Wednesday, March 7, 2018

34: A Creative Approach to Fine Art with Diane Richey-Ward

What really inspires your creativity? Do you ever use the time it takes to do your routine tasks as an opportunity to reflect on things? And if so, do you make use of those reflective moments for your inspiration? Some of my most creative ideas have come to me while preparing a meal, or while doing laundry. And at times I allow myself to really indulge in the sensory input from my surroundings while getting completely lost in the moment. I focus on the colors, textures and my feelings at the time and then the creative force usually follows a bit later. I also love to see what other people are making, as the creativity of others can be a wonderful source of stimulation for new ideas too! Today's story will offer many insights into the life of a fine artist, as I have Diane Richey-Ward with me as the guest on today's show. She's a fine artist based in Sacramento and she was also my drawing teacher a while back. Listen in today to find out about Diane's creative approach to fine art.            

Diane has been working mainly with the medium of drawing for the past thirty years. Every ten years she alters her approach, changing from drawing only to mixing drawing with sculpture or with other, different media. Her latest interest has been mixing drawing with photography and she's been busy with that for the last three years. She features her latest work in an awesome show which is going on currently, at the Eastry Gallery in Sacramento. Today Diane talks to us about her widespread experiences and about the shows she's had, all over the world. Listen in now to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • What inspired Diane's idea of mixing drawing with photography.
  • Diane discusses her love for both drawing and photography.
  • What gives Diane the fantastic feeling of unlimited potential that she experiences, as an artist.
  • How Diane's creativity has really increased, since her retirement
  • How architecture has featured prominently in Diane's latest work.
  • The way that traveling provides inspiration for Diane's work.
  • What art residency is all about.
  • What got Diane into teaching art for almost twenty-three years.
  • The most satisfying aspect of being an art teacher for Diane.
  • Why being retired is so much fun for Diane.
  • Why doing things other than art sometimes is a good idea.
  • How Diane initially got into art.
  • The hard work and perseverance that is required to become a successful artist.
  • The kind of venues that Diane prefers for her shows.
  • The key influences in Diane's life as an artist.
  • Some tips to help you when you apply for art residencies.
  • A way to get a fresh, new perspective on things, if you run into a creative roadblock.


Photos of some of Diane's work are available to everyone at (on the Patreon page.)

They will also be available to the members of the Creative Approach Facebook group on the Creative Approach Facebook group page.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

33: Inspiration from People and Places for the Digital Creative with Lynn Grieveson

Where do you get YOUR creative approach? For many, it comes from the people in our lives or the places we travel. My guest today draws from both of those for her inspired digital scrapbooking designs. I’m a big fan of hers and I love using her designs for digital pages. I know you’ll enjoy hearing her story and learning about her creative approach.

Lynn Grieveson is a scrapbook storyteller, a digital designer, and a memory keeper. She designs digital scrapbooking kits and unique photobooks for documenting and preserving precious memories and stories. Although she has lived in many places around the world, she currently makes her home in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful and inspiring places in the world. Don’t miss my conversation with Lynn!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Lynn’s scrapbooking history and the inspiration for her designs
  • How Lynn taught herself digital scrapbooking and has never looked back!
  • How she creates her designs with kits, brushes, colors, and themes
  • The benefits of Adobe Photoshop
  • Lynn’s inspiration for scrapbooking, beginning with her older daughter many years ago
  • The transition to digital scrapbooking: how it happened when she was “playing around”
  • Lynn’s background in art history and photojournalism
  • The biggest challenges as a designer? “The time it takes to create”
  • How traveling and living in different places inspires Lynn
  • The value of photo books in telling our stories
  • England, New Zealand, Australia, and more!
  • How she met her husband and learned to juggle work and motherhood
  • The circumstances and major influences for creativity in Lynn’s life
  • What it means to “think like a photojournalist”
  • Lynn’s thoughts on creativity: “It’s important for everyone, because you are making something. Keep at it and it will become automatic and satisfying.”


To enter the drawing for a free copy of The War Bride’s Scrapbook, by Carolyn Preston: visit the contact page on my website (www.acreativeapproachpodcastcom) or be or become a member of the ACA Facebook group. Leave a comment at either site with a valid email address before March 31, 2018. I’ll draw from those responses for a winner of the book!


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

32: Creating Your Own Category with the Scrapbook Novels Author, Caroline Preston

Have you ever thought of doing something creative that has never been done before? My guest today, author and archivist Caroline Preston, is the creator of a whole new genre of literature. Her books and stories are exciting and revealing, combining her passions of writing and storytelling in a new and creative way. Ironically, Caroline’s mother kept scrapbooks and made collages, which were a significant part of Caroline’s past. She went on to work as an archivist at a museum in Salem, Massachusetts, before embarking on her writing career.

Her latest book is the second of her “scrapbook novels.” Following the Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, The War Bride’s Scrapbook, is “a World War II love story, narrated through a new bride’s dazzling array of vintage postcards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and more.” In this novel, “Caroline Preston has once again pulled from her own extraordinary collection of vintage memorabilia, transporting us back to the lively, tumultuous 1940’s and introducing us to an unforgettable, ambitious heroine who must learn to reconcile a wartime marriage with a newfound self-confidence.” I hope you enjoy this conversation with a truly inspirational creative, Caroline Preston.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Caroline’s roundabout path to being an author
  • How scrapbooks tell the story of World War II
  • The uncertainty of people’s lives during the WWII era
  • How women accepted their rules but were early codebreakers in emergent feminism, which is a theme in the book
  • The advertising messages for women during the era
  • The main character in the book, and what she leaves behind
  • Understanding what people’s lives were in history and how they influenced those that came after them
  • Why people didn’t think their stories were even important
  • Piecing together clippings, headlines, manuals, and flyers to tell the story
  • Caroline’s new approach: scrapbook novels with real material and artifacts
  • What “transformative use” means regarding permissions
  • How the “scrapbook novel” idea came to Caroline
  • Caroline’s archival work in Salem, MA
  • How women’s lives are told in history through letters
  • Putting it all together to tell a story
  • With new technology, will our stories even be findable and retrievable in the future?
  • Making everyday lives seem tangible
  • How scrapbooks record momentous events and answer the When? And Why?
  • The detachment of today’s society from military life—unlike the WWII era
  • Caroline’s thoughts on creativity: “I thought I would just try to do this. I knew if it’s interesting to me, then it will be interesting to others also.”


The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh by Linda Colley

Caroline’s books:

The War Bride’s Scrapbook

Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

Gatsby’s Girl

Lucy Crocker 2.0

Jackie by Josie

Check out this episode!

Monday, January 29, 2018

31: Using Creative and Sustainable Technology to Solve 21st Century Problems with Mark Dorfman

The natural world is filled with so much creative inspiration. Artists and designers often look to nature when deciding the shape and form of their creative works, but have you stopped to consider how we might mimic how the natural world functions? Biomimicry is the study of how nature is already solving some of the toughest problems facing mankind. These scientists, designers, and engineers are using creativity in a truly fascinating and innovative way. I know you are going to enjoy learning about this vast topic with my guest, Mark Dorfman.

Mark Dorfman is a Chemist working for Biomimicry 3.8, a consulting firm focused on making the planet more sustainable through innovative design and creative problem-solving. Mark understand that there is so much humans have to learn from the natural processes going on around us. We can then mimic the processes and methods nature employs to innovate and imagine a cleaner, more efficient, and definitely more beautiful world.

Today, we are talking about why innovation can be daunting, but why it is such an opportunity for humanity to grow. We will be pushing the limits, solving the world’s problems, and seeing why failure can actually be fun! All of this and much more will be waiting for you in today’s episode. I know you are really going to enjoy Mark’s unique perspective on creativity!

More in this episode:

  • How Biomimicry 3.8 is trying to shape the world through creative innovations.
  • Using chemistry to solve pollution problems.
  • Understanding color by studying some of the most beautiful organisms on the earth!
  • We can look to the ecosystems to turn waste into byproducts that can be repurposed.
  • Mark dreams of factories that improve the environment, rather than degrade them.
  • Hear how the wings of a butterfly might change the way we make glitter!
  • How Biomimicry 3.8 tackles the tough problems.
  • Mark shares some of his favorite forms to study in nature.
  • Why Mark first became interested in Biomimicry.
  • We have the power to change the markets if we demand life-friendly substances.
  • Hear all of Mark’s thoughts on creative problem-solving.
  • It is so fun to create!


Mark Dorfman

Biomimicry 3.8

Check out this episode!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Getting busy around here!

 I'm getting excited about Creativation in Phoenix in a week and a Deconstructed Workshop with Jen Cushman for Charity Wings in 2 weeks. Will I have the energy for BlogHer Health in NYC after that? We'll see.

Podfest in Orlando, FL is coming up soon, too. The annual AMWA meeting in Philadelphia will be held in March, and then I think no more conferences nor travel until the summer. As I contemplate my trips, Cal has been looking at brochures for ocean cruises. I think I like the idea of another river cruise better. Maybe even one here in the USA? I believe that a lot of travel this year will be just too much.

I'm going to take a style class in journalism at a local junior college, too. There are some sticking points of grammar I need to work on, and I need to understand AP style requirements. I remind myself that more writing is always a helpful thing every time I write a blog post or prepare scripts for A Creative Approach Podcast. Getting a critique in a class on ones writing is a little nerve-wracking, but it is an excellent way to learn.

I'm just not finding time for art. I may need to enroll in a class later this year to get me going on projects I want to do but have not made time for them. I am creating, though. I entered the Lilypad's month of challenges, where one creates a scrapbook page a day that meets specific criteria. I may not stay the course with so much happening this month. Here are my first Baker's dozen entries. Details about the layouts can be found on my Facebook page. You'll notice that I've repeated a few templates. These designs have proved versatile and it's interesting to see how they adapt to different photos and themes.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

30: The Unlimited Creativity of Online and Offline Scrap-booking with Jill Sprott

Creativity is allowed to grow and flourish in a community. We see it in just about every art or craft. Thanks to the internet, we are more connected to fellow crafters than ever before, and the results are stunning. Together, we can share stories, draw inspiration, and give perspective. The more connections we make, the deeper our wellspring of creativity seems to run. My guest today, Jill Sprott, knows that all too well. She is using her creativity to celebrate the diverse collection of artists that have joined together over scrapbooking and storytelling. Today, she is going to show us how the two go hand-in-hand.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Jill was encouraged by her mother and teachers to stretch her creative muscles. For a long time, Jill only expressed her creativity through writing. She found poetry and journaling to be the best medium to share her stories, but many times she found herself drawn to visual images as the best means of communication. After becoming an English teacher, Jill was introduced to Scrapbooking. Though at first she only thought of it as “pictures and stickers,” Jill realized that a scrapbook might be an excellent storytelling device.
Just like poetry can give form to our most personal stories, scrapbooks offer the same kind of form and structure. It is a blank canvas and a chance to make your mark. For Jill, taking part of the online scrapbooking community opened the door to the rest of the world. Now, she is giving back by teaching online classes and sharing her creative inspiration through writing. I know you will enjoy hearing how Jill has married writing and scrapbooking. She has made some incredible pieces, and I can’t wait for you to hear all about it. The creative community is a wonderful place to be, and I am so happy you are here with me.
More in this episode:
  • Jill tells us all about the many things she is interested in.
  • Learn where you can find Jill’s scrapbooking endeavors.
  • The online scrapbooking community is somewhat of a lifeline.
  • Creativity is a kind of sanctuary from fear.
  • Writing and visual art can go hand-in-hand.
  • Jill was more reluctant to start scrapbooking, but she quickly found her niche.
  • We want to celebrate the diversity in the community.
  • Jill shares what it is like to grow up in Hawaii.
  • Mothers and teachers can be the most inspiring cultivators of creativity.
  • The various challenges of online v. in-person classes.
Links and Resources
Jill’s blog: Word Play Word Work
Get It Scrapped: Debbie Hodge

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


My "word" for 2018 is Capture. I want to take more intentional photographs, "seize the day," and document more stories in scrapbook pages, blog posts and on my podcast, A Creative Approach.
I have been reflecting on how there is so little time in each day, it rushes by so quickly as we get older. Now, that is not all bad. Some days, weeks, months and even years are best when they are ended rapidly. Still, one thing about being in the latter part of one's existence is the sense of privilege and gratitude we have that life has given us so much. Some of it too painful for words; that is true. Yet, many do not have such good fortune to make it through. There are opportunities in the days ahead, no matter how short, for those of us still here.
I picked Capture because it has a sense of action and purpose. I look forward to new adventures. I want to tell stories of past, present, and future.
Let's be hopeful for an incredible year ahead as we enter 2018.
May it be a creative time. My wishes are that we will be brave and capture as much experience, learning, and joy as we can.

Here are just a few pages I've been creating recently -

Page details and supplies can be found on my Facebook page.

I have been working on a few scrapbook templates that I will share soon. I hope many of you found 12 days to document in this Advent/Christmas season. If you need more time, remember that Eastern Orthodox Christmas (Ukranian Christmas to me) doesn't even begin until January 7!