’s anything “wrong” with methodical plotted out paintings. It’s simply not my style).

Watercolor is easy to paint with, easy to transport, easy to clean up.

Keep the brush moving.

I go with the flow.

Living in the moment.

I’m embracing the Zen of watercolors!

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Three Key Questions for Following Your Bliss

Quote from Rumi on a Brush Dance card designed by Michael Green, translation by Coleman Barks.
Quote from Rumi on a Brush Dance card designed by Michael Green, translation by Coleman Barks.

The “do what you love and the money will follow” phrase was popular a few decades ago. As I study entrepreneurship and how to run a successful business, that phrase often garners heavy criticism. Simply loving something, such as hot tea, doesn’t mean money will follow.

Various popular marketers I’ve been studying suggest you get a blank sheet of paper and draw two circles that overlap. Inside one circle write what you love to do. And in the other circle write what you think the world needs. The golden answers are in the section where the circles overlap.

I think there’s one other key question to ask that belongs in this method: what where you want to offer help.

Draw a third circle and write in it what you feel passion for improving in the world. Then look at where the three circles overlap.

Don’t be too quick to disregard what you love because you don’t think the world needs it.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

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Day 8 – 17 Qualities of a ‘Pro’

The Yes Tree, by Mary Gow
The Yes Tree, watercolor and pencil on paper, by Mary Gow
As promised from an earlier post, I’m revisiting Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and what distinguishes a “Professional” from an “Amateur.”

According to Pressfield a professional:

1. Is Patient.
2. Seeks Order.
3. Demystifies.
4. Acts in the Face of Fear.
5. Accepts No Excuses.
6. Plays It as It Lays.
7. Is Prepared.
8. Does Not Show Off.
9. Dedicates Herself to Mastering Technique.
10. Does Not Hesitate to Ask for Help.
11. Distances Herself from Her Instrument.
12. Does Not Take Failure (or Success) Personally.
13. Endures Adversity.
14. Self-Validates.
15. Recognizes Her Limitations.
16. Reinvents Herself.
17. Is Recognized by Other Professionals.

(from pgs. 75 to 96, The War of Art)

Watch a video here and see Marie Forleo’s most recent interview with Pressfield about his latest book, Turning Pro.

My painting today is titled “The Yes Tree.” It’s about following the ‘yes’ that feels right in your gut.

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