Lady at Café

As part of a three week project in art class, I had to measure a figure from an image, transposing it firstly on paper, the on canvas, and finally painting it with oils. Figures aren’t my strength. Neither is measuring. I’m much better at making things up…sort of.

Once again I found myself at the bottom of a steep learning curve. I learnt the importance of planning, measuring and taking the time to draw out the main outline of the image I was copying – a lady sitting at the table at a café. I was inspired by the image, hey it was a lady sitting at a table at a café! This is what I love to do, except I’m usually writing, or catching up with friends.

I managed to draw the figure on the canvas, I got the idea of using tones to build up the colours, yet it just didn’t feel like it came together for me. Why not? Just a week or so before I learnt a new technique, produced a Bunny and was inspired to go and try this at home. But with the Lady at the Café, it felt flat.

lady in cafe 2The photo here shows where I’m up to, and I’m not quite finished, but I’m so uninspired to try and do any work on the canvas at home. How can the Bunny work but not the Lady? Well, different teachers? I do understand the different techniques used, but I am struggling to apply tones with the oils. With these canvases there are two very different techniques. That could be an influence. For whatever reason even though I wanted to push through and try and point a figure using oils it just didn’t work. To me it feels flat.

Then I realised that in the last lesson of working on this painting I did feel flat. Maybe my frame of mind came through into my painting. After all, a week before when drawing the lady on the canvas, even though I had done her wrong (the measurements were way out), I felt inspired to go home and try and fix her up (I didn’t which perhaps was a shame, but life does get in the way sometimes and it’s just what it is).

But the final lesson of working on this project because of a variety of factors unrelated to the art (hot weather, looking after bubs, and writing) meant I was feeling a little flat.

While doing art or craft or other creative projects can help lift your mood, be good for wellbeing, and help process life, the reverse can also happen.

I think this is what could have happened in this painting. And it’s helpful for me to be aware of this. To be mindful, so that if it happens again (which is a reality, because it is part of the creative process), I can recognise it for what it is, not be judgemental on myself, and choose to work to fix the art, or move on to another project.

All is not lost with Lady at Café, I can still continue with this painting. I won’t as right now I’m not inspired too. But I might be in the future. Now at least the process of creating this canvas has given me insight on how my mood can influence my art, and that by being mindful I can gain valuable insights to how the creative process works for me.

Have you noticed a time or stage when going through the creative process where you have gained insight to your approach? Please share below in the comments.

Halt!

After getting over my trepidation of attempting a more difficult crochet project, and then discovering I could actually read a crochet pattern I thought it would be full steam ahead.

Not quite.

Like all projects, whether creative or not, there are the unexpected halts. The impasses. Which can be frustrating as they take away the momentum making it even more difficult to overcome ‘the block.’

The problem with my current project wasn’t big. I simply needed some fibre filler before I could keep going. This meant going to the shop to buy some which of course I couldn’t because it was well past closing time.

I had to stop because I didn’t have all the materials to keep going. I knew I didn’t when I started. But I had such a strong motivation to want to start, now, and to see if I could read the crochet pattern. After all, I may not have reached the point of needing the fibre filler. I could well have ended up in a crying mess on the couch.

Somehow the instructions made sense and I knotted the yarn until I couldn’t go any further. This was frustrating because I so wanted to keep going but couldn’t. I sourced some fibre filler from my sister – oddly it was what I’d given to her a number of years ago but because I wasn’t using it I had decided to find a new home for it. I just had to wait a few days before I got it. Not long. But long enough to lose my momentum.

The upside to this, because I’ve got two other crochet projects on the go, I could return to them. It meant stopping on the sheep project wasn’t as much of an issue. I could still create. Still make progress on other projects.

I’ve not yet picked up the sheep project, but I will. I know I will. I just need a few hours where I can sit and work on it, because it’s harder and I need to be in the right frame of mind to concentrate more compared with the other two projects I have on the go.

Sometimes halts can be beneficial, or at least not as much of a hindrance as first expected. And by going with the flow, and being patient, I could source the fibre filler for free and progress two other projects. A productive outcome for an impasse!

When has having to stop or pause a project actually been a benefit for you? Please share below in the comments.

Stuck

I’ve been stuck on these two rows for about a week! I found a mistake, so frogged it, re-did the rows, made another mistake, frogged it again. Caught up. Another mistake! Frogged it.

Now I’m taking a break.

It’s a basic stitch, so something else must be going on here. I’m rather busy right now, so tired when I sit to crochet. While I want to crochet I don’t have the headspace for it. Frustrating on one hand, but so is re-doing the same two rows.

Sometimes you just got to step away from the creative project, breathe, have a break, then get back into it.

I look forward to getting back to crocheting this blanket…next week sometime.

Not Writing Time

Coffee time at the Royal Adelaide Show.

No writing. Just coffee time.

Purely time to ponder, daydream, and to let my thoughts wander at will. Though maybe it’s writing in my head which makes a nice change to writing with pen and paper or typing on the computer. Considering some of my books are set at the Show, sitting and soaking up the environment is all part of filling the creative well.

My well is now full.

Inside/outside

I’m sitting on the inside/outside boundary of a cafe, on a sunny spring-is-almost-here day.

Perfect inspiration!

Plus I have a large coffee and a gorgeous journal.

Free style!

My first crochet project free style (no pattern) and different yarn.

The creativity flowed strong for the making of this floor rug.

Never thought I’d get to the point where my skill set was good enough so try to make something without following a pattern. I’ve surprised myself!

Now onto the next project…

Blessed

This morning when writing in a café I was interrupted by a lady. Nothing unusual for that to happen to me. I give off some vibe, or I’m like a light to moths, and people come to talk to me when I’m writing in cafés.

What was different about today was, that bubs wasn’t happy to be in his pram, so he was in my arms. It had been an effort to get out of the house, into the car, and to the café. But I had persisted. Left my phone behind which always causes me to feel naked. Also left one of the notebooks I wanted to write in at home. But I had made it to the café, the computer was open, and while not ideal I could sort of type one handed while holding bubs. What was really happening was that bubs was getting cuddles, and nothing was getting written. At least I could have my thinking time and ponder on what I wanted to write (which was a middle grade book, based on a story idea I had written about 7 years ago, so there was plenty to ponder).

Then when I was rocking gently side to side, cuddling bubs, staring at my screen, my mind deep in the world I wanted to create, an elderly lady came up to me. She said, ‘Bless you.’

I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I smiled. It’s a good thing to say to someone, right? Even if not religious. Then she repeated her blessing. ‘Bless you both.’

I responded with ‘thanks’. Then she said I’d made her day seeing us there.

She asked what his name was and thought Shephard was a lovely name. It connected deeply to her, and justified her actions in coming to bless us both. She told me we had made her day by seeing us.

It’s interesting the symbolic world that we live in. Shephard has a religious connotation (not at all why I choose this name for him) along with the lady’s action of blessing me. Something deeper here was going on perhaps. Either way it was a lovely interaction with a stranger.

Then she said it was lovely to meet us, and went on her way. All of us, her and me and bubs, with much lighter hearts as we continued the day.

(And do you know what I kid you not, as I write this and post it we’ve just received another blessing, this time from an elderly man. The angels are with us today.)

Lilliana

Progress!

Feeling like I’m on track with this project now after I had to frog it, split the wool top, then begin again.

Going free style with no pattern or video to watch! It’s fun to experiment and try new approaches (and yarn, never thought of using unspun wool before!)

Can’t wait to see the final product!

Picture says…

A picture says a thousand words!

My mug of full

Bubs bottle is empty

But there’s so much more going on in this photo! You can write your own story with it.

Too Early!

With a dentist appointment scheduled this morning (2 fillings!) and bubs unsettled during my teeth check up the other week, I’ve decided to come early so I can get a coffee and settle him with a walk.

With a need to have some creative space I decided not to bring the writing I’m working on at the moment (I’m sleep deprived as well). But… after arriving an entire hour early (I’m in shock how I even managed to do that?!) I’m sitting in a cafe drumming my fingers not knowing what to do. Bubs is fighting sleep, but is at least content, and I the coffee has given me a clear head and I do actually want to write! All I have is a near new notebook, and no ideas. Just the desire to want to write! If only I bought along that novel I’m currently reading?! Which I had intended to do but after the third trip to pack the car this morning the thought of finding time to read seemed something so next year. Plus I don’t want to feel like I have to write every time I’m at a cafe. It’s almost be giving myself permission not to that I now want to!

This time is valuable, both thinking and chilling. At least I’ve used this time to ponder, and write this post. And I’d better finish up or before I know it I’ll be late!