Creativity by the Sea


Creativity goes to the beach.

Take your creativity to the beach. You’ve packed all the essentials – sunscreen and sun apparel, blanket and chair, a towel for that refreshing dip in the ocean, and plenty to drink and munch on. It’s a load, but worth the lugging to set up your beach encampment on a beautiful August day. You’ll be walking, swimming, playing, napping and just relaxing, taking in all the sensations of summer by the sea. And what about a creative activity? Before you head off to the shore, include a creative thing that you love to do.

Creativity goes to the beach. We love to escape with our favorite books, writing journals, music, puzzles, and nature meditations. It is a place for gentle walking and looking, seeing what shell or sea-washed stone is underfoot, and to create our footprints in the sand. Play is the creative way when we build sand sculptures, compete in a bocce game, or artistically navigate the waves with a boogie board. On a summer day the colors of a busy beach shimmer with the bright tones of high-tech outdoor gear, contemporary swimwear, and umbrellas in the full rainbow spectrum. Many activities on the beach can be peak creative experiences, happy moments when we are doing what we love to do – alone dreaming of clouds or with friends playing a lively game of volleyball – these are annual summer rituals that sustain us throughout the year. The perfect beach day is a way to creative wellness, as well as the memory of it.

When I have a healing opportunity to go to the beach I take a small creativity kit so that I can sketch and paint. Watercolors are my preferred medium and easy to transport. My beach creativity kit includes a 3.5 x 5” sketchbook and HB pencil to illustrate the scene, to see the contour lines and values of light. Drawing is the bones of art and I use these reference thumbnails for the paintings I make in my studio. I make color sketches using watercolor pencils, a small set of watercolors, wash brush and cup, and a small Moleskine sketchbook for painting. This keeps me busy seeing and enjoying the spectacular coastal scene on Ogunquit Beach.

Watercolors in a beautiful place by the sea. It’s time for Art HOPE’s annual summer ritual, Sea Water Studio on Ogunquit Beach. You can paint with me at our creative wellness retreat on Tuesday, August 23, 9:30 to 11:30. The event is a celebration of creativity for cancer survivors, family, friends and the community at large, and is summer at its best in Maine. August + beach + you = creative wellness. Enjoy!

The Legacy of Jane Staley: Mentor, Friend, Community Builder

Art HOPE Community Wellness Mosaic

Art HOPE Community Mosaic at the CCC

This post honors the late of Jane Staley, a mentor, friend, and the founder of the Cancer Community Center in Portland, Maine, where I have been teaching art classes since 2004. The legacy of her creative nurturing lives on in the Art HOPE workshops I teach at the Center, and in our Maine community. Recognize your angels…thanks, Jane. Continue Reading →

Working Out Stress in the Great Outdoors

Paddle into Light

Get out and get active in summer.

Summer is here. Get out and get active. School is out and the last six months have been straight out. Whew! Time for some “me time” in summertime and to relieve stress in the body by getting it going and moving with the sensual rhythms of nature. A human-powered activity that gets you outside and physically active can be a way to wellness and is often a peak experience, when you are enlivened and happy in the flow of doing a loved creative thing in nature. Continue Reading →