Judy’s Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity

Judy’s Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity


I have some awesome friends. One of them is Judy Reilly. She was a fellow church member here for some time before moving to Vermont. I miss seeing her regularly! She is an amazing quilt artist. I love her quilt’s color and whimsey and insight.

My three photographs on this post are of quilts of hers that still hang in our church due to her generosity and enthusiasm. There is Noah’s Arc (above) in our children’s room, and the bottom two grace our Sunday School. The tree is from Revelation where “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” and in different seasons, the kids pin on different thoughts, ideas or experiences.

Our church even held a quilt show of her work (something unprecedented for us) and accompanied her spiritual life lessons with the quilts. This event was wildly successful. No one knew what they were more impressed by, the marvelous quilts or her freeing philosophy which is best spelled out in her Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity.

I’ve taken the liberty to copy those Life Lessons for you below, but click here to check out her whole website! In the gallery on her website, you’ll even find some affordable prints of her wonderful work.

Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity
The Retrospective and Introspective Insights
from an Artist’s Journey.
Judith Reilly © 2002

1.  We are all unique and gifted
“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”
Brenda Ueland

“Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.”
Mary Baker Eddy

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Life is perception
“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

“Change your thoughts and you change your life.”
Norman Vincent Peale

3. Childlikeness: never lose it!
“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
Stephan Nachmanovitch

“To be truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits; logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams.”
Giorgio De Chiricio

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

“Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea.”
Mary Baker Eddy

4. Permission and limitations: claim one, and reject the other
“Take your life into your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing. No one to blame.”
Erica Jong

“Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours”.
Richard Bach

5. Don’t seek approval
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”.
Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. For the Lord shall be thy confidence.”
Proverbs 3

6. We must have wings and feet
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Albert Einstein

“He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet.”
Joseph Joubert

7. Determine what is traditional, accepted and expected… and don’t do it!
“The voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust

“Creation is ever appearing and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.”
Mary Baker Eddy

8. Be true to yourself
“Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be.”
Brenda Ueland

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured, or far away.”
Henry David Thoreau

“We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are.”
Mary Baker Eddy

9. If we’re not having fun, we’re not doing it right!
“I used to wait for a sign…before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream and an angel in black tights came to me and said, You can start any time now and then I asked is this a sign? And the angel started laughing and I woke up. Now I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.”
Brian Andreas

“Angels. God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of good…”
Mary Baker Eddy

10. We have to “kiss a lot of frogs”… (a.k.a. Oops!)
“A man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.”
Edward John Phelps

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm”.

11. We must share our gifts to experience their ultimate blessings
“For me, the art process is not complete without the viewer.”
James Christiansen

I’ll share your toys, I’ll share your money
I’ll share your toast, I’ll share your honey,
I’ll share your milk and your cookies too –
The hard part’s sharing mine with you.”
Shel Silverstein

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

“Man shines by borrowed light.”
Mary Baker Eddy

12. “Solitude” and “Now”: the gifts we give ourselves
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Ps. 46:10

“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.”
Mary Baker Eddy

“Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.”
Corita Kent

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross



I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment


  1. […] even though my snapshots don’t do this gorgeous work justice.  Back in 2009, I quoted her Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity, so check that out if you haven’t yet. You can see a little video of her explaining her […]

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