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.

step 4 seascape.jpg

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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

Culling 1.5k words

I’m not sure how I’ve managed this, but for the academic paper I’m writing I’ve somehow gone over the word count by 1.5k!

Kimba home from the vets.JPG

This is after a hectic weekend with a very sick dog (and going to the emergency vets twice and having poor Kimba stay in over 24hours. He’s finally recovered now thank goodness), hurting my hand so it’s difficult to type, crocheting a shawl, and mentoring two writing students. Oh, and I’m heavily preggers. I must have had a lot to say or something on the matter of the relationship between history and fiction despite all of these distractions being thrown at me! Either that or I’ve somehow turned into super woman! 😉 And I’ve got extra powers to get through everything… if only! 😉

virus shawl completed.JPG

Anyway, this morning’s job is to cull 1.5k words, so this paper can be submitted tomorrow. What better way to do this than at a cafe, and of course outside in the beautiful autumn weather. I can soak up the sunshine and use it to help as motivation 🙂 It’s the simple things that can help you keep going after a busy time. heart clipartAnd looking on the bright side of life. I’m not sure how I’ve managed this, but I have, perhaps because I have lots of support from friends and family, so while I did this alone, I wasn’t alone. With one step at a time, I’ve gotten through the life’s challenges.

Now, back to culling some words…

Lilliana

No Lights!

I was just getting into my editing of my academic paper in a cafe when of all things there was a power failure! It’s sort of exciting but also frustrating. It’s now a little too dark to edit on paper and I was just in the flow!

The unexpected things which disrupt the flow! But the question is has this been beneficial or detrimental? Or neither?

I did consider leaving, but then a few lights came on nearby, so I had a bit of light to continue. I kept editing, mainly because I was so close to finishing this task! And I wanted to not just finish but continue what I was doing. And I couldn’t help think no his people would write in the most difficult situations and poor lighting. So why not keep going?!

All sorts of events and things can disrupt the flow, it’s how you react that matters. I could’ve gone home, but I stayed, wanting to keep connected to even a little of the flow I was in. And it helped. Round one of editing done!

A Rose is a rose is a rose…

Paint a rose I thought!

It will be easy I thought!

Gah I think I have too many lines 🙄

Astro is serious about it all, and Kimba is happy!

Must be time for a break…

Going it alone with a different technique as part of my Easter weekend cave style creative binge!

It’s good I’m trying to apply what I’ve learnt in class, but it’s hard!

It’s the next step in my creative journey and I’ve jumped in so the only option is to swim!

It’s early stages yet, so who knows how this rose might turn out!

On My Own!

I’m about to go it alone and paint free style using a technique I learnt the other week!

So far I’ve had to work through a creative block, the weather, paper which was smaller than I’d wanted, no stool or place to put my paints etc.

I reckon I’ve finally got it sorted, though a last min tire adjustment with where I’m painting because of the drizzle of rain.

Fortunately I’ve got a bit of undercover area albeit it small!

About to test out what I learnt in art class the other week.

I suspect a dragon is going to be too hard… here goes, jumping in!