This month has taken me by surprise. The challenges of 2020, taken in my stride, have left me discombobulated. Some how, there are now Christmas chocolates in the supermarket aisles and yet I have barely registered the changing months. Six months of all being at home, juggling work, encouraging studying, managing relationships. It's been intense! In August I let myself off the hook and rolled towards the new school term. Last week we started the adjustment back to 'normality' - mindful that it may not last long and building in the spaces if the children need to be at home again.
What has this meant for my creativity? Well - it's not burning! I'm accepting that this is okay, and that I need a level of balance to get going in the studio. So I am currently creating that. I have lists and timetables so I know that I have got work obligations covered. And I have drawn up a family plan of chores so that I know that I have some time to myself - to rest or read, or sneak down to the studio. I think all I can do at the moment is create the space and be kind to my creative soul - support her wellbeing. Really she is screaming for freedom, for a long empty beach, for a landscape that takes her breath away - filled with sunlight and magic. She is craving a city break - to drink coffee and watch the world go by, to stare at art on the walls of beautifully designed buildings. *sigh*
So what can I do when I feel the constraints of life in the time of Covid-19 and the restrictions of the new school term? For me it comes back to mindfulness. It is about making the space to create and setting myself small goals. I'm making time to read books that support my creative wellbeing. I may feel like I am treading water but I think when creative block hits you have to take small steps forwards. My students on my 'Make a Sketchbook' course have inspired me to join them in making a new book. As the teacher I have shown them the stages but taking off my teacher hat and putting on my artist hat I want to create a sketchbook that is layered and rich - that starts to bring some fabrics through onto paper - usually I keep them separate.
I remind myself that my whole ethos of creativity is based around nurturing all my senses, not just the visual and that all expressions of making - stitching, drawing, stitching and baking help build our confidence to create. My free 'Five Steps to Creativity' tells you more.
We get rusty at creating - we undermine ourselves before we begin. And we expect results - fast!! My superpower may be 'Nurturing Creativity' but my weakness is impatience. And that can mean I feel like I have failed before I have started. Is this part of the creative spirit? Do you recognise yourself in that mindset? I think the transformation comes when I find some balance and make the time. Transformation comes when I take my focus off the endpoint and look for projects that unlock me. Transformation comes when I start small, be patient with myself - quieten the negative voices and keep showing up for myself.
My courses aim to help you with this transformation - to nurture you through creative block and give you those small steps where you show up at the page and by increments find your creative mojo! There's 'Make a Sketchbook', 'Fearless Drawing' (for when you think you can't), and modules in extended drawing, print, and nature. They can be taken as single courses to pep you up and get you going, or jigsawed together to build your skills and confidence.
Many think of drawing as an exercise in and of itself - an aiming for the end point of having a drawing. I think of it as a processing of ideas, collecting marks and shapes. It's a dance between looking and gesture - a dance with the paper. The enjoyment comes from finding a balance between brain, eye and hand. For me the goal is absorption in the process. In turning up at the page again and again, your body starts to engage with the world around you and become a conduit for making mark and creating art. Was it Warhol who said that it wasn't for us to judge art - but to turn up and make it?
I know for myself that September has crept up fast and my focus is on settling everyone back into their routines. But my heart is in the studio and by increments I am going to unlock, re-balance and get going again. Who is going to join me?