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Topics and practices to explore creativity as a life enriching force. Artist and educator Amy Markham explores development in creative thinking meant to encourage personal growth and progress in all artistic endeavors. Join in as she discusses how an artistic practice can deepen and enrich our personal life experience. These discussions & exercise will engage your creative spirit and direct you towards finding your authentic expressive voice.

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In college, a professor of mine told me that if I was to teach my students anything, it had to be symbols. At the time I was like “of course”, but it wasn’t until later when I found the meaning and my own personal relationship with symbols that I truly understood why. “Symbolism is the obvious next key to unlocking our creative self.”In this week’s episode, I discuss the power of symbols and how it takes a long time to really understand it’s complexity, especially on a personal level. I share some advice derived from my own passion for symbolism and take a look at the different forms symbolism takes in our lives. Through research into symbols, artists can bring a deepened meaning to their work, allowing them to produce pieces that are more intimate, unique and intimate to their audience. However, symbolism transcends art and becomes a part of our identity and our understanding of the world around us - when we let it. “It is hard to express how significant symbolism is - it just has to be experienced”“Everything we create is a symbolic understanding of the world around us and we take those questions that we have and we try to answer them through symbolic understanding”Research Resources:Every week I make mini courses to help you go deeper with the content discussed on the show. Follow the link below for curated content. Starling: SymbolismKey Points:To be able to see the world in a symbolic way is essential in enhancing your personal development.Symbolic understanding is second nature before we can even read or write. Everything from lucky socks, black cats, religious traditions and a lucky rabbit’s foot are connected to symbolism. Being able to find and utilize symbolic essence can translate things much more quickly and with more meaning to your audience. Right now is the most visually rich period in our history - memes, GIFS, emojis, endless Instagram pictures. Symbolism is used both consciously and subconsciously - in your dream life and your awake life. We are all symbols of something to the people around us. What do you symbolize?This Week’s Suggested Practices:Identify systems of symbolism you are already well versed in Review your past artwork and identify symbols and symbolic themes. (Did you add them purposefully or did they arise on their own?)Document your own symbolic understandings. (Always develop your own understanding before starting research into the universal meanings.)Perhaps create a symbolic journal that documents your meanings and notice how this meaning develops and evolves over timeDecide what you symbolize. What are you a symbol of and how does this connect to your personal identity?Create work around this theme. See what symbolism offers you as you create.


23 Jul 2019

Rank #1

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Building The Foundation

In this episode I cover what I call the 4Ms that help build foundation for your creative practice. Understanding these foundational pillars will set the stage for creating your best work. 


25 Jun 2019

Rank #2

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The Artistic Realms

Join me on an expedition through The Artistic Realms as we discover the ways towards personal expression. I will take a few moments to point out important landmarks along the way and share a few methods for further adventure and discovery. To download an actual copy of the map and get the mixtape made to accompany this journey follow this link:The Artistic Realms


9 Jul 2019

Rank #3

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Creativity Can Help

How can creativity help us recreate the stories we tell ourselves? In this first ever interview episode of Starling, writer, brand catalyst and firebrand Michelle Mercurio discusses using creative practice to help heal grief. In workshops, Michelle helps grieving families create stories that connect and soothe suffering. Listen in to hear her approach and a little about her personal process. Follow this link to the show notes to learn more about Michelle, the topics discussed and to find this week's playlist that we co created with songs that we both connect to recovering after loss. 


17 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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Residual Imagery

Let's consider the haunting power of art. How does it allow the dead to speak to the living and what will our art say long after we are gone? Indulge in a few art related ghost stories this week as we look at the spirits that dwell within out own creative practice.To learn more about the artists and topics discussed in this week's episode (including links to other art related ghost stories, my own spooky stories and this weeks playlist)  follow this link to the show notes.


8 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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The Fear

The theme of fear is one artists have a longstanding relationship with. In this episode we look fear in the eye in order to build an understanding of it, so that it can support our creative practice, not damage it. If you want to check out the playlist I made to accompany the idea of fear click here: Fear PlaylistAs I finished this episode I got another small cancer diagnosis...If you are interested in my fear this week and my personal relationship with fear through cancer you can check out my blog around that here: Starling Blog: Fear


2 Jul 2019

Rank #6

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That's What Friends Are For

How do our friends support our creative practice? In this episode we look at a few artist friendships and think about the way we connect to the friends in our life. Did you know Duchamp and Dali were good friends? Let's consider how using the buddy system may help our artistic output as well as enrich our lives. Follow this link to all the curated content for the episode: Click Here 


22 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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The Borderlands: Chaos & Control

Chaos, Control...Chaos, Control...You Like? You Like? Have you considered how you walk the edge between chaos and order in your artistic practice? In this episode we explore the borderlands, the area that the artist works from when creating art that moves culture forward. Like an explorer, an artist must be willing to move with the unknown in order to create something new. We will talk a bit about the movie Six Degrees of Separation, Kandinsky and Romare Bearden as we discuss the bond an artist must make with chaos and order. I have a ton of content around this episode, that you can find here: Chaos...Control ContentThere you will find information on all the topics I cover in this episode as well as the weekly playlist. 


19 Nov 2019

Rank #8

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How Challenging

How can we create a structure to make sure we are challenging ourselves? Are you looking for ways to push yourself forward in your creative development? In this episode I discuss a personal creative failure and how that reminded me about the importance of self evaluation. We will also look at several different creative challenges and decide which developmental structures could actually help us get out of our comfort zones and move towards our goals. To learn about any of the topics I discuss in this episode, check out this link. There you will find all the resources I discussed as well as this week's playlist and how to connect and share your challenge. 


29 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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Art & Identity

How is what we create connected to who we are? In this episode we look at the role of identity in our artwork and in our existence in general. Follow this link for all the content I discuss in this episode such as personality tests, artist information and of course this week's playlist. 


27 Aug 2019

Rank #10

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In The Mundane

How does the mundane world provide inspiration and opportunity for artists? This week we discuss what creativity is and discuss practices for finding moments for artistic ideas to flourish, even when we are embedded in our daily lives. There are chances to spark creativity and take notice of simple beauty in even the most boring of situations. You can read more about all that I cover in this episode at this link. There you will find information on Duchamp's "readymades", a recap of the practices I recommend, a link to the playlist and a few other odds and ends that relate to this topic. 


13 Aug 2019

Rank #11

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The Thread

Are you pulling or following threads? Have you tied knots that anchor you or knots that keep you tied up and tangled. In this episode we discuss idea threads and understand it mythologically. Finding your way to the center of the labyrinth is a personal journey and our art practice can be part of the threads that guide us through the process. Follow this link to resources mentioned in the episode including artists who worked with the Ariadne Myth, the week's playlist as well as other content to support your search for threads.


6 Aug 2019

Rank #12

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In The Dark

As we enter the season of the darkening of the light...fall,  we look at how shadows shape our reality and our artwork. Discover a bit about how darkness enhances form and how shadows give depth to everything they touch. Learn about how the shadow has evolved through art history and evaluate your own relationship to...the dark. Contemplate what you may be projecting into the darkness and whether it can help your creative practice. Follow this link to the show notes for more about all the topics covered, the playlist for our time in the dark, a link to join our online community and links to Starling swag now available. 


1 Oct 2019

Rank #13

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Check Yes If You Are An Artist

Can you claim the title of artist? How does your personal expression get seen in the world? In this episode we talk with Yoga Therapist Elizabeth Griggs about her creative practice. As a kinesthetic creator, she has had to struggle with the boundaries of where there is a product and if it can be considered art. We discuss how our childhood home life sets up our artistic understanding, discuss receptive and expressive traits, question who we make art for and get off on a tangent about Billy Joel. If you are curious about whether what you do is art, this episode has a lot for you to consider. To learn where to find Beth, hear the playlist we made together and find information on all the topics we discussed follow this link. There I will also put a review of the practices we discussed.


5 Nov 2019

Rank #14

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Transitions, Habits & Changes

Change is constant, so why not put it to use? This week we look at the way we make transitions in our creative practice, notice habits we might have and consider changes we could make to invite fresh creative energy into our lives. Change can inspire new ideas, so what are you willing to change to get ideas flowing? Follow this link to find a recap of the practices, this week's playlist and other tidbits about change as an inspirational tool.


21 Aug 2019

Rank #15

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Inner Organizing Principles

How do we organize our thoughts and inner world to bring order to our creative process? In this episode we look at how exploring philosophical and psychological concepts can give structure to guide our artistic development. Follow this link for the show notes that include curated content around the topics discussed and as always a weekly playlist to accompany the ideas: https://www.smore.com/h4k8p


10 Sep 2019

Rank #16

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The Fundamental Question

What are you answering with your creative practice. Art can answer questions and push us to ask more powerful questions. In this episode we discuss how questioning can guide us to use artistic development to find personal and meaningful answers. You will find the content mentioned in this episode, including the workbook to help get you started here: The Fundamental Question


16 Jul 2019

Rank #17

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Time Is On Our Side

Artists develop over time and our relationship with that evolution takes patience and trust. This week we take a look at how time can develop or damage our evolution. Time as a construct, concept and idea is very interesting to me and you can find some links that I find inspirational about time on my Blog Page. You will also find the weekly playlist and a recap of the practices I recommend in that link or on my website, Starling Creative Living.


30 Jul 2019

Rank #18

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In this episode we contemplate the influence and idea of home, and its impact on our creative development. We also discuss my favorite artist, Marc Chagall. For curated content around this episode and more information about Starling follow THIS LINK. There you will find information about Chagall, images of places I have called home and a link to the Spotify playlist around the them of home. 


5 May 2020

Rank #19

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Hope For The Humanities

Since my last episode, the world has changed. As we face this crisis, we consider whether entertainment, meaning or experience will help us through this...and how the experience we are all living through may be an invitation to return to Romanticism. In this episode we discuss the artist William Blake and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and how their ideas might be relevant how we move forward from this quarantine experience. Discover all the curated content around the themes discussed in this episode at THIS LINK There you will find information about William Blake, Nietzsche, suggested practices and the playlist that accompanies this episode. 


31 Mar 2020

Rank #20