I met Lara Cornell through - yet again - Jen Lee's Indie Kindred Creative Community. Can you tell I really resonate with a lot of creatives there? The liberal use of colour and words in her mixed media work drew me in straight away, and I knew I had to feature her on Embody Your Muse.
Though Lara felt drawn to painting for years, fear held her back (something many creatives can relate with), and it took a rough emotional patch for her to actually connect with that calling in 2013. She decided to try a course with Brave Girls Club, and learned that she loved creating art! And, create art, she most certainly does - even while working a full time job, caring for her family, and going through yoga teacher training! Lara says, "It's in my soul," and I think that shows.
What does Creativity mean to you?
Oh man, creativity can come in so many forms. I watch my children create every day and they are always trying new things: singing, dancing, new ways to write words, painting, sewing, making up stories. They are curious, so curious. Making something out of nothing, even a mark on a blank piece of paper can be creativity.
How do you expand yourself creatively?
I actively search out new artists, new materials, new creative processes and try what inspires me most. And most often, I watch my kids create.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years? Did anyone encourage you, especially?
Yes, I was always creative. I particularly enjoyed writing. I wrote GOBS of letters as a kid. It wasn’t so much the things I had to say as actually putting pen to paper. I LOVED getting new pens and new colored papers. Back-to-school season was always my favorite.
I also remember sometime around 6th grade where I drew an entire fashion line. I was very inspired by the 80’s fashion (bright colors, splashes, geometric patterns, sparkle…).
What inspires you most?
Nature, travel, my kids, and those beautiful mistakes.
Do you daydream often? If so, does it inform your work?
ALL THE TIME. My best ideas come to me when I’m day dreaming. It’s part of who I am.
How does a relationship and/or children affect your creativity?
Other than the obvious (that my kids are creative and their thirst is inspiring), my husband and my kids make me happy and being happy feeds my creative fire.
How do you care for yourself to ensure you’re available when ideas present themselves?
I have started yoga and meditation training, as well as Reiki training. I’m learning to look more inward and to listen to my intuition more, listen to the energies around ideas and thoughts. I’ve learned that if an idea pops up several times, then I need to pay attention to it. More often than not I’ll sit with that idea a few times to decide if I really want to go forward with it, if it’s really inspiring me or not. If not, I release it. If so, I move forward. One can only have so many notes and lists.
I also try to practice regular creativity times. It’s not usually every day, but at least a few times a week and often not more than a few minutes. I’ve learned that if I at least keep doing SOMETHING creative with no attachment to the outcome, more often than not I’ll end up doing something organically that sparks a new idea which moves me into my next creative burst.
How do you balance life and art effectively? Or, do you?
Terribly. On top of an art career, I work a full-time job, have three young children, volunteer as much as possible, and am in teacher training for yoga and meditation. I struggle to find balance every day. But I take each day for what it is and do the best I can. It’s crazy, and busy, and difficult. But I know that the things I’m doing mean a lot of me and they are things I really WANT to do, and they are things I am meant to do now. Eventually, I’ll learn to ask for help...maybe.
My favorite quote from Brave Girls Club: "You have done ENOUGH today. "
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
I take a break. Use the moments I would normally use to create and organize my art space. Clean up. File, Narrow down my art supplies to a few things to use in my regular creative times so I’m not overwhelmed. Sometimes I pick a new supply with an old standby and use those for a week to see what happens. When my next creative burst comes I’m cleaned up, organized and ready for the madness ;).
How do you deal with change, especially when it comes to creative mediums and passion?
I love change! It’s the perfect opportunity to learn something new.
How does criticism affect you?
I’m not going to lie, it drags me down. However, I have found that it’s critical to have a community of kindreds you can talk to about anything. I repeat: CRITICAL to have your own community of kindreds.
How important is self compassion to your creative process?
SO, SO, SO important. I usually go into a piece just thinking “let’s see what happens”. I’m not perfect, creativity isn’t about perfection. I want to paint because I FEEL LIKE IT and I feel inspired to. I try not to plan anything because it rarely turns out the way I imagined. I’d rather create intuitively and see what reveals itself.
Do you have any other mediums you use to express yourself creatively?
I ADORE writing and want to study calligraphy/typography again. I also LOVE photography. Other than that, there’s always new crafts happening in our house with our kids and I’m constantly redecorating :).
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
BOTH, although with my crazy schedule I’m often creating on my own at stolen moments.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
My creative space is continually moving around my house. Near my kids, away from my kids for “quiet”, in the backyard while they kids play, at the dining table, etc…
Is it important for you to have a creative, inspiring environment?
I don't feel that the environment needs to be inspiring necessarily as long as I’m already inspired. If I’m inspired I can create anywhere.
However, I’ve found a cup of coffee, some Nag Champa, some good music, and some sunlight definitely clear space for my creatively.
Do you plan thoroughly for projects, or go with the flow?
ABSOLUTELY GO WITH THE FLOW! The coolest things happen when there is no plan. I’m a big fan of serendipity and wabi sabi.
Do you have a preferred way of cataloguing ideas?
I’ll admit. I’m a big Pinterest lover.
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
Absolutely. I have found MANY kindreds on facebook groups and have made amazing friends this way. It’s super important to me to be in touch with other creatives, sharing trials, accomplishments, ideas, advice, expertise. I can honestly say I LOVE My kindreds!
Do you have any rituals that help to set your creative time and/or space?
Make a cup of coffee
Pick some good music.
Fill a cup of water for brushes.
These four things signify “beginning” for me and it relaxes my mind
Does spirituality and/or culture play a role in your creativity?
I find it’s incredibly important to listen to your heart and your soul. Does it make your heart skip a beat? Has it already crossed your mind several times? Are you seeing signs about something everywhere? Those things definitely feed my creativity. Same goes when I’m painting; what mediums do I feel like using right now? Does that shape feel right? Is there a message repeating itself in my mind as I create?
Do you believe art can change the world? If so, how?
I like to believe that it’s possible. I’ve always been the “can’t everyone just get along”-kind of person. I like to spread positivity and kindness with my art. Personally, I like to hear kind words from people and that everything will be all right, don’t you?
Do you believe that connecting with your creativity, or helping others to do so, can positively affect the world? If so, how?
Like most all artists I know, I believe that everyone is creative, just in different ways. I believe that tapping into your own creative nature makes you happy and HAPPY PEOPLE CAN POSITIVELY IMPACT THE WORLD. Really! They can!
Are you active in your local art community? If so, how do you help and support each other?
Being pretty new to the art scene, I’m still learning about my local art community. I’m finding the Twin Cities has a very rich art community. There are so many great organizations and I’m constantly trying to find new ones to jive with my style and philosophies.
I’m hoping in the future to have some sort of creative space where people can teach classes, hang art, mentor… and maybe even a yoga studio attached for some creativity-inspiring yoga sessions? We’ll see :).
Do you surround yourself on a daily basis with creative, inspiring people?
YES! Although most of them are online in various art groups. I’ve met people from all over the world which means someone is always up for a chat, arty-discussion, or creative business questions at all times of the day and night.
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
Positive, positive, positive messages.
I have a painting that says “I love you to the moon and back again”. This painting took MONTHS and I love it very much. I had prints of it made and brought them to an Art Crawl. One quite young lady saw it, picked it up and walked right over the buy it. All she said was that is was for her friend who happens to like boats (which are featured on the painting), and that it was perfect. She walked to the end of my booth and waited for her friend. When her friend came, she pulled it out and gave it to her. She said “It’s for you. It’s what you always say to us”. The friends started tearing up, everyone was smiling and hugging. It was beautiful. Then the friend came over to me with little tears in her eyes and said “I know this probably doesn’t make much sense, but thank you SO much. This means so much to me. Just, thank you”.
No political agenda, no soapbox, just happy.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
YOU CAN ALWAYS PAINT OVER IT!
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
YOU CAN ALWAYS PAINT OVER IT!
Find your community/kindreds. They will change and enrich your life beyond what you can imagine.
JUST TRY - I started following my very first year-long e-course last year. I was SO intimidated. I didn’t know what a lot f the supplies on the list were, didn’t know the processes, etc… Finally I just dove in! I wrote on it “It’s all new, just try” and that has been my go-to mantra when I’m painting or feeling intimidated.
Do you have any favourite books?
I’m working my way through LOTS of books. Currently delving into Fire Starter Session and Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte.
Do you have any upcoming projects/collections to share?
I started my Heart Strings line in October and recently added some LOVE bits to it which can be found in my Society6 shop (www.society6.com/laracornell).
I’m trying my hand at fabric and have listed a few fabric designs on Spoonflower as well.
In June I have a solo art exhibit in Minneapolis and I’m working on several pieces in resin.
There’s the possibility of a children's book in 2015.
Maybe more! If I’m fortunate enough!
Do you have a favourite quote?
“It’s all new. Just try” - me ;)
“You have done enough today.” - Brave Girls Club
Where can we find your art?