Frustrated…

I get very tense about my creative time.

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1 It feels so squeezed out by life and I get frustrated!

2 When I do have time that fantastic butterfly of an idea that landed on my shoulder during the food shop…has fluttered off leaving my with a sense of loss and I am frustrated.

3 Blank page syndrome.  I feel inadequate, ungifted and frustrated.

My self analysis strategies kick in at this point asking me what the evidence for this sense of failure is and reminding me that countless others feel the same. However in the moment it can still be hard to shake.

My granny would also shudder and point out that I have used

‘Frustrated’ in three consecutive sentences. Apologies for this grammatical sin. When I started this post it was titled differently but I realised that my subconscious was trying to get a message across, so I left them in. I get FRUSTRATED! Sorry lovely granny!

Hmm emotions! These I am beginning to understand are good in my creative journey. For me becoming aware of and in touch with myself has become so important to my wellbeing.  As creativity plays a large role in this I ‘feel ‘the need  to explore my creative self. phew – that is hard to explain and I hope it makes some sense 🙂

It has been slowly- ever so slowly – dawning on me that my artistic life can be prone to the stresses and pressures of  the  outside world. My three reasons for frustration are based on demands that I have made on myself – only me.

Perhaps I could try again.

1 When my creative time feels squeezed- perhaps I could arrange things differently. After several attempts this week I have reviewed my list of duties and tasks with a friend. I realised that what pressure has made burdens out of pleasurable tasks that I want to do to help myself and others. Turning things this way round has given me the courage to make slight adjustments: to combine some trips or make them at a more sensible time for me or even to find a better way of achieving things. So far no one has found this a problem. In fact it was me that created the issue by not being communicative and honest!

2 and 3 When I lose an idea- don’t worry. Many artists have quoted the saying that we have everything inside us to achieve what we want to create. If I misplace my butterfly of an idea- it will come back later. Perhaps by then more formed and ready for me to understand!  Meantime I will just do what ever comes to me at the time. It is from a place within me do I should treat it with the love and respect it deserves !

Today I had blank page trouble. So I just explored with a few colours and enjoyed the experience of  mark making. Hopefully this will add to my technical range at a future time. You know what… I had Fun!

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We are off to meet the wizard…of Oz

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Gosh… recently life has been a whirlwind.The more I think if it the more I can compare myself to poor old Dorothy ( but please no, not the pig tails and cute dress) ! Life has been my tornado spinning me round and round and finally depositing me somewhat bemused at the start of a journey down my equivalent to the yellow brick road. I have stared off with a purpose and met friends along the way… You get the picture I imagine. Well, there I go skipping merrily along until part way in I run out of the initial excitement that has propelled me thus far. What do I do?

I have two choices:

  1. Return to my default habits, convince myself that my dreams are unrealistic and stop
  2. Find strategies to carry on, fight my doubts and lack of self belief and hang in there until the moment passes. Then I can carry on making myself happy and fulfilled doing what I love best-  dwelling in possibility!

As I am still posting I hope it is obvious which choice I made!

During a conversation with my husband yesterday I was reminded again that nothing beats quality time absorbing creativity from what is around. Just to ‘be’ and let it all wash over me. As we  spent time talking in the carparks of a well known fast food chain this stunning animal emerged tentatively from a bush. We were surprised by its boldness and calm demeanour. Mr fox was definitely in charge of the moment as he stared straight at us before trotting off unperturbed.

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Nature was once again leaving its unique mark on me. The fleeting few seconds when that beautiful creature locked  its’ searching eyes on us was quite magical. It remains with me as a kind of visual soothing medicine. Much as I crave painting and writing, for me it is not the outcome that I value as much as the process to get there. Some times the thought process takes priority over painting especially during times of low energy. I have read that creative energy peaks and ebbs sometimes for many reasons. For me it is important to listen to this, respect it and just be, perhaps practice mindfulness or concentrate on experiencing nature around me until I feel recharged. What in the end recharges me? There is no telling. It could be rest, time, poetry or indeed a passing fox taking me back to rejoin the journey just like Dorothy on her way to find the wizard of Oz.

 

 

How aware are we of our own creative energy?

Many people describe life as an emotional roller coaster. I certainly do and for the past few weeks I have been fortunate enough to have felt at a high point on my artistic ride. You know, the all -consuming passion and total commitment that makes you want  to complete a project to the exclusion of most other things. Imagine if that was permanent- one could  run right out of food and perhaps become a little unpopular! So fortunate for me my creative ‘highs’ don’t  last for ever.  The laws of gravity kick in- what goes up must come down.

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However this really is no bad thing. The more I encounter emotional energy the more I think that if  creative life continued on the same level all of the time  I would  never  experience the view from the glorious peaks I encounter after climbing out of a low on my journey? Every time I lose inspiration it frustrates me but perhaps it need not. I have already blogged about my brain needing time to process new ideas – perhaps this processing is what happens in the troughs. ( Shameful admission for a female – I don’t creatively multitask!) I used to consider these as unproductive and wasted times but actually they are allowing my brain time to catch up and consolidate insights, styles, use of colour or whatever I have just learned on my high time. I have to consider this  as ‘out time’.After all I suppose the household tasks occasionally need to be caught up on…!?

How does it feel?

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Tell me now how does it feel?‘ *

Ok, yes, I have completely changed the context in which the question is asked in the song! However to me it demonstrates something I have been mulling over for the last few days. Like most people I experience random butterflies of thought. Appearing suddenly in my brain and always as I reach out to touch – whoosh it is gone! I am trying to see this less as frustrating and more as something that will return as a fully fledged idea when my mind has actually figured out its meaning and just as importantly I am receptive to act on it. ( Patience little grasshopper! )

Today my latest butterfly returned, landing gracefully on my hand and told all. Julia Cameron** recommends ‘artist dates’. Such a good idea to plan for and actively do something regularly that is personally and creatively inspiring. So far my dates have been fantastic.  ( Sorry darling husband !) But what if I tried something extra? What if it was not just about the things I saw and heard on these dates that I could transfer into art? What if I also challenged myself emotionally? How does this experience make me feel? What is the reaction in my heart? Perhaps like an extension of mindfulness. Exhilaration and wonder; loving passion or gut wrenching sadness – what potent energy to bring to creative work. Hmmmmm. Thank you thought butterfly – I think. This all feels right but somewhat daunting till I get the hang of it. Perhaps bite size steps are called for. Like a dear friend of mine says ” You can’t eat an elephant in just one go! ”       ….

 

 

* lyrics from Blue Monday by New Order. Factory; 1983 ( Gosh, really that long ago?)

**idea of course from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. Penguine; 1992