Creating with Kindness: Notes on the Creative Process from Local Artist Laura Gaffke
Looking to get back into the creative habit this year? Learn some tips from local artist, Laura Gaffke – whose works can be found in galleries throughout Southeastern CT and Westerly, RI – as she outlines a simple process full of intention, gratitude and positivity that you can follow to create meaningful and joyful art.
Step 1: Get Inspired
Laura explains, “Simple things inspire and bring joy to my life. I treasure meaningful conversations with friends, a nice glass of wine with my husband, soulful walks on the beach, the way my garden transforms itself and adapts to the seasons and especially the warm summer months. Living in New England with its vastly changing seasons has taught me to appreciate summer’s vibrant personality even more.”
Inspiration can be completely unintentional, sparked from seemingly commonplace activities in your everyday life. Learn to observe these moments, and realize what brings you happiness whether it’s spending time with people you love or engaging in a beloved hobby or past-time. The things that make you smile are the things that can inspire your work.
Step 2: Start Journaling
“My journal is an extension of myself. It contains reflections of the world around me: my thoughts, observations, ideas, questions and sketches. Somehow all of this comes together in my painting, often revealing things I hadn’t expected,” Laura says.
Once you start observing the things that inspire you, write them down. By recording these thoughts and experiences, you give yourself space to work out ideas that need more time to simmer, without losing the spark that ignited your imagination. Journaling gives you the opportunity to remember and reflect on things that can provide further inspiration for your work.
Step 3: Begin Creating
“I believe we all have the power to lift each other up,” says Laura. “I try to do this not only with my art but with how I interact with others. If you look closely at my paintings you will notice how colorful and layered they are. This is intentional. I use color to express the joy & optimism I believe is in each of us should we choose to look.
Have patience with yourself, and create from a place of love. Use the ideas that you record in your journal to inspire your work as you create. Work outside of a structured approach, and attempt to create in a way that feels right to you. Take the time to meditate on what you want others to feel when they look at your work and keep that goal in mind as you work towards your final piece.
After graduating from Rivier College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and Art Education, Laura taught in New Hampshire for 13 years. She eventually earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, Vermont and moved to Groton, Connecticut where she maintains a dedicated, studio practice in a quaint, old mill building in Westerly, RI. She is an active member of The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, Connecticut Women’s Association, and The Stonington Printmaker’s Society. Laura manages an online Etsy shop, as well as teaches and shares her work regularly in local and regional galleries. You can follow her blog here or see more of her work on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.