Creative Journey with Louise

Today I have a special guest, Louise Lyndon sharing her incredibly creative journey, from nail decorating, to writing, to making journals (which are stunning!), and how that has nurtured her. She’s one very talented lady. Thank you for sharing your journey Louise.

I’ve always been creative. In fact, in my family, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been known as the ‘creative one’. And I wore that title proudly. After all, I love using my imagination. I love to create – be it characters in a story I’m writing, nails I’m painting, or journals I’m making. I didn’t think much of that title because being a creative is who I am. It’s in my blood. Louise's notebook.jpg

However, I never realised, until recently (perhaps in the last five or so years) that being creative, at least for me, is so much more than producing an end product. It’s been a lifeline. It has saved me on so many different levels. You see, I have bipolar type 2 disorder. My illness is characterised mainly by depressive moods. While I am on medication (which helps) I also must help myself. I need to find ways to ‘get out of my head’ and break the cycle of negative self-talk that often fills my head. I’ve tried everything – yoga, meditation, keeping a positive list. The only thing that seems to work is sitting down and occupying my hands (and mind) by creating something. It allows me some breathing space, some downtime. And not only does it quiet the talk in my head while I’m doing a project it remains quiet often for days, sometimes months.

Handmade journal.jpgA little while ago I asked my mum could she remember when she started to see the ‘creative’ in me (aside from the usual finger painting toddlers do!). She nodded and said, ‘Just after your father died.’ I was four. So perhaps, without ever realising it, I’ve always used creativity to get me through some of my darkest moments.

Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne. In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance. When not writing, she can be found either covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls, or up to her elbows in vintage paper, glue, and ribbon handcrafting journals. Check out her books and handmade journals.

Missing Goals

I missed my writing goal the other day. I wanted to write 5k, but I didn’t make it. Right at this point it was easy to get down that I missed my goal. I didn’t hit my target. I’m now behind. There’s a big but coming here.

But…

How does the situation look if I focus on what I did do? That day I managed to write 4k. And that is a pretty good effort for me at the moment, because the other thing to remember is to take in to account other factors which influence how much I write. Life needs to be lived, and it’s natural for it to get in the way of writing. Sometimes it’s best not to fight this, and to go with the flow, and work with what you’ve got. Writing this many words in one day was a fantastic effort. And this is most definitely a silver lining. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a goal is missed, as that can create a negative mindset. By focussing on what I did manage to write, I know that the story has progressed, and I’m closer to finishing.

There is a bigger picture, to always keep in mind too. They day before I wrote 6k, when my goal was 5k. So, I can sort of pinch the 1k from the previous day and use it today, and remind myself that I’m on track.

It’s helpful to be mindful like this to ensure that I don’t get down when writing, thinking I can do more. Or getting hung up on the 1k I didn’t write today. Especially when I went 1k over yesterday – and even if I hadn’t. When that happens, it’s too easy to translate into a writing block, and then no words are written. Being mindful means that I’m thinking positive. I avoid creating a block for myself, and I keep on writing. Plus, no matter the word count, the story is being written, and that is what ultimately counts.

Then the next day, I wanted to write 5k, but I only wrote 2k. Life did get in the way that day. On paper, I’m behind in my writing goal, but really, overall, in three days I’ve written 11k, and I’m cruising towards the half-way point – those 2k helped to push that bit closer. And I could only write those 2k because I had a positive mindset.

It’s easy to get down about missing a goal, but what’s achieved during the process can be a silver lining.

Lilliana

New Cafe

What a view!

With one of my fav cafes closed, and another moving, I thought it time to get out and find a new cafe. And today, I’ve done just that. I’m left wondering why on earth didn’t I try this cafe sooner! And I’m relieved I’m not totally set in my ways, and I can try new cafes, and get back into the natural flow, which of course helps the words to get written, and the creativity to flow.

Not only did I get the benefits of writing in a new envionment with a fantastic view, I also had a relaxing walk here and back. A win-win on many levels.

With the start of a new story being written today, and the fresh air clearing my mind with the walk there and back, I’ll be coming back here for sure…hopefully tomorrow!

Lilliana

Surrounded by Creativity

I started the Georgia O’Keefe full-day workshop apprehensive, but I left inspired. Partly because I had a great art teacher, as well as keeping my mind open to learning. I also think a big part was due to being surrounded by like-minded people. This can be seen in the beautiful finished products by every single person in the class.

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To me, this reinforces the importance of surrounding myself with fellow artists, and being in an environment where we are all sharing (albeit quietly) the creative journey. This in itself helps to inspire, to fill the subconscious with creativity without even trying. All that needs to be done is to be present, and get creating.

I was nervous and tired at the start of the class. By the end I was energised and wanting to try another canvas using this technique. And when I look at the classes completed canvases I think it’s more to do with being in a shared space of creativity which has helped me feel uplifted and inspired.

As a writer, it’s important for me to remember this as I spend a lot of time creating alone as is the nature of being an author. It was insightful to be in an environment with other artists, sharing the same journey for a moment in time, and how this can positively, subtly influence my art as well as my well-being.

Have you ever experience starting a workshop apprehensive, but then finding quiet inspiration within the class by the end? Please share in the comments below.

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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

Bunny Art

As part of my general art class this term we had a lesson dedicated to a guest artist Cat Leonard who taught her unique approach. Once again, I felt like a fish out of water, plunged into the unknown and having to adapt and learn.

This is all part of being a student so it wasn’t like I was opposed to this lesson or process. I just have to ensure I keep an open mind, pay attention, and be ready to give it a go, and to adapt if it doesn’t go to plan, which of course is part of the artistic process.

At least now when I comes to drawing and painting I know how to mentally prepare for trying something new and going with the flow. But how else can I be self-aware or mindful of this unique process for myself?

I gave this new technique a go, while being able to accept my feelings of hesitation, and amazingly I produced a rabbit using a mix of mediums and techniques. Not what I was expecting.

Maybe my attitude of being open minded helped?

By not having any pre-conceived expectations, as well as an open mind and a willingness to ‘give it a go’ and being mindful, I’ve come away from the class with a painting of a bunny which I’m happy with.

In addition, I’ve not only learnt a new technique, but I’m inspired to try this again at home – by myself (I’m going to try a dragon!). This is a sign of how much I’ve grown with my artistic skill. It’s not so much going up a level, but how I feel.

Can I do this at home? Alone? Before I was too scared to try, but now I’m willing to. This is the real next step in my unique journey as an artist – stepping out and going it alone, prepared for any sort of outcome. And also by being mindful, I can continue to learn along the way, gaining insights to myself, my approach and how I relate to the art I produce.

Stay tuned for how I go!

Have you noticed this stage when you’re creating? Please share in the comments below.

Lilliana

Importance of Tools

Often, I approach my creative projects with too much excitement and enthusiasm and simply jump in because I can’t wait to get started. Recently, while at the yarn shop I fell in love with some yellow yarn. I bought it home with a project in mind.

I didn’t get far into the project before I realised the yarn wasn’t right for the stitching I wanted to do. I’d not thought about that. I just figured all yarn would go with any type of stitch.

With enough projects on the go I returned the yarn, and bought some that would be better suited. I could’ve kept the yellow yarn, but really I have enough yarn in my house!

A small incident, but it reminded me of the importance of having the right tools for the project at hand. Sure I had yarn, the right sized hook, but not the right yarn for the stitch I wanted to learn. Not dissimilar to when I’m writing. I’m very particular about the pen I use, the notebook I have and where I sit and write. The tools used are important and while I know this, I hadn’t translated this across to my crocheting projects. I even know this when drawing and painting. I thought it would be simple.

Yarn + hook + stitch = pretty blanket.

But there was more to consider.

So now this is something I will think about when starting a new project. It was a good little lesson to learn or perhaps a good reminder to think of the importance of tools, and how they work together to produce a finished project.

Have you had a similar experience? Please share below in the comments below.

yellow yarn as a background

No Ink!

I can’t believe this happened! I’m usually so organised, especially when it comes to pens. And when writing with a fountain pen, there’s a little more to consider like having spare ink cartridges. There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of ink when writing, more so when I’m in the flow.

So I couldn’t believe it when I went to change my ink cartridge, to find that the spare was indeed used, empty! I can see the funny side to all of this. And as much as it pained me, I switched over and used another pen – not the look I like in my journal, but it really doesn’t matter. Now, I do have a fresh ink cartridge in my handbag, ready to go.

 

Lilliana

Art Classes with Bubs

As a new mum, there’s a lot to juggled. Maybe I don’t need to be going along to art class, I’m not sure I’ve got the time or if I can really afford it. But then my soul needs nourishment, and for me it’s natural to go along to art class with bubs. Can’t start them too young! So far bubs has been exposed to university, art classes, Pilates, and a creativity writing workshop I presented. His education is about to continue with an upcoming conference I’m presenting at. There’s lots of variety for him to experience, even now, just by me simply living my life.

During art class, Bub is in the sling, resting on my chest as I paint. He’s content. The other ladies in the class are amused, nothing like a little baby energy in the room to help with the creativity! Instead of a tea break half-way through the class, for me there’s a bottle break. I can use the time to chill, and also reflect what direction I want to take my painting (which I’m having to go to plan B because I’ve stuffed up! And Bubs has been such an angel I can’t even blame him. Completely my lesson to learn here!). I’m very grateful for Splashout to help accommodate by letting me come along with bubs.

my art in need of fixing

By going along to art class, I’m reminded that my mum did something similar. She had her baby daughters in the wicker bassinets, under the table, while she did her china painting. It’s what the women in our family do. It’s a tradition. And I’m glad to be continuing it. The quiet things you’ve learnt from mum, which you then pass down to your child; an unexpected bonus, which also helps keep my memory of mum alive.

Lilliana

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