Friday, 26 August 2011

A Creativity Hiatus (and what to do if you have one)


I am in the middle of a Creativity Hiatus.  I think this one has occured quite naturally from the drowsy gentle August we've been having here.  When a Creativity Hiatus descends, nothing much gets done and there's no inclination to do anything either - for me I'm talking about painting or drawing or writing (my e-book).  
I walk past my current WIP and I don't feel the itch to get stuck in again...

...I just feel a calmness and a quiet knowledge that the time to come back to it will present itself soon enough.  There is no panic, no urgency.

I see my bookshelves, crammed with creative reading material, business books, inspirational books...

...and I feel no need or desire to be reading them right now.  It's a system shut down and I am happy to potter and trust that this quiet lull is a very necessary part of the creative process.

I used to get pretty frustrated and peed off when my Mojo left town.  That's how I used to describe it when I felt that all my creative energy had drained away, that there was nothing there apart from an inexplicable emptiness.  It used to terrify me if I'm honest.

And so I used to force myself to create stuff.  I'd get my paints out and think 'right, today is Painting Day.  My Mum has my daughter, I have to paint something!!'
I would sit there surrounded by my paints, my brushes, my paper and I would stare at it all and feel completely unmotivated.  My mind would be a blank, as blank as the paper in front of me and I would feel tension creeping over me, a mild panic settling in my belly as I realised that nothing was coming. 

Needless to say, I would maybe half heartedly begin a painting but it didn't work out right and I ended up feeling worse than I had done before.  Now I felt hopeless as well as unmotivated.  Yuck.

There is an easy way to deal with a Creativity Hiatus, to make it easier on yourself.  Here's what I've discovered:

Go with the flow.
Allow the quiet parts when nothing happens - let go of the panic and know your creativity will return soon enough.
Don't try and force yourself to be creative - it's a non starter and guaranteed to make you feel worse than before.
Relax and do other stuff, take the time it takes.  It's all OK.

A Creativity Hiatus usually occurs before something Big is about to manifest.  I began to notice a pattern occuring as I thrashed my way through these deserts of emptiness; that despite the quiet, the lack of enthusiasm, the lack of inclination, the lack of energy it all of a sudden one day Happened again.  And it happened in a Big Way.

The quiet time was eventually rewarded with a new opportunity, with a brand new idea, with a new direction.  It resulted in a new wave of energy and a surge of enthusiasm and inspiration.  It always ended in a positive way which is why I now trust a good outcome when it happens to me.

A Creative Hiatus is a necessary part of the creative journey, and I hope this post has helped those of you journeying through your own.

Wishing you all a glorious weekend ~ sending love
Julia x x x

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Delicious August


At long last I manage to find a few moments during this full to bursting month to sit down and write a blog post!  How are you?  I hope you're having a glowing August!
It's been a while since I was in Blogland; I've been here, there and everywhere you see ~ a spot of camping, time with visiting family, out with friends, play dates...oh my it's been a rather pleasant whirlwind of lovely things and I must confess to not getting much done in the way of Work or crochet.
Speaking of which, and assuming you have noticed the rather enticing snapshot of those curly skeins of wool at the top of this post, you might be wondering 'Another Project?? What can she be up to now!'

Let me explain :D

I confess I gave into temptation and purchased (as a Holiday Gift to myself, as you do) some of that gorgeously soft Debbie Bliss Andes wool...oh how very dreamy it is!  Perhaps one of the nicest yarns I have ever had the pleasure of being able to buy.  It's not cheap no, not by any means but sometimes a girl has to indulge in a little luxury and I must admit to feeling like a child in a sweet shop as I was choosing the colours!  I have plans to make a cosy Winter Scarf and I'm very much looking forward to choosing the exact pattern for it (still in a quandry about that to be honest!).  I'll keep you posted, but in the meantime I'm pleased that my Japanese Flower Scarf is literally just a hand~full of flowers away from being finished...

Here it is, draped over the sofa and I'm really delighted with how it's coming along.  I might have got this finished had I taken it on my recent camping trip to Northumberland, but alas I FORGOT MY CROCHET STUFF!!! Oh dear, HUGE heart sinking moment as several miles up the M1 I realised my mistake.  Nothing like a nice bit of hooky by the sea, but it wasn't meant to be this time.  However, we were more than occupied by our destination when we arrived, filling our days with marvellous things...let me show you:

We took a boat trip to the beautiful and lonely Farne Islands...

In the bright morning sunshine, seals basked lazily on the rocks as we sailed by...

...and mooring up on Inner Farne, we were able to tiptoe up to the cliff edge to witness a Mama and her fluffy brood on the nest.  The guide told us that there were many birds using the Farnes as a resting place during their migrations at this time of year.  It really is such a peaceful and special part of the world.

Back on dry land we enjoyed the miles of white sandy beaches, paddling in the crystal clear seas...

 ...and not without company!  Curious Eider ducks decided to come and meet us, my daughter was completely entranced by them (as was I, they came so very close).

Evenings were spent at the tent, wrapped in blankets sipping hot chocolate in our mugs whilst watching Mother Moon rise; a soft apricot globe in a dusky blue August sky...

...or at our lovely local pub, The Jolly Fisherman at nearby Craster...

...isn't this one of the best views to enjoy a nice crisp pint of local beer with?
A walk past the harbour and beyond was a nice way to walk off our tea too - if you're ever in the area I cannot say how good the food is at this place and highly recommend you drop in and enjoy it!

So here we are back home again.  And when the weather is dry we've been out walking in the most glorious late summer scenery.  Our moorland heather has suddenley burst into bloom and it's the most outrageously beautiful purple this year.  There is mile upon mile of the stuff and it is heart stoppingly beautiful.  I feel very lucky to have this all on my doorstep to enjoy :)

And so, August melts dreamily away and soon it will be September.  Soon it will be time for school runs and uniforms again.  I have loved every minute of these holidays; rainy days spent indoors building dens out of the clothes horse and old travel rugs, playing Snap and Pairs for hours on the living room floor, spontaneous picnics, camping, painting, planting, baking, walking, having family to visit and tasty barbecues infused with laughter and joy...Simple, wonderful, glorious summer holidays.

I shall miss them, yet I shall remember them for a long time to come.  I hope your August has been one to remember.

Sending you love, thanks so much for dropping by;

Julia x x x

Friday, 5 August 2011

Seedheads and Seashore

Hello friends,

I'm in the middle of a new painting which was inspired by seedheads, I started to notice them on my travels as July melted warmly into August.  There are architectural shapes appearing in the hedgerows and the skeltons of cow parsley sway in the sunshine next to the first (early) blackberries.  There are voluptuous poppy seedheads in my garden, full to bursting with next years harvest and I don't know about you, but I am all of a sudden finding myself caught unawares some mornings by the whisperings of late summers arrival.  It's a gentle infiltration of feelings and signs that come now and then; a slightly lower sun casting shorter shadows, leaves turning that dry, faded green, and a wistfulness that passes in a moment so brief, you wondered if you imagined it as another warm and dry August day unfolds...

So all this got me thinking about my next painting; out came the sketchbook and a coastal drawing emerged from my imagination.  I'm working on a much larger scale for this painting, and after marking out my space I put down a rough background wash:

I like having a base colour to work from. There are two reasons for this: the first is that it is easier for me to start work on a coloured background rather than a stark white one, and secondly it provides a wonderful depth to the painting on top.  You could try it yourself, using different colours.  

Once the background colour is dry, I draw my picture onto it using watercolour crayon.  This allows any lines to dissolve into the work as I paint.  Here's a glimpse of the work in progress, I'm really pleased with how it's coming along and I'm also enjoying working with a slightly limited colour palette for a change!

 Maybe some of you will see this painting and feel that you recognise the location.  I have a habit of doing this with some of my work; integrating my memory of a place into the painting so that although it is not the actual place (as in that it's not drawn exactly from a picture or photograph), you get a strong feel for where it might be all the same.

This picture is being painted in acrylics.  I find myself using a rather dry, almost scrubby way of painting in places, and then layering over with almost translucent, watered down paint to create luminous glazes.  I'll share more with you as the work unfolds :)

Most of you who are familiar with my little blog, will know that I have a weakness and a love affair with the coast, and despite being landlocked in a village just north of Sheffield I like to go as often as I possibly can to get my 'fix'.
Last week I stayed with my sister in Suffolk, and we took ourselves off to the beach for the day...

...can any of you guess where this might be?

It's a tiny little place called Sea Palling in Norfolk and it reminded me very much of childhood holidays on the east coast. There's a long and winding lane, flanked by tipsy old fashioned telegraph poles that leads into the heart of the village which is a cluster of little buildings nestling at the base of the dunes.  There's a couple of houses, a B&B, a small amusement arcade, a chip shop and caravan park, and then there is a ramp leading right off the road which you walk up and then there is the beach.

Norfolk has the most amazing beaches.  Most people tend to grimace slightly when you mention the North Sea, imagining it to be a cold, disgustingly brown affair that you wouldn't let your dog paddle in.  This part of the coast has mile upon mile of creamy, fudgy coloured sand, and crystal clear water.  I was utterly seduced by the simplicity of the place: dune grasses, sand, a huge expanse of sky, and turquoise water as far as the eye could see.

There were lots of starfish on the beach, beautiful peachy orange ones of all sizes.  It was one of those days where we paddled too deep and got our dresses wet, but didn't care too much; and we went home late with sand in our hair and didn't mind too much about that either.

It was one of those days I shall remember for a long time.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough!  Before I end, I'd just like to tell you about my little Book Shop which you can see in the sidebar there.  I've put together a collection of my most inspiring and favourite books and you can now buy them directly through my little 'shop' via Amazon!  

I wish you all a happy, and sunny weekend.  Looking forward to catching up with you and your blogs, and to seeing what the participants of the Being Creative Project Group have posted in the gallery so far!

Thanks for stopping by today, hugs and love
Julia x x x

Monday, 1 August 2011

Being Creative Gallery Check In ~ July

Hello and a belated but warm welcome to the July Gallery for the Being Creative Group.

I'm just back home from a little holiday down at my sisters and am doing a rather quick blog post so you have somewhere to link your gorgeous work from!  I'm looking forward to seeing your contributions this month, and will be adding mine in due course (I'm typing this out in between bundling loads of washing on and unpacking a tremendous amount of bags - sure we didn't take that much stuff with us!).

Anyway, the theme for July was 'Summer' - I've already enjoyed seeing some of your creations in our Flickr group.  For those of you who have just signed up to the group, you are welcome to join the Flickr group too.  This is a useful way of sharing what you have done if you don't have a blog or access to share your pictures with us any other way.

You can use the link tool at the bottom of this post to share links to your Flickr page or blog page - just copy and paste the URL to create a direct link that allows others to see your creations!  The gallery for the July theme will be open until the 31st of August for you to post your links, you can also find gallery pages for previous months in the side bar. 

I must apologise if this post seems a little rushed - indeed it is!  I was actually due home yesterday but we were delayed by a sudden heatwave and took off to the Norfolk coast instead of coming home (naughty naughty).  I've heaps to catch up on so I'm going to leave it short and sweet for now - normal service will be resumed for next months gallery page, where you will be able to share work for the August theme of TRAVEL.  I'll be posting out an e-letter for subscribers of the Being Creative Project Newsletter during August with tips and creative support for this months theme.  If you haven't signed up already and would like to, it's free to do so and you will also receive a free mini creativity e-book!  Just fill in the subscription form on the Being Creative page (tab at the top of the page).

If you are new to the group or have any questions, please get in touch!

Sending love,
Julia x

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