Creative High Places: Faith-Filled Encouragement for Creatives

For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall….He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my* high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.”~ PSALM 18:28-29, 33-36 NKJV *Emphasis added

Stepping out in faith is a privilege and an opportunity to see God’s Word made manifest in our lives. As children of the Most High God, our very acts of being creative, in whatever area we are prompted to create, are steps of faith.

The very places that we aim to step, the places that His Spirit is urging us to, are our ‘high places‘, given to us by His divine prompting (Vs 33). It is our right and privilege to take possession of them.

The glorious beauty of knowing that we have surrendered our hearts to Christ and are His beloved gives us the assurance that when we step in faith He will make our way straight before us and give us the strength to overcome any obstacles that may and likely will arise.

Psalms 18 assures us of several things:

  1. He will give us light for our way (Vs 28a, JOHN 8:12): He will show us where to step
  2. He will enlighten our darkness (Vs 28b, JAMES 1:5): He will give us wisdom as we step into new territory
  3. He will give us divine strength to overcome obstacles (Vs 29, 34, PHILIPPIANS 4:13)
  4. He will cultivate us and equip us to walk in new and high places that He blesses us to reach by His Grace and Faithfulness (Vs 33, PHILIPPIANS 1:6)
  5. He will guard us and make us great (Vs 35, PSALM 90:17)
  6. He will make our path such that we are unable to slip (Vs 36, ISAIAH 30:21)

See PSALM 18:28-36 

The Lord Yeshua-Jesus, Our God and Father, is a God of excitement and adventure, but every adventure will have its trials. There will be mountains. There will be valleys, but when we walk with Him there will be victory and such great reward.

Know that as you step into your vision that you can have faith for His protection, that not only does He equip you to leap over those mountains that may come to discourage you in your way but, in Christ, He has given you the divine authority to speak to those very mountains and command them to throw themselves out of your path and into the depths of the sea! (MARK 11:23).

We, as Creatives, are on divine assignment! Our Father’s desire is for us to flourish in our creativity and the vision that He has seeded in us.

So, step out in faith! No. Leap into it and know that He is with you every step of the way! He’s got you!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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Round 2 of Face Drawing

Last week I did a sketch of a woman’s face. And although I was pleased with overcoming the challenge of handling graphite, I was not satisfied with the end result as it compared to the image I was drawing from.

Today, rather than lean on my crutch of colored pencils, I pulled out my Creta color graphite pencils, opened that same photo, and spent nearly an hour working on the image…again.

 

What I ended up with today, to me, is a giant leap of improvement compared to the first attempt. The proportions are in line with the original image, which makes my soul happy.

I am gaining more confidence with drawing with graphite alone, which in my humble opinion, is a good foundation for drawing. I am eager to dive in and try some drawings and illustrations done with Copic markers, of houses as well as people. but all in time.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Call to Create: Taking the Steps to Walk in Your Vision

I had the pleasure last month of seeing a meme on social media that said something like, “My 2018 begins in February. January was just the free-trial month.” I, like you, I am sure, smiled at the sentiment.

No, we don’t really get to have free-trial periods for our civil new years, but we do get to take some time to plan out what we want to see in the months to come.

For many around me, January came with a punch that was comparable to galeforce winds. Many had continuous battles with sicknesses passed from family member to family member as if they were sharing trading cards. Some felt defeated by the reminder of failed goals that seemed to follow behind them like cans tied to their legs with strings. Many felt overwhelmed and disappointed that the ringing of the midnight bell did not wipe away the heavy demands that were still weighing on them from the year past.

Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

But one thing remained the same through the smoke, and that was the desire for change.

I believe that all of us are aching to create, to do something that makes our soul sing and shine like the sun with a glow and warmth all its own. I believe every person reading this, has a dream that is worth pursuing, no matter how big or small.

We are all created in the image of the Master Creator, Jesus (Genesis 1:27). Our need to see something born from our imaginations is embedded deep within our spiritual DNA and roles and kicks inside of us like a baby eager to break forth from their mother’s womb.

Many of us have dared, in the past, to take steps to bring life to our dreams, only to lose momentum along the way, direction, or focus. Life’s demands have acted as roadblocks diverting our creative flow into the drudgery of the mundane. We stop creating. We stop dreaming. We stop living our identities.

But the glory is, we can begin again.

My prayer for this 2018 year is for each and every one of us to dig our toes in the soil of purpose and let them take root. I pray that this year is the start of a not another 365-day calendar of empty plans and vague goals, but that it will be the catalyst to bring real creative and life change for you.

YOUR CREATIVE TOOLKIT 

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“Get yourself a journal!” I know. I know. It almost seems like a ‘fad’ similar to the unicorn trend that is overtaking just about every industry out there. But I promise this is a powerful tool.

Why do you need a journal? For several reasons:

  1. Keep track of your ideas: There is nothing like capturing a creative moment as it comes and there is nothing like paper… but an electronic journal like EVERNOTE works well too. The point is, our brains can only hold so much content without things becoming a tangled mess. If you want to see progress, you need to make sense of your creative chaos and a journal will help with that.
  2. Keep track of your progress and take note of changes that need to be made: Vision is indeed 20/20 in hindsight. Being able to look back on your progress and see what works for you and what doesn’t will help you build the creative momentum you need to keep pursuing your dream.
  3. Put into word and prayer how you are feeling as you go: I get it. This feels personal. Well, it is. Being a creative is personal. It is more than just writing a story or composing a song or even baking cookies that are so good they cause riots! What drives you to do these things is born of something personal to you. In order to wield that power to its fullest, you’ve got to get to know it. Pray on it. Meditate on it. Put it into words.

“Get yourself a planner!” 

Organization is paramount to successfully executing a goal.  No one goes on vacation without having a plan of action first. Even being creative requires that.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER AS YOU CREATE

Over the next few weeks, I want to dig deep and tackle some questions that I’ve faced in my creative journey. I invite you to consider them and dare I say, journal about them.

  • Can I be me? Can I be original and authentically me as a creative?
  • Can I do ‘it’ my way?
  • Can I make mistakes and still be confident as I create?
  • Can I learn as I go/Am I teachable?

No matter how your 2018 began, there is still so much, not only left to the year, but left to our lives. Every day, every step is an adventure waiting to happen. Let’s step out together!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Graphite Sketch of the Face

Today I decided, again, to continue my practice with the use of graphite on paper, Cretacolor Monolith, graphite pencil to be exact. That familiar but waining hesitation was felt the moment I decided to use graphite instead of something that I am more confident in manipulating such as ballpoint pen or colored pencil.

 

I recognize that my hesitation or fear is born out of a mental lie that I have somehow bought into, and I feel that confronting that lie is the sole reason why the Holy Spirit nudges me to start this journey with graphite…for now.

I spent around forty minutes working on this face. I can already see where I have some discrepancies with proportions, still, I am satisfied with dealing this ‘dragon’ one more deadly blow as I gain back my confidence with using graphite.

Face

It is very likely that I will revisit this image again in the future, but with the medium of colored pencil. Then, we shall do a compare and contrast, maybe even next Wednesday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Markers & Mansions: Illustrative Sketch

Several years ago I purchased the anniversary box set of Copic Markers…and then I didn’t bother to use them.

House comparisonIt wasn’t anything personal against the markers. I was simply in a place where I was painting and didn’t give any thought to using any other medium but I had enough sense to take advantage of my employee discount and purchase the Copics at a fraction of the cost.

 

I started this image a while ago but put it away and didn’t finish until today. I have decided this year that I will spend Wednesday afternoons listening to spiritual teachings while I sketch. I am ‘stretching’ my old artistic muscles and I have to say I am pleased with the results today.

House

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

ICFTS in 2018: What’s New?

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Hello fellow Creatives, and happy 2018!

As I stood on the precipice of 2017 fading into the past, while the glow of 2018 brightened into the future, one constant remained the same: the need for growth and the necessity of change.

For several months now, and dare I say for the last couple of years, I have been prayerfully considering what I can do to not only make ICFTS more relevant for you but also increasingly beneficial for me.

When I started this journey, the sole purpose was to afford myself the opportunity to tap into my creativity whilst sharing my progress with others. But over the years, although my creative mining ventures continue, how I present and would like to present content to you has evolved.

What was once “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Art, & Fiction in my soul,” has transformed into “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Arts, & Vision in the creative soul.”

WHAT’S NEW

My focus for this platform has grown from sole to mutual. Although many of the creative themes that I will continue to touch on will touch upon fiction and art, weekly motivations will be broadened to better reach the heart of any and all creatives striving to flourish in their creative dream.

The Menu options have also evolved with new categories that are more user-friendly.

  • Create: Here you will find writing prompts and exercises, writing tips, and soon, creative options for the visual arts. And, perhaps, artists, writers, and other creatives who I believe are gems worth knowing about.
  • Faith & Motivations: Faith in Christ and His Word is the foundation upon which ICFTS is built. I believe that since we are created in His image and Have His divine DNA, like Him, the Creator of all existence, we all have the ability to create. But to do so with confidence and purposeful direction, we must have faith. Here, we will focus on scripture and ways to better strengthen our spirit and souls as we strive to grow into the fruitful beings we are called to be.
    • Creative Motivations will continue to give encouragements as we step out in faith toward our creative visions.
  • My Journal: My journal will be the base for my writings, art, and other projects, as well as musings that I feel led to share with you.
  • I’m Candice: Is a quick way to get to know me…and icebreaker of sorts.
  • Shop-icftsENC: One of the exciting projects working on is the ICFTS shop, icfts ENC. Icfts ENC will have apparel, mugs, tote bags, and wall art with clever quotes, inspirations, and motivational reminders to help you along your creative journey. Stay tuned for its reopening this year.
  • Creative Enc.: Creative Enc. is short for ‘Creative Encouragement.’ This is the base for future creative courses that will be made available in the future.
  • Guestbook: If ICFTS has blessed and encouraged you in any way, share that with this community. Leave a message in the comments section for others to see and be encouraged. Or send me a personal message by filling out the contact form.

CONTENT SCHEDULE:

  • Monday’s Muse: Weekly or bi-weekly writing prompt
  • Monday Motivation: A Creative Motivation to get you going for the week ahead
  • Faith Friday: Words of Faith to meditate on over the weekend

In addition to these, I will drop postings in My Journal, so that you can see my creative process.

FOR THE FUTURE:

Along with creative courses, my goal is to be able to present other in-depth content in book form to help you on your way. There is also a creative planner/journal that is currently under wraps, so stay tuned!

Also, this site format will be changing in the future to further aid in easing the navigation process through content.

WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED:

Of course, you can always simply click the ‘follow’ button and get notifications emailed to you each time content is posted. But coming soon, the option to get a weekly update by subscribing to the ICFTS NEWSLETTER will be made available.

For those you subscribe to the newsletter, advanced notice on products as well as creative course will be sent to you ahead of everyone else. It’s like being a VIP.

I NOW HAVE INSTAGRAM:

If following the blog or subscribing to the newsletter isn’t your jam, no worries! You can always follow me on Instagram and click the links in the profile section to see new content.

My Instagram page will give you another peek into my creative world so be sure to link up!

Big things are ahead this year! I hope that we will be blessed to experience them together.

NEW POSTINGS WILL BEGIN MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018

As always remember to Dream bigger than you ever have before, Imagine beyond all limitations, Believe the impossible, Do the incredible, & CONQUER your goals!

In Him always,

~Candice

 

A William Adolphe Bouguereau Study of “The Bather”

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A 40 min sketch of William Adolph Bouguereau’s “The Bather”

The first month of 2018 is nearly done, but blessedly new habits are just beginning. As I sat and listened to a teaching from FreshLife Church, speaking on how the habits we make today create the life we will have tomorrow, I took the time to sketch.

It has been several months and maybe even a year since I have done a sketch. It has been at least five since I have done one in plain, old, graphite. Over the past few years, I have either focused on the colored pencil sketches or those done in vibrant and messy strokes of ballpoint pen.

WilliamBouguereau-TheBather-(1879)
WilliamBouguereau-TheBather-(1879) {PD-1923}

Today, I felt the Lord challenging me to sketch in pencil.

As bizarre as it sounds I felt a bit of trepidation and even found myself erasing and starting again as the work that I had done was sorry to say the least.

Why? I was working from a place of fear, that ugly fear of failure that still tries to make its home where it has been forevermore evicted.

It took several long minutes for me to finally loosen up enough to just…draw. But I am grateful that the Holy Spirit placed Himself at the exit of my creativity and refused to let me leave without facing this challenge head-on.

I wouldn’t call this my best work by any stretch but I give it high marks for effort.

I have a burning thirst to sling some oil paint. I am comfortable there. I can do so without much thought, but I need to gain my confidence back with the pencil.

Here is to a year of growth and conquering!

~Candice

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

“3rds”: Creative Writing Prompt #AmWriting #Story #CreativeWritingPrompt

There is nothing like a good writing prompt to help get your muse muscling along. I, for one, enjoy those with a time limit as well as quirky rules to follow.

This one is called “Thirds.”

TIME LIMIT: 20min (This is from the moment you put your pen to the pad or start typing…and yes, we are under an honor system here.)

DESCRIPTION: Music is a big part of our inspiration. We all listen to music. But how much does music shape the art that we go forth to create? Are we conscious of its effects on us, and if so (if you weren’t before) how can we take this knowledge and harness this inspiration to create something fresh and authentic and on purpose?

RULES:

  1. Choose the album that you are currently listening to or listening to the most, and select the 3rd track on the album.
  2. Play the track over 3 times.
  3. Get a hold of the lyrics, go to the 3rd stanza/verse and then select the 3rd line. (If your song does not have such stanza’s then just grab the 3rd line in the verse)
  4. Weave a story or poem of your own around this 3rd verse and see what you come up with within 20min.
  5. Remember to include the Track you are working from via Youtube to your post if possible. If not, just add the title of the song and the band etc.

BONUS ROUND:

*Instead of using music, use a book or poem that you are reading. Select the 3rd chapter and the 3rd line, and weave a story/poem around that line, making it your own.

**I will post my results NEXT WEEK**

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow #MondayMotivation #SiezetheDream #Creative

“The little seeds sown today become the fruit trees of our tomorrows.” ~Candice Coates

The Word of God says that whatever we sow that we shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). When it comes to our creativity, like our faith or life in general, we still reap what we sow.

If you sow seeds of laziness or even fear of failure and choose not to make the time to create today, tomorrow you will have nothing but the fruit of regret.

But if you take the time, get your hands dirty and press past your barriers and fears, sowing seeds of action, even when it seems fruitless, soon and very soon you will eat of the fruits of success.

I want to help you sow your creative seeds! I want to help you find your success.

Success isn’t solely found in book deals or high priced paintings, but in the knowledge that you accomplished a challenging goal. In your efforts, you grew. That is always worthy fruit.

Let’s grow together!

MISSION FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:

Over the next 12 Mondays, I would like you to journey with me in sowing seeds to capture your divine and creative vision for tomorrow.

We will:

  • ‘Turn the soil’ of our creative ground and prep it to be fruitful
  • Relay proper foundations to build creatively upon
  • Learn how to design our personal roadmaps to ‘creative success’
  • Find out what it means to Dream, Imagine, Believe, Do, and, CONQUER!

WILL YOU JOIN ME?:

Will you make a commitment to join me in this journey? If so, please

  • Follow ICFTS if you aren’t already
  • Invite others to join by spreading the word and sharing this post on social media
  • Make a commitment at the end of this journey to Sign my GUESTBOOK sharing how ICFTS has blessed you and helped you grow creatively

I look forward to sharing this creative table with you.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What steps have you taken to walk into your creative dreams thus far?
  • What were/are some things that were/are holding you back?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Let Go: How I Learned to Step into My Dreams #MotivationMonday #SiezetheDream #Creative

Perfection has a price, but I cannot afford to live that life. It always ends the same; a fight I never win. Oh control. It’s time, time to let you go.” -JJ Heller

A few years back, on my birthday, I woke up after having an incredible dream. The dream was prophetic for my personal future. It hit straight to the core of some inner struggles I had been having. It gave me a greater hope for the future that I am now living.

For several years I had felt like I had fallen into a dark well or a completely lifeless creative downward spiral. Sure, I had been making art, commissions, and though I was pleased with the outcome of each, I have to say they were indeed lifeless … to me.

I was so detached from these paintings that I didn’t even really bother archiving them for my own portfolio. That says something. It says a lot.  My writing was like swimming through mud.

I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

Spiritually, I felt like I had been traversing a craggy wasteland, always walking forward in the direction of the sun (Son), waiting for this storm of torrential rains and floods to come, but I was always waiting, always walking, and there was never a drop of rain in sight nor a cloud in the sky.

I began to grow used to the desert, both the spiritual and the creative. Oddly enough, my inner spirit man never really felt like it was in a drought, just thirsty, content, but never satisfied. No matter how much I fought to be satisfied.

As years past in my reality, circumstances not changing, my hope for a better future, for the flood rains in my creative life and spiritual life to come, became like an old plane ticket in my hand. It had no expiration date, but neither did it have a date of departure, and so I ceased looking for one.

I was a desert wanderer. This was my reality. But on my 31st birthday, waking up from that hope-reviving dream, remembering other dreams that partnered with it, I began to smell the scent of rain in the air again. A change was coming and it was right on the horizon. Messiah Yeshua Jesus even led me to a verse in the Scriptures to solidify this newly revived hope and expectation.

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing what is new, let it now spring forth. Do you not know it? I am even making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Now, for several years I had been having a connected series of dreams about living in a trash bag tent in the desert amongst many others who were fearful of a coming flood.  So when I read this verse, and the images of those old dreams of my desert lands being flooded out with enough water to fill the oceans,  I knew it was a Word of life for me from Him.

This, however, is where faith gets tricky. People of faith LOVE a word about CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH, but they never take into consideration what CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH really mean.

Simple analogy, think of how a child who has come to the end of his or her stay within the womb feels when they are are BREAKING THROUGH to their new place. It is not a comfortable transition.  The very fluid they had been thriving on for nine months is squeezed out of them as they pass through from one existence to the other.

Isaiah 43:19 is awesome, but there is a verse that comes before it. This verse was the training breakthrough verse from me.

Isaiah 43:18 Do not remember the former, nor consider that of old.”

STEP 1: Confront your past disappointments.

In order for me to move forward out of my desert, I had to forget the things that were behind. I had a lot of disappointments and false starts,  a lot of heartaches, a lot of wounds, and all of those things not only blocked my creativity but stifled me spiritually and emotionally.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows.

I was in agreement with ‘forgetting’ all of those things. I had buried them for a reason, but I had not healed from them. I was still carrying them with me, and the load was rotting lot gangrene and affecting every creative part of me.

I began to think I was a failure because I could not make myself forget these things that Messiah Yeshua-Jesus had let out of the bag. I cried. I didn’t understand until He gently and lovingly told me a simple truth.

In order to forget what is behind, you have to confront it, heal from it, so that it never has power over you again.

You know what it is like when a clogged pipe has been treated and all that grime comes out before the clear water flows? That is what had been taking place with me ever since. I began to allow my pains to be redeemed, and I am talking about those old pains, the-school-bully-that-scared-you-when-you-were-nine kind of pains.

STEP 2: Embrace your unique path and timing.

The pains of not feeling good enough and trying to achieve those superficial plateaus that society has put in place, but failing every time. And why was I failing? Because these things are not part of His design or rather they were not part of His design for my life back then. Striving for those things (marriage, children, nest, 9 to 5 job … not really on the 9 to 5) at the WRONG time was creative suicide.

Because of my wounds, the ones that were sneaking up on me even though I had pressed them down, I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

STEP 3: Divorce yourself from perfectionism.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows. I was trying to control all of these things because I could not control the pain that I refused to confront. But now I know better. I was blessed with the chance to journey far way from home, away from the noise and get a glimpse of the creative woman I once was and am in the process of becoming.

I leave you to take another listen to the song that makes my heart dance. It’s one of my new anthems. It comes from the “When I’m with You.” Album by JJ Heller. The song is called “Control.” I have let go of the control now. I have ceased to clip my own wings out of fear and the need to control something, anything, just to feel secure. I gave Yeshua Jesus permission to heal my hidden hurts and to draw out the creativity that had been backed up.

BONUS: LET GO OF THE NEED TO CONTROL!

I gave up control and I am getting to know me again and you don’t need control for that. It’s actually best to let it go.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What steps have you taken to walk into your creative dreams?
  • What were some things that were holding you back?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!