I was going to write a blog post about 'Back to school', about sharpening your pencils, getting some drawing done and booking up a workshop for the Autumn. But I have found myself with something else to say.
I have just done two weekends at selling events (The Wirksworth and Melbourne Art Trails). They are my best local shows for selling art and promoting my workshops and art retreat. Unfortunately they come back to back, just after the start of term and this year I felt tired out even before the weekend started! Funds were low after the summer holiday with my kids, and the catalogue of uniform, school shoes and trainers they needed for the new school term.
After seven years of exhibiting and selling, I found myself questioning what I was doing it for. I found it hard to be positive and to wait for the sales to come. I'd set myself a target of what I wanted to earn over the two weekends and I felt frustrated that it was raining, or not busy enough. I wanted to be paid for what I do, the hours I put in. I wanted the transaction to be financial.
In her book, 'The Art of Asking', Amanda Palmer explores how as a musician, she came out of a contract with a record label to be her own boss and promote herself. She talks about the art of asking, the vulnerability, the fear, and the faith. You can see her talk about this in her TED talk here.
A few hours into the Wirksworth Festival, a lady came to see me who has been many times over the last seven years. She bought my 'Summer Sketchbook'. And then, as she turned to go, she quietly said to me, 'Keep on doing what you do, it brings a lot of joy.' and that brought a lift to my whole soul.
What she reminded me is that the transaction of what I do isn't primarily financial (though I need money to keep my kids alive!). The transaction is about Joy, about Love.
We live in strange times. I was asked this week what my ambitions were for my creative business. And I had to think hard. A tired heap after the weekend, my first response, wasn't that I want to be rich. It was that I want to succeed in keeping on, keeping on. I want to bring joy to others through the transaction of shared creative, talking about life and talking about art. I think that peace starts from within, and on this International Day of Peace I want everyone to have the opportunities that I have to study what they want, to fulfil their potential and to have the freedom to create and to express themselves.
The world seems a very fragile place at the moment. Two days ahead of todays International Day of Peace, Donald Trump gave his first address to the United Nations with a speech that was very much not about peace. As the world is ravaged by the effects of climate change and peoples' lives become more about survival than about self-expression I question how my life can make a difference. What is art for? For me, it's a peace from within. Making art is making peace. Sharing art is sharing peace. Creating a small business is about living in an ethical way.
At a networking event I had a conversation with some fellow creatives about our social media feeds. We'd noticed an upsurge in followers on Instagram and a lull in activity on Facebook. A conversation followed that Instagram is so pretty, it is an edited view of the world - visual and visceral. Facebook on the other hand is less edited, it's the good bad and the ugly of life. It shows us those who are suffering and it is easy to reach overload and despair. But those people who are suffering, deserve us to look into the window into their world, deserve to be witnessed. And it is painful to watch, but we must and we must do what we can to make the world a better place. For some that is financial contributions, some go and offer direct aid. And some of us quietly offer a drop of joy in a painful world.
You are welcome to join me, for a workshop where we can celebrate creativity and self expression and spend time doing little harm to the world. And without you, I can't be me. So, on this International day of Peace I wish you peace, and the strength to see the world for what it is but to live with vision and joy.
Some sensory inspiration for your creativity this September: