Meraki-lous Woman Series
Mary Pressel Cline

This post is the first in the Meraki-lous Women Series that we will feature here once a month(ish). Our goal is to seek out meraki-lous women who live brave, creative lives. We will find out what inspires these women to be creative and we will take a peek into their sacred, creative spaces.

What is Meraki?

meraki (N.) The soul, creativity or love that is put into something that you do or make; the essence of yourself that you leave in your work.. Origin Greek

I would like to introduce you to this month's featured Meraki-lous Woman, Mary Pressel Cline. Mary is an artist whose lovely spirit comes through in her whimsical, lighthearted pieces.

I have had the privilege of knowing Mary for a few years now but I have never met her in person. We both participated in Brene Brown's online art journaling class and then we went on to facilitate an Artist's Way group together. Since then, I have had the pleasure of witnessing her positive online presence every morning as she posts an inspirational, thought-provoking quote along with her art. It is a wonderful way to wake up! 

It is only fitting that Mary should be our first Meraki-lous Woman because Meraki was actually her word of the year for 2015. Last year, it was this word that she focused on and strove to personify and I would say that she did a great job!

"I think creativity and play should be encouraged; we seem to be in a scarcity, fear rut. Less judgement, more acceptance, more play, more creativity, more love."

OCEAN GIRL    What does creativity mean to you?
MPC    Creativity is making something that wasn’t there before. Therefore, a salad can be creative, a new gate for the back yard, a magnificent flower garden, a terrific painting, a bowl, a poem, a speech, a made up word, a friendship. So many things are creative.

OCEAN GIRL    Have you always been creative? 
MPC    Yes, I have always felt creative. I used to set aside the black crayons in kindergarten because they made the best outlines and shading.

OCEAN GIRL    Did you grow up in a creative family? 
MPC    My father was an engineer. My mother was a great story teller and full of Irish charm. She would take water color classes once a week and I was always so excited when she would bring home a completed painting. She wasn’t entering them in shows but she enjoyed making them.

OCEAN GIRL    Was creativity encouraged?

MPC    Yes, my creativity was encouraged. When I was a teenager (such a lovely time in my life), my parents let me decorate my bedroom with a large Sunshine painted on the ceiling, with the sun rays coming down the walls. When the mood struck me I painted murals on the walls

OCEAN GIRL    Where do you get your inspiration?

MPC    Absolutely, everywhere... a conversation, a walk in nature, online classes, words from a song, an event, or a museum. Google, Pinterest and Instagram - I have to set a timer because you can lose an afternoon venturing into those spaces.

OCEAN GIRL    Do you sell your work? If so, where?
MPC    Yes, I do and I am very grateful. I have sold some from my website and I have sold some from my Facebook page.  A lot of times people will send me a message and I will create something magical just for them.

OCEAN GIRL    Do you have a specific place where you create? If so, tell us about it.
MPC    Yes, oh yes! I have a three season room on the back of my house. It has a fireplace and a small heater in it so I can stretch it into four seasons. I call my creative space the “Happy Bubble”. It has windows all around so the light is great.  I had this extra room in my house that we were using for a porch but not using it much. Then one day my older brother left a rock in this room that said the word, “Create”. Then my daughter left a rock that said, “Laugh”. Slowly it transformed. The old carpet was removed (not sensible with acrylics) and a tile floor was installed as a gift from my adult children for Mother’s Day. The drawing table made its way in... as well as a rocking chair that my mother had, along with books, chairs, twinkle lights and painting supplies. Really, what more could you ask for?

OCEAN GIRL    What is your medium of choice? 
MPC    I recently fell in love with watercolors. However, I love to collage, a dash of pencil, a little dribble of acrylic paint. Mixing up my mediums is so much fun. I really want to try pastels. I love trying new things.

OCEAN GIRL    Are you creative in other ways as well? 
MPC    I love to decorate my house according to the seasons. We are going into Spring - my favorite - so the rabbits, pastel twinkle lights, and the flowers are all coming out. I love to host dinner parties with my husband, he is a much better cook than I am but it is fun to gather friends in and eat and play games. I also like to make simple pieces of jewelry.
OCEAN GIRL   Do you have a creative community - online, IRL or both - or do you mostly create by yourself?
MPC    I mostly create by myself in the Happy Bubble, however I do share stuff with a few groups, online. I also belong to the Farmington Artist Foundation in real life.
OCEAN GIRL    Do you think that creativity is a spiritual thing?
MPC    Oh, my! Absolutely. Yes. When I sit to paint or draw, it is like a prayer to me. Time flies by and I am not tired. It is amazing. I wish I didn’t get hungry either; then it could be a great diet.

"I love to decorate my house according to the seasons. We are going in to Spring - my favorite - so the rabbits, pastel twinkle lights, and the flowers are all coming out."

OCEAN GIRL    Where would you be without creativity?
MPC    Creativity is what keeps me grounded and also delights me and challenges me. I cannot imagine my life without it. I used to resist it at times but I never will again. It makes my soul happy and I like to make and do things that make my soul happy.

OCEAN GIRL    Do you think that everybody is creative?
MPC    Yes, I really do, whether it is music, dancing, drawing, painting, poetry or writing. I believe we all have hidden treasures and a lifetime to figure them out and share them.

OCEAN GIRL    Do you or did you have a creative mentor? If so, tell us about this person.

MPC    I have many people that are wonderful influences. Julie Saltzburg encouraged me to keep going and has always been there for me. My older sister, Ann, was bravely exhibiting her art and I thought, "I want to do that too". Wyanne Thompson knocks my socks off with her creativity. She is a bad ass. And, I love Stacha Prazak Conboy’s watercolor art. Meghan Cleary and Genevieve Cline inspire and gently push me, as needed.

OCEAN GIRL    How do you calm the inner critic?
MPC    My inner critics are mean, ooh eee!  The “Who Do You Think You Are” critic? and the “Isn’t This a Waste of Time” critic? I call them my Monsters. I have little rubber monsters that I got out of a vending machine that sit on my art table.  I have learned that when the critics show up, I listen and thank them for showing up. I tell them, “I am safe. Thank you for the warning,” and continue on.

OCEAN GIRL    How do you think social media has affected creativity? 
MPC    I think social media is both great and awful. The great aspect is that it allows for connection to people all over the world. You can share classes and ideas and become friends. The downside is that if you compare your art work to others or if you compare where you are to people that have been creating all of their lives... enter those Critical Monsters again.

OCEAN GIRL    Julia Cameron from the Artist’s Way says that as creatives, we need to fill our creative well in order to draw from it, how do you do this?
MPC    I try to go on Artist Dates with myself. They can be as simple as watching a great movie, going out for a walk, researching a poet, walking in a cute town and visiting shops, going to the dollar store or sitting on a bench in a mall and people watching.

OCEAN GIRL    Are there certain circumstances that need to be in place before you create or can you just create any time?
MPC    I prefer a clean work space. I get so excited creating sometimes that I get a lot of things out and make it messy. When I start anew I like to put things back and start over.

OCEAN GIRL    Do you have any advice for someone who doesn't think they are creative but wants to be?
MPC    Get curious, try things and keep trying. Everyone has to start at the beginning.  Allow yourself time to play. I also gave myself permission to make crappy art.

OCEAN GIRL  Is there anything else about creativity that you would like to add?

MPC    I think we need more creativity in the world.  I think we need to develop our imagination as it is critical for inventions.  I think creativity and play should be encouraged; we seem to be in a scarcity, fear rut. Less judgement, more acceptance, more play, more creativity, more love. OK, stepping off my soapbox.

I would like to thank Mary Pressel Cline for her time and for her wonderful insights. You can find her sprinkling her sunshine and stardust at the following places online:

Quintessential Questions

Five Random Things About You.

  1. I love color, but wear a lot of black (working on that).
  2. I break out in spontaneous dance when I like the music.
  3. I love adventures and travel, however, I am terrible with directions.
  4. I write and draw 3 pages in a journal every morning.
  5. If I get stuck on an art project, I will dance, sing or drum until I feel I can make something.

Five women… or men… that you would invite to a dinner party and why?

 Is it okay if they are all dead? Yikes!

  1. George Harrison because he was amazing.
  2. Jesus Christ. I have a few questions and I think he could clear up that " love they neighbor thing" and clarify even further that this applies even if they are poor and from another country... we may run out of wine.
  3. Rumi. Everyone needs a poet.
  4. Vincent van Gogh. I want to learn about staying focused.
  5. Ann Frank. She was so enlightened at such a young age.

Five things that you would like to try someday.

  1. Meeting each Pillar Sister in person
  2. Playing a musical instrument
  3. Pastels
  4. Starting a community project (it hasn’t come to me yet)
  5. Bike riding along the Great Lakes
  6. BONUS ANSWER! Wine in California, Limoncello in Italy, Pilsner Urquell in Prague, wine in France and Molson Canadian in Mission, BC.

Five of your favourite things.

  1. My family
  2. My friends
  3.  New art supplies
  5. Colours

Five songs/artists to get the creative juices flowing.

  1. Cat Stevens
  2. Enya 
  3. Vivaldi Four Seasons
  4. Carole King
  5. The Pogues

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