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May - Enjoy your creative life

On a few of my workshops recently, all focused on creating sketchbooks, the conversation has been about using your sketchbook to maintain your creative flow. This moved us on to a discussion about the process of your work. Without an enjoyment of process, you can't enjoy your creative output. for me, once the process becomes functional and formulaic, I lose the enjoyment of creating. I kind of feel the same about life! And it is the new adventures, the new projects that keep life interesting! All that stimulation feeds into my creativity, keeping the well of creativity topped up allows me to keep creating. But giving myself permission to explore the new, have playdates and adventures isn't always easy!

So far this year my focus has been on travel as I have been developing my online Travel Sketchbook course. Having young children limited where I was prepared to travel to, as well as limiting funds to go but as they have grown, (and continue to grow at an alarming rate!) I want them to have some of the opportunities I had to experience different places.

Me! circa 1981 in Northern France

Whenever I go somewhere new I immediately feel more creative. I take enjoyment in all the sensory newness - food, places, smells and sounds. I want to capture the place and bottle it! There's the getting away from the mundane, being able to focus on myself and get rest and good food, and there are the new ideas that start to foment.

But we can't always get away. Circumstances change, we have responsibilities, so how do we get our creative fix without needing a round the world ticket?!

Timetable play dates. These can be at home with some creative time to splash paint about with no end goal in mind or it can be a gallery date or a trip to the cinema to see an obscure Georgian film with subtitles!!

Do something differently. We all get stuck in a rut. Just choosing something we wouldn't normally choose can be freeing. Pretend to be French for the day...wear your dark glasses and best red lipstick and drink black coffee!

Take some time off at home. When I'm tired my creativity disappears. In winter it goes quiet and in summer my Creativity demands to be listened to but I get tired out. Book yourself some early nights. Get off Pinterest for a week. Take yourself for naps and gentle walks.

Put your tourist hat on in your local area. I am always in a rush to get somewhere and get stuff done, but booking some time off in your local town or city you get to be a tourist, visit the museum, go to the hidden gem that someone recommended.

Oh, and whilst you are treating yourself, you could honour your inner creative with a place on my online Travel Sketchbook course. :)

To finish the filming on the sketchbook course, we had a family trip to Gozo at Easter. It was such a lovely time to get away and wake up the senses. I loved the sense of sun worn age to everything, the bleached stone and the peeling paintwork.

There was a rich source of inspiration for sketching that suited my mixed media approach using paint, collage and pattern.

And led to a new series of work capturing the essence of the place.

Getting out, away from the suction of home reconnects us with our creativity but also with humanity. When I travel I talk to people. People want to know where you are from, what you're doing (when you're drawing). They are proud to tell you the best bits of where they live and my faith in humanity is restored. Get out there, I can really recommend it! :)

You can read an interview with travelling sketcher Tracy Cupitt on my blog. Be might be inspired to take off! If you read it and get the wanderlust, you might enjoy watching this film, Expedition Happiness....

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