“Yes, I am an artist!”

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Today’s adventure took me and my dog out and about somewhere new. We wandered across the fields with the sun on our faces and the wind rustling the trees. As always the mind awakens out here in nature: toes dipping in the river and face down on the grass photoing insects at peculiar angles. Surely this is food for the creative soul.

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Later I sat sipping coffee and doodling in my journal…Then it happened. Someone asked me “Are you an artist?”  Normally I mutter something about having a go and the fragile flower of my creative self-confidence once more takes a dive. What is it about social convention that makes it impossible to claim the title? If we can drive it is expected that we call ourselves a driver. Why then do we assume that we must have pictures hanging in national gallery before we can truly participate in art? Today I revelled in the incomparable beauty of nature, breathed it in and really looked in appreciation at the colours, patterns and forms around me. How I commit this to paper is unimportant and really not for others to judge. It is just my interpretation and my style. So, this time when the question was asked I replied ” Yes. Yes I am an Artist!” And my heart lept- how wonderful to take ownership and call myself part of this beautiful creativity.

Being true to you

Today my heart is very much open to the emotions and feelings that surround us. I often wonder if ( as we are  now )  in times of change and uncertainty in the world  we naturally turn in to ourselves. We look inward and reflect on the one thing that we know will be with us throughout – ourselves. This may seem meloncolic but actually it is quite positive. Good friends, relationships and social stability are all important to maintaining our wellbeing and happiness. However psychology therapy tells us that our core foundation needs to be a strong and resilient self belief.image

Many of my creative friends seem to echo my own frequent feelings of self doubt in their work. How often do we say things like ” Oh, that one is rubbish. I’m just no good at this!”. Or we abandon creative projects that we were once so passionate about because we lose our conviction that we are doing the right thing. Deep down we are all vulnerable and the human brain seems to be set for self criticism. It goes against the grain for most of us to be totally convinced that it is alright to be the person that we are inside. We can live and create just what we feel is right, without the need to produce something conventional or what others say we should. Frequently people will not understand quite what we mean or the exhilaration that we feel. Does that matter? I don’t think so. If we create because we are in love with the process or the story our work tells praise is not so important. If our art makes us explorers we will definitely make mistakes from time to time and bad art sometimes but that is fine. When this does happens it is difficult not to listen to the voice telling you that you should just stick to convention- that experimenting and finding your own style is not for you. However Creativity calls us to do something different from the crowd- otherwise we would just be copying. Personally the therapy that I receive from making my own work in my own way is immense.

Recently I read an extremely inciteful article written by the speaker and mental health campaigner  Brioni Minkin  which sums up the need for self belief  well. .https://themighty.com/2016/07/how-to-stop-people-pleasing/

The strategies Brioni describes are qpequally true for creativity. A dear fellow artist is always telling me. ” Why are you asking me if I think this is right? You are the expert on you and you are the only one who can truly say what is best for you .” With these words ringing in my ears my creativity is revived and I shall pick up my brush once more to be who I am…

 

 

Harnessing the flow of creative energy

Do you wonder what direction your creativity is taking? Are you content with where you are or is there a niggle that there is more to do?image

I have started this blog several times- thoughts flit in and out of my mind and the page stays blank. Perhaps because the idea itself is at forefront of my current creative thinking and maybe not fully formed. However it excites me and I feel compelled to share!So bear with me here 😊

As often is the case answers comes unexpectedly. A friend in my creative art online group has just asked us why we paint. While constructing an answer the elusive ‘thought butterfly’ settled in my mind long enough for me to understand what it was telling me-             I paint to be me. Simple as that!

In previous years art was a hobby which I enjoyed but it left me inexplicably unsettled. Now I know why. By starting to use art and writing as wellness tools I have opened up to something exceptionally powerful. You could say that the flood gates have opened and the energy is now unstoppable! I paint to be me! image

Hmmm so  the question now is how to harness this energy to make it work for me ? I guess the answer to that Will change from time to time. For me right now I think it is about awareness. It is like learning to live in a relationship. Watching your new partner – learning about them. I want to know everything all at once! Favourite colours, mark making and subjects that feel good, times of day that are more likely to work or activities that bring inspiration and plans flooding in. Also  taking time and energy to plan work before going on a ‘date’ with the canvas, pen or textiles.

 

Bye the way – artist communities – can be wonderfully supportive. Thanks for unblocking my flow ladies 😊

 

The child and the chocolate cake

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Does it ever make your head spin trying to fathom out the beauty of nature? Yes, I will admit to being accused of regressing to childlike eye popping enthusiasm on recent walks in the woods or just round the garden. This may imply that I have taken a Benjamin Button like step back in time. I choose to believe it is more a case of having time, space and freedom to allow myself the luxury of taking off my ‘adult filters’.

Let me illustrate what I mean. My head conversation would go something like this:

“Gosh me! How does a tiny grain of a seed turn into this? And especially in my hands 😀. Woo hoo! Just look at the psychedelic patterns like fish scales or a peacocks eye topped tail feathers- and the feathery textured edges.”

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” And look now. How do they turn into these flowers. All my favourite colours. Feather petals and delicate centres. I must paint this. Reminds me of ballerinas. Graceful- speaking to me of movement. The paint must flow in a graceful curve . They are sooooo beautiful.”

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Anyway, time to add some science and the chocolate cake.

Anyone familiar with the work of the child psychologist Jean Piaget will be familiar with his theories of childhood development. (What do you mean kids just get bigger?)  His theory is now backed by much research and proposed that from birth to approximately two a child develops using basic movement and his senses. Next between two and seven a child learns language skills. The other two stages you will just have to look up… as this is only a tiny bit of science! An artist friend and I were discussing childhood wonder at the world compared to the reserve we all take on in adulthood. We start our lives touching, tasting, smelling, hearing and staring at things therefore the impressions we get are feelings and emotions. By seven we are developing the ability to reason and express our opinions in words.

Finger painted after initial undercoat
Finger painted after initial undercoat

Could it be that this is one reason why as adults we feel cautious or embarassed about using our emotions to express ourselves? I know that this is over simplistic but think about it? If you see a delicious cake what is your gut instinct deep down? To create a factual database listing weight,height and the viscosity of the icing? Or maybe just reach out and grab it, to smell its rich powerful chocolates aroma and to let it crumble on your tounge releasing flavours that set alarm bells ringing in your tastebuds? You could say this is a biased argument- and it is because I do love eating cake!

However I hope that you see what I am getting at?  Like many artists, dancers, musicians and writers I believe that a certain degree of emotion and use of our senses is important during  creative work. Not only do I look at the world through the senses and excitement of a child! I often paint and draw like one too- with my fingers.(Shhh!) I do it because it allows me to connect through touch with the paint and my emotions hopefully flow more easily into the work on the canvas. Maybe I am writing high on cake but to me it is fun and adds to my creative wellbeing so I think I can justify carrying on for now!