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.

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

Change is in the Air

Change is in the air, café style.

While I don’t really have a routine in my life, there are a few fixed points in my day or week that are regular. The boring, shopping for food, cleaning and cooking, of course done at different times and recipes change. The more relaxing like walking along the beach, though the times in the day may change. Or like visiting my favourite cafes, which I have a few, so I can mix it up and still keep a little bit of change.

This last week or so, I’d discovered one of my favourite cafés had closed, and now I’ve learnt another of my favourite cafés is moving. I was a bit worried for a few seconds, but fortunately they are only moving a few doors down. Then my mind switched into hyper-drive. Will I find the new environment appealing? It’s a smaller space so will I enjoy the vibe and be able to write? Will the new place work for them as a business and if it doesn’t I could lose another café where I like to visit, not just to write but also to meet up with friends.

When did I get so set in my ways?

It’s sort of snuck up on me. Here I was thinking I’m flexible, I’m going with the flow and I am, but I’ve also found some comforts in my life.

This isn’t a bad thing. Having some comforts, or enjoyments is good, and very beneficial. It helps me to be part of the world when I’m meeting friends. I get great coffee and food. I have a space where I can write and be inspired.

It’s these things that I fear, or worry of losing. All because of change. Of course this isn’t necessarily going to occur. It’s my ego feeling threatened. And that’s a good thing, because that means getting out of my comfort zone. This leads to change, and inspiration and feeds into my creativity. This ultimately is a good thing. Hey, it’s going to be fun going to the new place for this café, and even finding a new café if I have to. It has been helpful to be reminded that change is a good thing, and that I can mix up the comforts in my life.

I’m sure it won’t be the end of the world, and who knows I might even like this new place even better.

Lilliana

Plan B

Having to drive over the other side of town for an appointment, I thought a I could combine the trip and then go to one of my favourite cafés. I had to drive past the café on the way to the appointment, and it was closed. And not a closed for today, or opening late today sort of closed. It had shut up shop. Forever. I had so been looking forward to being naughty and buying a cheeky lamington with my coffee, and spending a little time writing (or trying to write as bubs was with me).

What was I going to do now? Plan B wasn’t forming in my mind. Simply I needed another café. But where? And there’s always the risk of trying a new café and it let’s say, things don’t always work out. I was in a risk free mood, and yet, here I was having to do that. I wasn’t in the frame of mind to try something new or different to my routine or what I was used to.

Through the appointment all I could think of was where am I going to have my morning coffee where I can write? I wanted to go to a café where I could take a pram, and one where there was a bit of a rustic, organic vibe to help the creative flow. I wanted to soak up the atmosphere so the inspiration would stay with me for the rest of the day.

It took a lot of thinking, then I remembered a café down the road I had gone to earlier in the year. Relief! And it was the perfect solution. I had a lovely coffee, room with the pram and a few minutes to write. Beautiful organic vibes for me to absorb. Thank goodness! And I’ve got another café to add to my list to go and visit.

All wasn’t lost.

It’s obvious to think there’s not really any risk here, and that it’s simple just think of another café to go to. In a way it was. But it did take a bit of thought for me to work through this. And it reminded me of the process of problem solving. The chance to think on my feet. And to be flexible with the pre-made plans of the day. I also got to practice it for something simple, so when the big problems come along I’ll be ready.

So there’s a lot more than just plan B and having to go to a different café. It’s all about being willing to try something different, to change the plans – on the fly. And to remember that this can actually help the inspiration and lead to some creative progress.

I might just need to try a new café more regularly!

 

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.

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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Sheep Mobile Finished

Finally, I have finished the sheep mobile for bubs. After having to pause a number of times because I ran out of filling for the sheep and clouds, having to look after bubs, and then running out of white fluffy wool. It’s been a long process to get these cuties finished! And bubs is rather captivated by the sheep hanging in his room. A lovely addition, and rather symoblic considering my heritage growing up on a farm with sheep. The tradition lives on, just in a new form.

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The sheep and clouds are a little wonky, but I’m very pleased as this is the first project completed following the crochet written pattern – which is like learning another language. It’s too easy to have lots of unfinished craft projects on the go, so I’m glad that this one has been finished, and now hanging in the baby’s room to be enjoyed by him – and me.

Now, a break, and then to think of the next fun crocheting project to start. Because that’s all part of the joy and journey of creating. There’s always another project to discover.

 

 

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.

Replenishing my Stock

When going to get a new notebook the other day I discovered that I didn’t have many left. Well, actually I only had one. This is so not like me. Usually I have too many, to the point I begin to wonder if I will get around to using them in this lifetime and I need to stop myself from buying more.

It feels great to have filled so many notebooks with my creative writing. I felt even better having an excuse to go to the shops and buy more. And I can’t wait to fill them with words.

Lilliana