mycreativelifeinterviewsOn this creative path I’ve met and become friends with many wonderful, interesting people across the world. It’s high time I introduced you to some of them.

‘My Creative Life’ is an interview series where we get an insider view of artists and their lives from different disciplines and on different stages of their own journeys. My intention is to ask questions that are perhaps a bit different from the usual – the answers to which might spark ideas or simply reassure you as you follow your own artist path.



Today I’m so happy to introduce you to Michelle GD. I forget how we met now; feels like we’ve just known each other for ages. I love Michelle’s attitude and aesthetic – very clean and minimalist in some ways but also very warm, real and relatable. As a wife and homeschooling mother, Michelle knows all about fitting creativity around a busy home life; in fact she’s made it into its own art form. She takes beautiful photos and writes on her blog around the theme of noticing and savouring moments, as well as running classes guiding others to find the pockets of time during the day to devote to small and nourishing creative acts.

Meet Michelle…

{All emphasis is mine. And don’t forget you can highlight any part of the text to share it.}


Tell us a little bit about your creative work in the world {whether it’s your business or your pleasure, or both!}.

My creative tools are camera and pen. Through lens and through words, I explore the dailyness of life. The light falling upon an overflowing laundry basket, the wisp of hair upon my child’s neck, the pile of books and papers upon my beloved desk. In paying close attention to the details of my life, I feel a slowing down and I engage more fully. My creative work is a living meditation and weaves itself through each and every day. Online, I run courses in which we explore photography and writing as tools for living mindfully. It’s a wonderful experience to share my passion with others.

What is your favourite thing about being an actively creative person?

I think my favorite part of being actively creative is that my creativity helps me live with a greater awareness of – and appreciation for – the life at my feet. It’s very easy to get caught up in who is doing what and where; social media is wonderful for connecting people (here we are together!) but moderation is necessary if one wishes to remain true to self. I sometimes get caught up in what is “out there”. Always, always creativity brings me back center. It’s a true gift in that regard.

Is there anything you wish were different? Have you learned a way to accommodate that?

I ask a lot of questions and sometimes get caught up in overanalyzing things; I get stuck in indecision in lieu of decision-making and movement. I’d like to get more comfortable leaning into the feeling of things, the trusting, the not worrying quite so much. Ultimately, I know that my questions are a big piece of who I am and that the questions fuel my creativity. If I’ve learned any accommodation it’s the allowance for some questions to remain unanswered; I’m (still) learning that it’s okay to rest with uncertainty.

How else does your creativity express itself in your life? {Especially if you’re having a dry spell in your ‘main’ area.}

Oh, I generally love to make…be it roasted squash or buntings or photographs. I love to bake; I’m learning to knit; I love to draw and paint (though I don’t do much of these currently); I want to learn to sew better. There’s so much!!


Do you have any favourite resources, books or blogs around creativity you’d recommend for inspiration or support?

Here are a few…

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (a classic)
  • anything by Natalie Goldberg
  • I love Danny Gregory too
  • Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro
  • The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe L. Gross and S.I. Shapiro
  • Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

What one easy and simple creative activity would you suggest to someone who feels like there’s no time for creativity in their life?

The activity I’m going to suggest is a wonderful way to play as well as slow down. It begins with writing a list, but could go any number of ways depending on artistic leanings.

I like to take pen and paper and – without overthinking – list whatever my right now looks like. What am I eating, and how does it taste? What am I wearing? Are there sounds (or silence) to note? What do I see? How am I feeling? Whatever comes to mind is fair game. Write single words, write phrases, write paragraphs. Just write.

Now you can leave it with the list…or you might additionally take a photograph to represent something of your right now…or you might sketch or doodle or paint. You also might forgo the list completely and jump right into the medium of your choice…pencil, watercolor, collage. Whatever you’re seeing or feeling – whatever you’re experiencing – mark that moment visually.

This is a creative practice to which I return again and again. It can take five seconds or five minutes or… I (you) decide.


What’s your creative process like? Are you an all-in-one-intense-hit-then-collapse type or more of a slow and steady sort? Or something else?

I’m definitely a slow and steady sort. Right now, I homeschool my kids (ages 10 and 14) so any creative work I do fits into pockets scattered throughout the day; my life circumstances necessitate that I work in a slow and steady manner. There are times this frustrates me and I find myself longing for stretches of hours to work/play, but I wonder if perhaps there is a lesson in all of this for me…

What does being actively creative bring to your life that you might not have expected? 

What’s been unexpected, and very much welcome, has been the parallel between creativity and mindfulness. With camera and pen, I have developed a practice of noticing the details. From this stems a sense of gratitude, but, beyond the gratitude, there is an overall appreciation for all of it…the good as well as the less good. With my creative practice, I develop presence. And I rather like that.

What best supports your creativity to thrive?

I think I need a lot of silence and stillness. Curiously enough, there’s not a lot of silence in my present life! I do find silence in pockets, however, and I soak in every bit. Amidst the noise (literal and figurative) it’s my actual creative practice that brings me the stillness I need to thrive. My creativity rests, perhaps, in the challenge to find stillness within the noise. Everything is very much connected for me.


Have you ever lost touch with your creative self for a long period, and if so how did you bring it back?

There was a time in my life where I thought being creative meant producing artwork, producing physical pieces. When my kids came along and all I could focus on was them, I thought my creativity (my artwork, my pieces) was just done.

Slowly, however, I realized that parenting is a hugely creative endeavor. The early years of motherhood offered me the chance to reflect on my personality (which is very much one that desires a going-in and one that shies from too-muchness). I eventually came to peace with allowing my creative work at that time to be nurturing and tending my young children.

As they were growing, it was then that I turned to photography (in which I had merely dabbled since college). For years, it was just about taking photographs of my children with a point-and-shoot; my SLR sat on the shelf. When my husband’s job took us to Hawaii for a time, it was then that I invested in a DSLR. And, somewhere amidst the shots of palm trees and ice cream-covered faces, I realized my artistic urges were swelling again. Parenting was still challenging and somewhat overwhelming (as it remains today) but I was finding space to begin directing my energies elsewhere. My renewed creative practice evolved rather organically.

It was hugely important for me to embrace certain aspects of myself (i.e., I can only focus on a few things at a time). As I was completely overwhelmed with mothering in the early days/years, it was crucial for me to allow myself the space and time I needed to tend that part of my life, to tend my children. Once they, and I, got a little older, my energies shifted a bit. There were new spaces in my day, new spaces in my mind, new spaces in my heart. While I did not consciously trust the process, I look back now and see that there were huge amounts of trust within me. I sometimes felt disappointed in myself (because I was not producing visual work) (I couldn’t even muster the energy to journal), but I now see the strength in knowing what I needed then and there.

So how did I bring it back? I think it never really left me…it just surfaced in different ways, and I needed to embrace those (different) ways. I had to continue showing up, even when I didn’t understand the faces my creativity was taking. The showing up….that’s a huge part of art. Of life.



Michelle GD is an artist living in Virginia, USA. Using writing and photography as forms of meditation, she explores the connections between the beautiful and messy bits of life. You can find her here:


Makings Of Motherhood


Michelle is currently running her online class, 28 Moments (Feb. 1-28). You can read details and register by clicking HERE. {Note from Tara: The class starts today so if you feel it calling you, take that as a sign and jump in!}

If you have any questions or comments for Michelle, or have had any ahas reading her words, please do share in the comments!