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

Happy New Year!

It seems that every year is a big year with lots happening, the good, the bad and the ugly. As we say farewell to 2017, I’d like to take a chance to reflect on the year that was.

Three top things that shaped my 2017 are:

3) Beginning Café Pondering blog

2) Starting up a journaling group on Meetups, Inspirational Journaling

1) Teaching ESL students

Of course inspiring family and friends, but that goes without saying 😉

There are so many other things too that shaped my 2017. The little things that whispered softly and can be easily over looked. Like how I made friends with the lady I shared an office with at work. But it was more, we shared creative endeavours, and encouraged each other to write and be creative. There was the signing off on my research proposal for my PhD. A writing workshop over a weekend in Sydney with the HayHouse publishers. Becoming an Aunty again. Starting art classes, with Splashout Art. Publishing my poetry book Fading Farmer, which I had held completed for two years unable to release out into the world. Plus so many other events I can’t quite remember, the ones that were negative and ugly which I will keep from here, as I am looking to release those events to move on to the new year. Like some of the world events, the ones that rock you to the core, the ones that cause the tears to flow, the ones that leave imprints on your heart.

As I remember the ‘good’ and forget the ‘bad’ I turn my attention to 2018.

What am I looking forward to? Right now, there are so many new doors opening for me, some of which I don’t know yet, it is difficult to see ahead for what may come in the following months.

I’ve managed to narrowed the list to three main things I’m looking forward to:

3) Presenting writing workshops (to make sure I do this, I’ve scheduled a Travel Writing workshop early February!)

2) New writing endeavours, writing more ‘life writing’ works.

1) Continuing my research on my great grandma, for my PhD, and learning more about my heritage, as well as growing and extending myself as I study.

I’m also looking forward to meeting new people, sharing my experiences in real life and on blogs with people. Continue my art classes and developing my skills with oil paints. To write more poetry. To simply write and journal and find the flow in life that nurtures me as best I can.

Starting a new year can be daunting. I don’t have a day job to rely on. I’m looking. For now I’ll have more time to write. The horizon ahead is wide with the haziness of the unknown, the forecast continually changes and I am constantly reminded that I’m not in control. But by focussing what I’m looking forward to helps me to move past the fear of the unknown, and allows me to deal with not being in control, because at least I can adjust how I respond to the situations. And by being grateful for the year past, and particular events, and interactions is a positive way to say goodbye, and move on.

Please share what you are grateful for in 2017 below in the comments and what you are looking forward to in 2018.

May 2018 bless you,

Lilliana Rose heart clipart

www.lillianarose.com

rose clipart

 

Swimming

As part of a series on journaling workshops I presented over winter, one of the activities centred around using a sentence to help start writing. Members in the group wrote down the first sentence to the beginning of a story then passed it around the group where all members continued the story with their own sentence.

Each story took unexpected twists and turns than the creator had. This is part of the magic that happens when creating, there are influences you don’t always have control over but it can be worth going with the flow and seeing where you end up.

This was true for the four sentences that were added to mine.

My first sentence was:

Fish swimming all in one direction without thought.

The sentence was inspired by the art work of fish on a canvas in the café where we met.

The photo shows where the others in my group took my story.

first-lines-from-group.jpg

The story went in a completely different place to what I was going to write about. I’m not sure exactly where I was going to take the story of swimming fish, it was going to be something about conformity.

I like how the other four group members influenced the direction of the story and how it changed with each direction taking me to a completely different place. Inspired by their words and influence on the story I decided to change what they had written into a poem (shown in the photo).

swimming poem draft one and two

This is the first draft, raw and messy, and in need of a few rounds of edits. But at least I have something to edit. By allowing myself to flow with this process I managed to write a poem without indenting to and tell a story I’d not otherwise thought of. Also by going though this process, and by going with the flow my logical mind was pushed into the background with all its should and should nots, allowing the process of creativity to unfold naturally.

Of course this process might not have worked. It’s always a risk when creating. By surrendering to the process and outside influences, I as the creator became absorbed in the journey instead of attempting to control every step as an observer. My writing benefits when I’m swimming in the journey and not sitting on the sidelines.

Thank you Carol, Lauren, Jeremy and Nikki for your sentences and influence on this poem. The final poem is in the image.

poem swim

 

Please share below your unexpected influences on your creative projects.

Thank you,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

 

 

Lemons

Drawing and painting isn’t my art form, writing is. For some reason this is how my mind is wired, to see the world in stories and words. While, I’ve always struggled to learn how to draw and paint, (it doesn’t come easy for me) I’m drawn to trying to learn and develop this artistic skill.

The other month, I enrolled in a 10-week course. Each time I thought about going to the first class I’d preferred to go and stand in the corner of a room and cry. I didn’t, and I managed to make it to the first class, then the second, third and in fact I completed all ten classes with perfect attendance. But did I learn to draw and paint?

I did. I think. But the feeling of wanting to go stand in the corner and cry never managed to go away. I pushed through these emotions, I wanted to grow and face my fear, and my internal dialogue that was full of negativity. I was challenged every step and spent a lot of time not looking at other’s work so as not to compare myself. I needed to focus solely on trying my best, with the emphasis of not expecting to produce a masterpiece the first time, which wasn’t the purpose of me doing these classes, yet the internal expectation was innately there, even though I know I never write a story perfectly the first time. I’m comfortable with that. I know the process with writing. I don’t know this process with painting. And there are some differences with these artistic processes.

I write in solitude. Art class was with other people, and each stroke I made on the paper was in full sight. I wasn’t used to feeling so exposed or vulnerable when creating art. The last three weeks were about painting a still life of lemons on a canvas. I’m putting these stages out here publically not to get praise or feedback, but as a way to be vulnerable in my creation in all its imperfections, because the what I may perceive is wrong with it doesn’t really matter. I tried. It’s my first step on a much bigger journey. So here’s my first step of painting on canvas for the first time.

outline of lemonsFirst draw the still life on paper. Then transfer on canvas by scribbling charcoal on the back and transferring the image to the canvas – not to dissimilar to what I’d used to do in my early years of schooling. Then I covered the canvas in the first layer of acrylic paint. I wasn’t inspired to paint lemons. I’m used to choosing my creative topic. I questioned how hard was it to draw lemons? Hard. For me at least. I went home about to throw the canvas in the bin. All artists get to this point. Thanks to computers my novels don’t get ditched, but I have thrown out my stories I wrote when growing up.drawing-lemons.jpg

I went back for the next lesson. I added another layer of paint, shaping the lemons and more importantly showing myself a glimpse of the style of painting I was allowing to form. Bold. Modern. Colourful.

first coat of paint on lemons

The third lesson of painting lessons, I learnt about glazing. I touched up the colours to add depth. I finished. And if I had thrown my canvas in the bin after the first lesson, I would never have realised there is some skill there for me to develop.

lemons last coat of paint

And I’ve booked in for another 10 weeks with Splashout Studios.

I’d love people to share below the creative process when trying a new forms.

Thanks for reading my post,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

 

 

Tying Knots

When I was in primary school the fad was to make friendship bracelets. A quick lesson from a classmate, a selection of a few colours of embroidery thread I convinced mum I had to have (lucky my mum was a big supporter of craft activities), and I was set to make the bracelets. I taught myself new designs, the patterns formed in my head (there was no Internet to look up or YouTube videos to watch). Each night before bed I would make a new bracelet. I made a lot of them.

For the life of me I can’t remember how to make them. I do remember I enjoyed knotting the thin threads and making up my own designs. As an adult, I thought I’d try and connect back to this childhood joy. Right now, macramé is back in fashion, and I thought I’d make my own hanging pot.

I bought a DIY pack and followed the instructions. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to undo the knots and start again at least three times, and I made such an error I had to contact the lady I bought the kit from for some more rope.

What was going on? The mistakes I were making was unbelievably stupid and why wasn’t I picking it up like I had when I was ten?

Adult brain.

I was second guessing without realising. I wanted to get it perfect the first time. I just wanted to get it done, and I was fixated on the end result.

When I was about ten, I didn’t have any of these expectations. I simply gave it a go. It’s this approach I’d like to get back to, but it’s not easy. My adult brain too easily interferes. Also, my adult brain learns much slower than when I was ten, a child’s brain is like a sponge and simply soaks up new information, and my adult brain is overloaded.

Wanting to give macramé another go, I booked into a workshop. Sometimes it’s much easier to be shown, and have a teacher there to help you out when you are all knotted up. Plus, there are a few tips which can help out, and keep you from getting over tangled.

finished hanging potplant.JPG

During the workshop, I connected more with how I approached making the friendship bracelets when in primary school. Also, I found a meditative state when I knotted. Maybe it was because I had more confidence because I wasn’t second guessing myself. While knotting, I worked at my own pace and rhythm. I found a way to relax, to have fun, to play, and reconnect to my inner child, whose approach to learning is something I should apply more in my life. This is what I’ll be attempting to do when I make up the DIY macramé hanging plant kit I have sitting on my kitchen table. I might be tying knots, but I’ll be having fun.

Where to Start?

Where to start a story may seem a stupid question to ask. Of course you need to start at the beginning when telling or writing a story. It’s important because this is when you hook your audience. The problem is, the beginning may not always be clear, or there could be multiple places where a story can start.

Writing isn’t like drawing or painting, where you can start at the top, middle or bottom of the canvas. On a canvas, you can see where you are going, and the space to be creatively filled is clearly defined. It doesn’t work like that with writing. With a story, there’s the start, middle and end, and you can begin at any of these points and write out of order. Sure, writers usually start writing at the top left hand side of a page, moving across to the right (when writing in English) then down to the next line and so on. But this top of the page could be in the middle of a story, or a new scene, or the start of a chapter. There are so many more choices when constructing a story, many which are hidden. The writer is working with the unknown, and may have an idea where to go, but there could be multiple ways to get there.

At some point, the only decision that can be made is to choose a point in the story and write. The structure will become clear the more that is written. Like all good travellers, the writer might get lost, have to back track and take another path. I’ve thrown away 30-40,000 words before in a story and re-written those words, and now I’m planning on doing a complete re-write of these 70,000 words. What a waste?! Not really. I needed to write in order to find the start and I was learning about my writing style that was best suited for this particular story (I have a different one for each story). It had to be done. This is going with the flow, my inner creative flow, and writing to see what takes shape. If the story ends up not going in a direction I feel is suitable for the story or characters, then I change. I may even abandon the story for a while to retrieve later, or use some parts in a different story.

That’s writing, a lot of hard work, persistence, trying new approaches, changing direction and not giving up. There can be times to persevere, but if it begins to feel like a block then I might jump ahead to another scene, or write another story, or take time to journal, or have a break. I never know what creative paths I’ll end up going down if I let go (just a little) and relax, trust myself that I’ll find a creative solution.

The more I write, the more I become aware of my journey, what is working, what isn’t and then I can adjust accordingly. Some loose suggestion of where to start will involve emotion, action, and a hook to draw in the reader. Once I’m writing, then I’ll begin to connect to the setting, characters, and emotion, then I will have a better idea of the direction the story is going in. At this point, I can reflect if this is the best place for the start, or if there’s somewhere else. The story can be re-structured when editing, but first there needs to be words on the page.

Finding the best start to a new story becomes a matter of jumping in, get writing, stop thinking of the outcome, and don’t question yourself. And that in itself is a very good place to begin a story.

The Perspective of Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve all heard this saying and something similar can be said about art and the creation of art. During the first lesson of my intermediate art class, the teacher took us through mixing colours to create tones, tints, and shades. The mixed colours were used to create a colour palette on canvas and then to paint a small image, the purpose to attempt to create the colours seen.

I’m very nervous in art classes. For me, I’m not so good, I’m learning and trying to develop my own skill in its intuitive uniqueness. I’m more of a free-from artist, even when I write, so it was natural for me to add my own approach to what I was painting. When the teacher came by and asked me what I was doing, I answered I was making it up. She re-illiterate the task, and left me to it. Re-create the colours you see in the still life. At one point I had to add more blue to the purple and something about high or low tones. But why, if what I was doing was painting what I was seeing?

I was painting the colours in my own perspective, which was unique to me – just as I do when writing. If describing a scene or an object, I use my perspective and so my words would be different to someone else who saw the same scene or object. The point here for me, is that I gained an insight to my creative expression which is similar in both writing and painting. I create what I see, but I don’t always see what everyone else sees.

This makes it tricky to teach art. How can art be taught when it’s down to the personal perspective and expression of the creator? There needs to be a basic understanding, which of course that’s what the teacher was trying to teach me. I don’t want to mix colours and always get brown, but it’s in the creativity where the perspective changes right from the first brush stroke. Once the basics are learnt, then it’s about bringing alive my own perspective, whether hidden or intuitive. It’s about valuing the perspective of art, the creating, applying intuition, adding a little logical thought, and then simply letting it be to shine out in the world.

Balancing Act

I used to wish for time where I could write uninterrupted. Through life events I’d rather not have happened, I found myself able to take time out from a full time teaching job to write. It wasn’t quiet the romantic idea I had in mind, and as time went on, I needed to go back to work to earn money.

Then began a time of inner conflict as my job drained my energy. I found it difficult to have the time, and space I needed to find the inspiration to write. But slowly I began to adjust. I learnt to carve out time for my writing (this has taken two years to achieve) and find a balance between work (which I do enjoy) and also my writing (which I love).

It hasn’t been easy.

In the process, I’ve found some hidden benefits to not writing full time.

On the ground level, work has provided a chance for me to have a break from writing, and it takes me away from spending too much time alone. As much as I would love to, it’s not healthy for me to write all the time, spending long hours each day alone with my imagination. The real world calls me to be a part of it. Teaching primary school children is a big reality check.

When at school I’m listening to student’s stories, usually about how they are so excited and proud to have a loose tooth. I’m reminded how when five I used to show off my wobbly teeth to adults. I see now from watching students my finger was in the way, and no one saw my tooth, but not once did they let on, just as I don’t now. While working, I’m also interacting with adults, sharing stories, ideas, and teaching practices, which stirs up emotions, memories, just like a wobbly tooth.

At work, I’m interacting with a lot of people, I’m talking and listening, and while this doesn’t feed directly into my writing it helps me to feel part of life. Meeting people at work provides an outside influence, it draws me out of my head and into the real world, and it stirs up sparks of creativity within my mind. It also gives me a chance to help others and provides further purpose to my life.

It’s a complicated relationship between work and writing. I express myself differently at both places. But by realising these two areas of my life can work together in harmony is freeing.

I never thought work and writing could find a balance. But now, my ideas flow just as much whether I’m teaching or not and that’s a good position to be in.