Carmen Torbus ~ A Passion for Creative Tools

{Page from The Artist Unique by the lovely Carmen Torbus}

I have been in this business for nearly sixteen years now, and am incredibly blessed to have met, worked with, and developed friendships with some astoundingly creative and inspiring people. My forthcoming book ~ Desire to Inspire:  Using Creative Passion to Transform the World ~ is, in many ways, a celebration of this circle. I've brought together twenty astounding contributors, all of whom have shared their stories in what I hope will be a catalyst for more transformative creative endeavors.

One of the contributors is Carmen Torbus, who just released her first book. The Artist Unique:  Discovering Your Creative Signature Through Inspiration and Techniques is a book of tools, tricks, stories, and techniques to help both budding and seasoned artists develop his or her own unique artistic style. I am a proud contributor to the book as well as one of its students, as I recently followed the instructions for a technique developed by Bridgette Guerzon Mills. I'll be sharing my afternoon working with encaustic wax transfers in a future entry, but for now I simply wanted to let the world know that I think Carmen Torbus is the bee's knees. And I'm not the only one who thinks so ~ Mary Anne Radmacher has started her own series of posts about Carmen and The Artist Unique (in fact it was Mary Anne who inspired me to work on a technique from Carmen's book and post about it) and you can read her first entry right here.

Join me in a celebration of the creative powerhouse that is Carmen Torbus, a cheerleader in every sense of the word.

Part Two ~ Posted July 2011

Mary Anne Radmacher and I continue to play our We Love Carmen Torbus volleyball game, and we're having loads of fun. Read Mary Anne's latest homage to all things Carmen right here, and let yourself be inspired by my recent interview with the star of the show, Carmen Torbus ~

What was the inspiration for The Artist Unique?

I taught a workshop a few years ago called, Spill It.  It was all about encouraging the idea of putting more of who you are into your artwork.  The things that make you who you are and the things that light you up - your thoughts, paint, emotions, poetry, writing, photography, intuition - these things make you unique and incorporating them into your artwork with make your artwork unique.  I loved the visual of having each person take all of those things, putting them on their palette and spill it all onto canvas.  It’s you, on canvas.

While I was developing the workshop, I kept feeling like something was missing or this was meant to be something bigger.  Writing a book was something I always wanted to do - in a bigger dream that I had really considered taking seriously kind of way.  I decided to go ahead and entertain the idea and started brainstorming a book proposal and my Spill It workshop became the initial proposal for The Artist Unique:  Inspiration and Techniques to Discover Your Creative Signature.

What advice would you give to a budding creative artist?

Follow your instincts.  Learn the techniques you’re drawn to.  Choose colors that speak to you.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Ask lots of questions and reach out to those that inspire you. And more than anything, create intuitively and go where your art pulls you.  There is no wrong way to create.

If you could curate a themed group art show, what would the theme be and why?

It would be Inspired Mess.  I love messy art.  It draws me in.  My favorite messy art has elements of inspiration - meaningful text, images, quotes, loose interpretations.  This is why I love mixed media... I’m so inspired by the lack of rules when it comes to mixed media art.

I often refer to myself as a bliss follower, mess maker and lover of the words, “I’m so inspired right now.”  The idea of an Inspired Mess themed group art show completely blisses me out...  let’s do it! Who’s in?

What does the statement "I am an ARTIST" mean to you?

I am an artist.  I AM and artist.  I am an ARTIST.  I am an artist.  What does that mean?  Although I paint and sketch and doodle and draw, that doesn’t make me an artist.  The artwork I create doesn’t make me an artist either.  What makes me an artist is my pompoms, my megaphone and my spotlight... I am an inspiration artist. (Wow did I just say that out loud? I’ve never staked that claim before. Ok, I’m about to just start writing what ever comes to mind and let this just flow for a few...)  I paint inspiration and encouragement into people’s lives.  When needed, I sprinkle bits of color, I drop powerful words of hope and possibility, and I string paper lanterns of positivity through their lives. I am a cheerleader, creator of messy artwork and encourager.  My art takes the form of inspiration, positivity and encouragement - whether is written, spoken, painted, pasted, plastered, photographed or shared.

What does the statement I am an artist mean to me?  It means I believe in me and my work.  (And that rocks my socks off and scares the daylights out of me at the same time.)

How have failures and disappointments served your creative journey?

Every failure, set back and disappointment has been an opportunity for growth.  I believe that without difficult times, I wouldn’t be equipped to enjoy the high points.  I learn more about myself every time I hit a roadblock.  Sometimes reflecting on those times helps me see the lessons and how I’ve gotten to where I am today.  ope and encouragement, and sharing what I learn along the way.

Thank you Carmen!!

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide