Seascape

The fine line between not liking your work to being constructive about what you’ve created is important. Actually, it’s important in life as well.

I was reminded of this boundary between my perspective of negativity versus constructive thoughts in regard to a recent workshop on painting seascapes. Not only did I learn how to paint waves I also learnt the value of looking at my work, seeing how I feel about it, by asking myself some questions.

Do I like what I see? Is the painting working? No. What can I do about it? What can I change?

It’s the last two questions which I found particularly helpful. Because the answers gave me positive action to take. By asking these questions, it also prevented me from spiralling down into a puddle of negativity that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.

Why were these questions so valuable?

Not only did the answers help keep my mindset positive but also allowed me to pause and consider how I could improve the painting. The answers gave me a positive focus. And a chance to try something with the intention of progressing the painting.

Whatever I do may not improve the painting (to my liking) but I can keep repeating these questions until I do. Or worse case, if I’ve tinkered too much or overworked the painting, then this becomes a valuable lesson for me to have learnt, which I can apply to the next painting I do.

How did I apply this process to my seascape? The big wave in the centre wasn’t turning crashing over like it is now. It was rolling in a white top across the canvas. This looked a little boring. I wasn’t happy with it.

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With the help of the teacher the wave was changed part way across so that it was partly rolling over. It worked. It could’ve easily not have. And if that was the case, then I would’ve tried something else. Or learnt what not to do for the next seascape I painted.

 

Seascape Finished

It’s too easy to get down on your creative project, so it’s a good safety net as such to have process like asking yourself a few questions. “Am I happy with this? No. Then what can I do about it?” Because this can help generate inspiration and ensure the creativity keeps flowing.

Travel and Creativity

It’s been a while since I’ve travelled. Now, it’s different because I have bubs with me. Recently, with a book signing and an academic conference, I had 5 flights in 8 days, with bubs. It was fantastic (and hard work!). I was reminded how beneficial travel is for me. It helps me to connect with who I really am. I’m on an adventure, and off exploring new areas. I’m learning. Growing. Problem solving. Having fun. Meeting new people. During this time, I really get a new perspective on my life, and the areas which matter most. And so much more. It was also a relief to find out that bubs was a good traveller himself.

During this recent travel, I realised there was an unexpected influence on my creativity. While I wasn’t directly being creative when traveling, I ended up coming back tired, but with huge levels of inspiration and ready to get into my writing. I had a whole new level of creative flow. An added benefit to this crazy stint of travel I’d recently done. And it hasn’t just lasted for a few days, this new inspiration is still going, after two weeks and hasn’t faded.

It took 5 flights in 8 days for me to find this new level of inspiration which has spilled out in to my creative projects from painting, to crocheting to writing. For me, travel feeds my soul, and now I know it also helps to call in creativity which can last for weeks.

So, where will I go on my next trip…?

 

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.

New Skill Level

I’ve always found it difficult to read crochet patterns. It’s as if they’re written in some old secret language. I’ve only been able to start new projects with the help of YouTube.

By starting a new project where I can only finish by reading the crochet pattern, I found I’ve actually got a feel for what the pattern means, and I’m actually able to progress and reach a new skill level. It surprised me really. I’ve tried to read crochet patterns for many years and it was a skill I’d given up on ever understanding. It’s harder than trying to learn a new language!

What it reflects to me is that I’m getting a feel of what’s required when crocheting. I’m slipping into that creative flow, to a deeper understanding to where I can begin to make confident decisions on the stitching and knotting to produce what I want to (and if not then I can see where I’ve gone wrong, frog it, and start again).

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It’s a new skill, a new level, and it’s exciting because this opens up so many more possibilities for me to try and explore in the crocheting world. I’m looking forward to it.

When have you unexpectedly found your skill levels improve? 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.

Inspiring Myself

Today, I’ve given myself a time out of life. I’m doing the minimal today. As part of relaxing, I sat down and watched the DVD of The Greatest Showman. I’d seen it on the big screen a few months ago, and loved it. This time around I enjoyed it just as much, and it was a good chance to continue with a crocheting project. The music, the costumes, the acting, the singing, the story, were fantastic. Then to continue the day of chilling I watch the ‘extras’.

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I found myself reaching for my phone so I could type down the thoughts that were flowing from the ideas that had suddenly come loose and floated to my consciousness, catching them in black words on my phone.

It was great. While I haven’t been in a drought, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the simple flow of inspiration through me.

Often as a teacher, and mentor, even writer, I’m inspiring others. I love it. But I also need to be inspired myself. Sure, I have the things I do to stir up the creativity, and ideas, and get myself inspired – like walking along the beach, reading, painting, crafts, blogging, and going out with people. But this was the first time I was conscious that by watching a movie (while crocheting), and then watching the ‘extras’ and seeing other artists enthusiastic with what they were doing, my own creative well filled. I was overflowing with inspiration for the different creative projects I am planning.lettie and barmum.jpg

And I’ve been reminded that there are hidden benefits for me in watching a movie. Maybe it had a lot to do with the movie being The Greatest Showman, which was an amazing product of so many different artists coming together, and an inspiring story. I’m sure it was the determination in Lettie, in particular, which got my creative juices flowing.

I’ll be watching this movie again.

Are there any movies which have inspired you? What are the go to movies for you when you want to be inspired? Please share below.

Snatching Time to Write

Sometimes when and where I write isn’t planned. Today, I did my usual writing (which was actually editing today), then while at the shopping centre I went and did a few jobs. During this time, bubs well asleep. A deep sleep. One which I was very reluctant to wake him from, even though by this time I was more than ready to go home, and I was tired and not at all inspired to write.

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I listened to my gut, which was to go sit at another café, and to write. I’m glad I did. Because even though I was tired, I managed to write quite a bit. A lot actually. So it was a very satisfying session as I hadn’t planned writing this book today. And I wasn’t visited by the muse. It was all about me using the time that unexpectedly came available.

writing inspiration at the beachWhen I got home, I decided some fresh air was in order, so I got bubs back in the pram, Kimba on the lead and off we went to walk along the beach. During this time my mind started composing an abstract I had worked on at the first café. Suddenly my thoughts were ordered. So I sat on a bench and wrote them in my phone capturing the essence. Was this the muse? Maybe or maybe not. I think it was more to do that I had worked on the abstract this morning and so it was in the forefront of my mind. Then while walking, my subconscious pushed forward the suggestions I needed.

So for a day which was going to be a bit unproductive writing wise, turned out to be very successful. Only because I was open to snatching time to write. This is the writer’s journey, going with the unexpected.

Lilliana

Not Always About Words

My journaling isn’t always about words.

Sometimes it’s about playing with colour and ink.

It is always about creative fun though.

Here I’ve had fun with ink using different techniques. I’ve not been in control of the end product and I’ve taken a chance on letting the ink form naturally, or organically on the page.

It enhances my creativity, I’m having fun and therefore I’m relaxing. It also makes my journal beautiful. And if I wanted to, I could be inspired to write about them images formed out of a type of flow. By closing the journal, one image became two. Opposites, mirrors, reflections.

The quotes on the pages do mean that the pages aren’t entirely naked of words! It’s nice to have inspirational quotes on the  page, and be reminded of the creative journey others have been on.

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One Too Many?

Despite trying to limit myself to only having one crochet project on the go at once, and only starting a new project after I’ve finished a project.

I’ve broken this rule.

Shamelessly.

Not only have I begun a new crochet project without finished the first project, I have actually got three crochet projects on the go at once!

Three!!!

What can I say? I couldn’t help starting a new project, with a new stitch and pattern to learn. And to get to use new yarn.

The excitement of starting a new project called to me and I gave in. It’s a little addiction. It also keeps my mind active by learning new skills and trying a new pattern. I feel inspired which crosses over into other parts of my life.

I have a choice when I sit down to crochet on what project I work on, meaning I’m more in the creative flow rather than doing what I think I should do.

This is more relaxing and fun. A healthier way to approach my creative projects. The downside is that I can feel a little overwhelmed and a bit frustrated that I’m not finishing any projects. But, the positive side outweighs all of this. And that can only be a good thing.

Also, when completing creative projects it really is about the journey. The journey is personal. For me, my journey is about having more than one project on the go at once, this is my joy and when I’m thriving. So, I embrace it.

What is your approach like to your creative projects? Please share below in the comments.

Lilliana