Friday, March 07, 2014

Living Color - Natalie Goldberg's New Book + Giveaway

Did you ever judge a book by its cover? You know that saying. Although looks aren't everything, I admit that I have been seduced by the catchy cover of a book. That's how I ended up picking up Living Color by Natalie Goldberg over a decade ago. The cover was good - electric blue with colorful orange and yellow type and a bright and happy painting inset. There were colorful paintings inside and the story was about a writer learning to paint. I devoured it quickly, reading a chapter a night. I had already been painting with gouache but I always like to find ways to be inspired and start painting or crafting or sewing or whatever again.  Julia was very small (it was at least a decade ago) and there wasn't much time to do much so the fact that I was actually reading about creativity helped my creative soul. 


Through reading Living Color, I discovered that the author Natalie Goldberg was a prolific author. I loved her writing style - the stories she told and how she linked them to her painting and life journey seamlessly. I found two of her other books on writing - not art. They were the best-selling Writing Down the Bones - Freeing the Writer Within and Wild Mind - Living the Writer's Life. At that point, I didn't have a blog but I had written a lot for my job - albeit marketing materials. I had always thought about writing-writing but because I wasn't "trained" or "schooled" in it, I didn't think it was something I could do. The most I got creative writing-wise was our annual Christmas letter where I shared stories about our farm. And besides - my high school English teacher Mr. Sutton was none too flattering about how I wrote.


Fast forward to 2014. I've kept this blog for almost 8 years and I write on it pretty regularly. And I've been writing books for quite a while even if they are craft and how-to books and not exactly creative writing. My writing has to be to the point, descriptive so that someone can actually reproduce what I am telling them to do by reading words and looking at photos. But now I call myself a writer. And a decorative artist. And a knitter. And a painter. And a stitcher. And a farmer.......

As I have grown older and worked in different creative disciplines, I have learned that all these different skills are inter-related. Each new thing I learn adds to the stew that simmers inside. The direction of one craft may change - or morph - or stay the same. I know that continuing to create - whether with my camera, my computer, needle and thread, yarn, paint, words, whatever - my work will keep changing. Living a creative life isn't easy all the time but it is fulfilling as I work through each project - then release it into the world.


About a month ago, I saw some press that looked interesting and familar. STC/Melanie Falick Books was publishing a book called Living Color. I read the copy and recognized the description. Wow - that book - Living Color - was coming out in a new edition. I was beyond excited. Awesome news for all those new people who will pick it up and be inspired. That book had given me confidence to keep creating and working and now it was being introduced to a new group of readers. I contacted STC to see if I could snag a review copy and this week it arrived. (Thank you Traci and Melanie.)

It is beautiful. It is colorful and it is packed with new paintings by Natalie. I loved her paintings then and I still love them now. At the end of each chapter, there are creative exercises to help you learn to paint - 22 in all. There is a lush picture gallery of Natalie's paintings and there is a new chapter at the end. I've already gotten half way through it. This is a book you can turn to again and again.

So why am I featuring a book writtten about a writer learning to paint here on this blog? Well here is the thing friends - whatever you do creatively - or want to do - by reading this book, you'll be able to gain the confidence to follow your dream. Granted - learning anything new takes practice to get better. But mostly it is finding the nerve to take the first step towards learning something new or bettering a skill you already know by breaking out of your normal routine. Reading about someone else's journey can help you to begin yours.


If you are THINKING about learning something new - perhaps you are a knitter or crocheter who wants to learn to draw or paint - or garden - or cook - or bake, Natalie's book will help you along. Check it out please. Buy a copy and then pass it on to a friend. 

So here is what I have for one lucky reader today - a copy of Natalie Goldberg's new book Living Color. Here's how you enter.....

Answer one of the following questions in the comments: 
Share with me how you get out of a creative slump?
OR
Tell me what new thing you would like to teach yourself to do or go to a class for.

Contest ends Wednesday evening March 12th at 11:59. U.S. addresses only please. As always, leave an easy way to get a hold of you - email, blog id, google+ or ravelry id.

Good luck everyone and have a fantastic weekend. Make something!
Contest is over - the winner is johalley who wrote: When I am in a slump I visit a yarn or quilt shop, pull out a few books and spend some time on Pinterest, then I take a long walk. Usually I am mentally crafting before I am home!
I have contacted her and waiting for reply. 

71 comments:

Pammie said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book, Kristin. It looks to be so inspiring, and reading books like this, as well as blogs, etc. is one way I get out of a creative slump. I love seeing the work of other people and reading about their lives. It energizes me !

Cherie Martin in EP CO said...

The picture of the blue chair in front of the patterned wall looks like it could have painted from a photo of your home.

Cate said...

This looks like a terrific book that would be an inspiration. I'm starting to plot my retirement in a few years and so am thinking about all the things I've always wanted to have time to learn. Possibly weaving will be first (I'm already a knitter, quilter, spinner, and basket-maker).

Anonymous said...

Hello Kristen I so enjoy your blog being an advid fiber junkie my next project to learn would be to felt enough material to upholster a small bench

martha said...

I have been drawing faces lately and I want to learn how to create emotions on these faces, and draw them at different angles. Everything we've experienced shows up on our faces, so watch your thoughts!

Sheri said...

I would love to take painting classes.

Unknown said...

I'm a quilter, a writer, a teacher, a mother, a sometimes knitter, and I would love to learn watercolor in the hopes of creating my own line of fabric some day. Your books and your yarn (and your field of sunflowers!) have inspired me for a few years now . . . thank you for a chance to win Natalie's book!

Laura S said...

I'm currently wanting to pursue (along with writing), papercrafts, sewing (again), crochet, knitting and fabric arts. There's more but....
The book looks wonderful.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

How wonderful, I read her Writing Down the Bones but never heard about this one...it sounds fabulous. If I get in a creative slump I make something in a different medium than I usually work with--that distracts me enough to get out of a slump. Also, I go for a swim .That usually loosens up my brain and changes my mood for the better.

Lynn Cohen said...

First of all I love Natalie Goldberg. A blog friend sent me her book, the first one, living color, a few years ago. I re read it often savoring her drawing style. The friend thought my style was similar, such a compliment to someone just starting to draw as I was. I draw nearly every day, and am rarely ever in a slump. But find having a prompt and drawing with others helps keep me drawing. For this reason I started the blog called "Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens" where 22 artists draw to a given prompt that changes every 2 weeks! I am constantly learning new techniques from my fellow artists. And I'll be taking Danny Gregory's Sketchbook Skool online class in April with 6 artist teachers, looking forward to what they have to teach me. And just so you know I taught myself to knit so I could make sweaters and blankets for my grand children. My favorite still is YOUR heart blanket I made my youngest and she and the whole family love it! I'm so proud of how it turned out thanks to your wonderful written instructions and design!! Thanks, and thanks for the chance to win this new book!
lynnc66@comcast.net
http://lynn-nonameblog.blogspot.com
http://lynnnonameblog.blogspot.com

Barbara Daiker, Ph.D. said...

She is an amazing author. I read Writing Down the Bones and have kept it in my bookcase for a long time. To get out of a slump I will take a class, usually in something out of the ordinary. In the past it included knitting with wire or crochet for knitters. Love your blog. Thanks for continuing to write and photograph for us. barbaradaiker@gmai.com

Wanda said...

Creative Slumps --- the way that I get out of them is to go to the hardware store....it starts me looking at things that I rarely take the time for....really looking at the nuts and bolts...the different tops, the different sizes, the different patterns.....It helps my brain to start looking at the little things and seeing the patterns or the shadows, or the shades of colors, etc. Even the different ways that hardware is packaged and the colors that they use are different....My brain starts to churn again in very creative ways! And of course a glass of wine can always help!!

Barb said...

My daughter who is a knitter and quilts, sent me to your blog a few years ago.I enjoy the diversity in what you write about.I've learned more about farming and sheep than I ever thought I would. I like to learn new ideas to stimulate different ways of thinking. I would love to win this book and share it with my daughter who is very creative.
Barb bbkt@aol.com

Wanda S. said...

My youngest child just left home and there is no one to talk to but the dog. I plan to learn classical guitar and calligraphy, maybe piano, and I'm sure there were some other things on that list. You've reminded me that I wanted Writing Down the Bones but never bought it. I'd love to have this new book as I begin this adventure of being alone for the first time ever.

Melia said...

I used to stitch and would like to get back to that. I would like to learn to spin. My 16 year old daughter thinks she isn't creative, even though she really wants to draw and paint. This would book would be great for her as well. Thanks for the givewaway!

melia1127@hotmail.com

Patti said...

Funny you should offer this book; I've signed up for a drawing class on creativebug! Something in me is wanting to draw, and am going to start practicing. Timely, will have to check out this book. Thank you once again for opening my world!

Sally Dean said...

I got so excited when I saw this post- of course I would love to win this book but if I don't I will definately buy it! I love her happy style of painting.
When I feel slumpy I put a challenge in front of me- I've done leslie saetas " 30 paintings in 30 days" online challenge twice- and this year I painted a dog a day- I am still painting a dog every morning in the quiet morning hours .
I love your blog so much and this inspires me too!

Cheryl said...

What a lovely book. I knit (used to own a yarn shop and sold your delicious yarn!), paint a little, and do some needlepoint. I want to learn to quilt, and I'm hoping to take an on-line class.

Loco Lindy said...

How timely! I'm a felter and photographer, but had been feeling rather burnt out after being in "production" mode for the holidays. The blahs of a tough winter had set in, so I decided I needed something new and have been painting for the first time in 30 years. The pics you show from that book are soul-feeding, I will definitely buy it if I don't win it! Thanks for your thoughts about how creativity weaves its way through one's life- I couldn't agree more.

mkg said...

Natalie Goldberg's books are always an inspiration but I've never seen this one. How exciting! To get out of a slump, of any kind really, not just knitting, I need to go look at something: images in knitting books, art books, on the web. I need to see things other than what's in front of me, on my needles, in my head.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- Thanks for posting this. Looks like a fantastic book and just what might inspire me out of this end of winter (and such a long one) blahs.

Karol Johns said...

I have to tell you I have enjoyed reading your blog. I mostly do cross stitch and canvas work with a crochet or knitting project thrown in the mix. When I get into a slump I usually just go shopping in my stash of projects and that really helps me out or work on a gift for someone. I would love to learn how to properly care for roses and grow them and get more into baking. Thanks for the opportunity to win what looks like a wonderful inspirational book.

Hilda said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! I would love to learn to paint, and since we live rather far from anything...I guess I'm going to have to just learn it myself. Sounds like this book would be a great asset!

Anna Conway said...

To get out of a creative slump, I take a class to learn how to do something new and then take those new skills and combine them with the old and voila, new ideas come about.

Anonymous said...

This books looks like just what I need to give me the push to start painting again. We recently re-purposed a room in our home which is now what I've named "The Inspiration Room". Although I haven't take out my paints in awhile I feel I'm right on the verge of creating again. I know one has to just jump in and start! I am currently a knitter and do some crocheting. Once the weather is nicer I like to go out side and do some painting out and about my neighborhood in Brooklyn NY. Thanks for your blog...I really enjoy it.
-Susan from Brooklyn
suejoshappy@msn.com

steph said...

i can usually get out of a knitting slump by just stash-diving....sometimes literally dumping out baskets of semi-forgotten lush loveliness. By the time I tidy up the mess I've made, I've usually found something I can't wait to CO.

jaschipf said...

My life is so full -work, aging parents, the farm/ranch, my children. But without creating I somehow shrivel inside. However my nature needs deadlines, goals or structure to get going. A book like this - with "assignments" would help me grow -- "bloom"
Revelry I'd:Ettenna

sandi said...

My favorite way to nudge myself out of a slump is a visit to an art museum, particularly if there is an exhibition devoted a painter known for their use of color.
And I'm itching to learn to weave. Realistically, I don't have space or funds for a loom in my home, but I'd love to explore that different way of working with yarn.

Maureen O'Doogan said...

How do I get out of a creative slump? With motion. I move to a different project, go for a walk, go out and see a new exhibit, do yoga, cook some ethnic dish that I've never made before. I know that my best ideas don't come when I'm in the studio. They come when I am in contact with real life, and if I am dulled down by having adapted to the daily routine, then I need to shake things up and check in on my mindfulness. 

Sometimes the motion is as simple as stepping away from what I'm doing. Forcing creativity leads to overthinking, which never yields satisfying results for me. 

What new thing would I like to learn? Rug hooking. Deanne Fitzpatrick is inspiring! It seems a lovely blend of structure-grid-and freedom of line and color. I intend to use my stash of knitting yarn and quilting fabric to start. And some skeins of recycled sari strips. Oo la la!

Thanks for all the work that goes into keeping us entertained with your blog. And for setting up this book contest!
All the best.
MaureenODoogan on Ravelry

Anonymous said...

i try to take a class to get my watercoloring back on track, for knitting i read blogs, or find a KAL/CAL on Ravelry.

and of course your blog......

Fracksmom on Ravelry

Denise said...

I have just asked my sister to teach me how to crochet. I have my supplies but we haven't had the first lesson yet.
flgirl1987 AT yahoo DOT com

tjf said...

I am inspired by your blog! I do many things - knit, crochet, quilt, sew, etc. and the hardest part of all of it is choosing colors so I love coming to your blog, looking at your books and patterns and pictures and that helps. I think Goldberg's book will be the same. I just signed up for a class on braiding rugs and I'm contemplating taking piano lessons again.

Tricia (tfankell6@gmail.com)

Deborah said...

I think the way I get out of a slump is to try something new, whether it be a new knitting technique or anything else. I have always loved learning new things. I believe that it keeps you young.
Ravelry id: Pickxy

JackieLemon said...

Ii love the look of this book. I am a long-time knitter & I would love to learn to spin. There is so much information to absorb, it intimidates me, a little. But I think it would be a good brain exercise.

DJ said...

As a knitter, crocheter, and quilter,
there are times when nothing comes to mind as a new project or skill.
When that happens, I get out my books and magazines and jump on pinterest and the blogs that I follow, until the creative juices begin to flow again. Sometimes even watching my friends videos of her romping lambs in the spring gives me the inspiration that I need. She has 8 more lambs expected and then the goats will start. nothing cuter than these little critters. I find it relaxes my conscious mind and lets my sub-conscious mind work on creative thoughts.
sewlady003 at YAhoO dOt coM

Chris said...

I get into my studio and do something: doodle, look at magazines or books, make a table runner. Usually I get an idea. I am taking a class in Abstraction at a local gallery now. That has been a great idea generator. I love Writing Down the Bones and know I would enjoy this book too. Thanks!

Barb Liggett said...

"What"? I said when I saw your blog this morning, "I didn't know Natalie Goldberg paints, too." I first met her in 1991 and have two of her writing books. I'm in a writing group and going to a conference in June but more creative in quilting, knitting and crocheting. I get enthused to begin a new project when I read and especially see pictures of project. I love her use of bright bold colors, Hope I win!

annie said...

Oh my...looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance to own it. When I hit a wall knitting or whatever, I have a tendency to want to keep on and power through. Wrong! I have learned to put it down, do something else, sleep on it, and come back later. Helps a lot for me. I owuld love to try my hand at watercolors. I've done some oil painting, but would really like to try this.

Love your every single blog post, Kristin.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When I am in a slump, I try to do routine things to feel like I am getting something done.

I would like to take a journaling or watercolor or drawing workshop to get me going with some artwork. I would like to teach myself fair isle knitting which I think I could figure out with the help of your books.

purlplessk on Ravelry

Suzanne said...

I would love to take a painting or drawing class. I would also like to figure out the rug hooking kit I bought at Rhinebeck many years ago.

December27 said...

I enjoyed perusing my library's copy of the original Living Color--I couldn't afford to purchase it. It will be a delight to see, and own, this new one.

I'm interested in trying my hand at jewelry making with micro-macramé.

Lucinda Howe said...

Oh, yes, I would like to have a copy of Natalie Goldberg's book. I have been inspired by her work for a long time. Thanks for the opportunity.

I sew, paint, garden, and cook. My garden has been neglected lately, but once I get it tamed, I want to learn pottery.

One of my blog posts is called 3 Ways to Jump Start Your Creativity. I breathe deeply, scratch for ideas, and move rhythmically. More details at http://lucindahowe.com/2012/01/3-steps-to-jump-start-your-creativity/

Thanks.
http://lucindahowe.com/contact/

Marianne said...

Well Kristin...ironically I registered for one of your edging workshops being offered this month in Newton MA. For inspiration re: projects be it for knitting or decorating my charming but high maintenance Cape, I swing by all the local libraries to take out fabulous books...then purchase the favorites.

Dana S. Whitney said...

I think trying something new IS the way to get out of a slump or past a hurdle. After going to the Fuller Craft Museum and looking at SOWA's First Friday listings, I'm hoping to teach myself something about basket weaving. (An alternative to knitting and crocheting that would make at least SOME dent in my stash!)
PainterWoman on Ravelry.

Jennifer Edwards said...

Oh how I would dearly love to win this book! I am an artist, illustrator, author, knitter, crocheter, and sometimes designer. I have your book COLOR sitting next to me here in my studio because one day, I want to sit down and really take the time to knit more intricate fair isle designs and learn to steek. I have done several simple designs and loved it. But I feel I need some extended time to really devote (and concentrate) to learning fair isle and steering. A class would be lovely is I had the time. I am drawn2knit on Ravelry and my blog is drawn2life.wordpress.com. Thank you for all the inspiration you give Kristen! I have listened to numerous Good Life Project videos (wow!) and have bought the books for both Mark Herald and Maud Lewis and I pour over them all the time! I know this book would be no exception!

Winsome said...

I have been thinking for a long time about taking a class in decorative painting. I was always afraid of taking chances with bright colors, but would love to try. I admire how you use color so skillfully! Thanks for this giveaway.

RAV ID: WinnythePu

adodds said...

The best way for me to get out of the occasional slump is to meet w good friends who are excited about knitting. I also love taking classes. Though I live in a fairly small town the online classes such as Craftsy are a great source for inspiration. I wish I could go to all the knitting conventions but none are close to me so Craftsy is a great alternative.
Skibum on Rav

Sandy C. said...

Wow, creative slumps. Everyone has them and how I deal with them is to have different fiber skills. If I am tired of knitting, I have a fiber stash to spin from. Same for spinning and/or knitting, I can work on a quilt. Yes I have a fabric stash too. And in warm weather those skills have to compete with being outside gardening. Yes I am retired and enjoy it to its fullest. So my advice is to have more than one fiber art skill and switch when those slumps come a calling.

Irene said...

To get out of a slump, I read blogs, like yours, or flip through craft books from my library. I'm working on meeting on a regular basis with others but this is proving a bit challenging.

Nadia Ellis said...

Learning something new is my way to get out of a creative slump ... and lots of nature walks. The next new thing I'd like to learn is how to use a silhouette cameo and to get all craftsy with it.

camby said...

I'd like to learn to draw with colored pencils

Debra Lee said...

I would love to take a pottery class!

antg said...

Kristin,

I have found the best way for me to climb out of a slump is to look at the things I have created over the years - really look and think about the process making of them. It never fails to astound me that - I made that blanket, quilt, doll, or painting and my astonishment turns into the desire to see what else I can create.

Thank you for the chance to win what looks like a stellar book.

Gail

Anonymous said...

When I am in a slump I visit a yarn or quilt shop, pull out a few books and spend some time on Pinterest, then I take a long walk. Usually I am mentally crafting before I am home!
Thanks-
johalley on RAV

knitting08816 said...

I have always wanted to try painting watercolors, but feel that my enormous stash of yarn needs to be dealt with first, This book would give me the push to give watercolor painting a chance. As for learning a new skill from classes - years ago, I took a baking class at the local vocational school. I learned breads, pastries and most of all, how to make DANISH pastries just like from a bakery. I impressed all my friends for a few years - then decided to stop baking for health reasons. It was fun, but fattening!

Unknown said...

I clean up my area to get out of a creative slump. If it's too messy, I get easily distracted. I also love scrolling through Ravelry and seeing what everyone is doing.

Unknown said...

Sorry, forgot to add my ravelry id. My comment was the one about cleaning up my area. My ravelry id is lerounds.

Laura from beautiful West Michigan.

Joy Larink said...

I just learned about you from the "Where Women Create" article. I want to take a painting class but am unsure of what kind. Do you have any advice for a starting point? Your work and color sense is very appealing to me.

Susie Delozier said...

I would love to win a copy of Natalie's new book. I read her writing books years ago and loved them. I dream of becoming a writer someday, and I don't think it's too late yet, even though I am well beyond mid life. It's never too late to learn. Just like in knitting.
Susie

jennifer.auroradesign said...

I stumbled upon something that saved my creative soul a few years ago. During a depressing downturn in the economy my work just stopped. No clients calling. No potential clients answering their phones or responding to my inquiries. Nothing. Nadda. Zip. My family relies on my income and I was scared. One day in the depths of panic I picked up my camera. It was new--a gift from my husband. I really didn't know how to use it. Right there I decided I would take a photo every day and post it to facebook and flickr. At first I worked my way through an instruction book and practiced techniques (ie. week one focus, week two depth of field). Within a few months I found my creative voice. Now a few years later my clients (who thankfully started calling again) are hiring me to not only design but do photography for them. I've got a side business selling photo items on etsy.com. My photo work has won awards and been recognized by the creative community. But, almost more importantly, I am growing and I'm excited about life.

Bev said...

I would say I never met a fiber art I didn't like, but that doesn't mean I never get "stuck" as an artist

there are two things that work for me to get out of a "block"

1. go into the studio and do something -- anything -- even if it is only rearranging the fabric in the bins or sweeping the floor -- being in the creative space helps

and

2. read a new, inspiring book

I'd love to win Natalie's latest book to help me through that future artist slump!

Meg Kesterson said...


I just read your blog about the book Living Color. I am a crocheter and knitter and would love to learn more about colors in my work. I will continue reading your blog. It sounds like I would learn so much from you.
Meg Kesterson mpatjens@yahoo.com

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I visit creative blogs to get me out of a creative slump--or I take a class or visit somewhere special - last fall I went on a tour of artists homes in Mt. View, AR to see their studios, talk with, see their amazing homes and I actually bought a couple of paintings! I do some primitive rug hooking, am teaching myself to crochet and after I master that, I want to learn to knit! The book sounds wonderful and inspiring!

Madison DuVeau said...

I would love to take my painting to the next level.

Lisa Morton said...

I love being inspired by your blog but have never posted before. I knit and do other crafty thinks but what I'm really thinking about is getting creative with my voice and music. I would love to take guitar lessons, re-learn the piano, joing a singing group. I think this endeavor would really deepen my other creative sides.

Taylor said...

When I hit a creative slump the first thing I do is get out of the office or studio. I think the destination is not so much the point - it's getting out and moving around that makes the difference for me. Second I back off from cranking out projects I've planned and sample/sketch/play with ideas that have been frittering away on the edges.

Sheila said...

I am just beginning to play around with dyeing yarn and would love to learn more about color theory.

SheilaOKeefe on Rav

Anonymous said...

~ hi Kristin,
Wow-ie !!!
Super inspiring, I loVe your *blog* always about color, patterns, texture & textiles.
I would like to read everything written by Natalie.
Most especially I wish to take a writing class at Squam, (or any artsy class at Squam)and also teach myself lazure painting, or the technique you painted your stairs with, colorwashing !! I've not seen it before & I love your new stairs !!
Best,
Shell ~
YarnSoup@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Slumps? I'm in the midst of a doozy. Lost a dear friend, and had a couple household disasters of the plumbing and employment variety, in a week's time, and I can't even bring myself to knit much. I'm waiting for the grief and trauma to pass, and I can feel the creative gears trying to turn... but they're not engaging yet. Right now, I just acknowledge what is, keep looking at books and magazine and nature and blogs for the beauty and trust that the wait will lead to more creativity and growth.

Aloha,

Lisa

Book looks fabulous
mauikono@aol.com

Brenda Harris said...

I love Natalie Goldberg's books. I would love to learn to draw and paint, and this books would definitely be an inspiration.
Brenda
bwarner63@gmail.com

Evelyn said...

I am always hoping to try a new form of creativity and I have known Natalie Goldberg's writing since the 1970s. I get out of a slump by reading what other people have done! If I don't win, looks like I will have to buy this! :-)

EvelynU on Ravelry