Sunday, 23 July 2017

Creativity and Vulnerability

I'm an over-thinker!  I don't doodle, draw or journal - I just think.  I write whole blog posts in my head.  Or write a journal page in there.  But these thoughts don't leak out anywhere.  Not into a book, or the internet or into any piece of work.

So I've been thinking about why these thoughts don't escape.   I have empty notebooks that I've bought to write in but I don't write in them.

Why is that?

I've been exploring how to find my own voice - my unique style.  I've been reading books and articles about it.  I haven't done any work.  And then I read this in a book on creativity: 'I distrust styles.  To have a style is to be trapped!' (Milton Glaser)   What!

Back to the drawing board!  Or in my case, back to the over-thinking!

I wrote about taking Risks.  I haven't taken any recently.  I told you I seem to be risk averse.  However I do have a risk planned for next week!  Can you plan risk?  Or should taking a risk be more spontaneous?  There's something to think about!!!

In my blog post about the mentoring session I had with Christine Chester I wrote this:
One of the things we discussed was my feeling that I did too many workshops and the skills and techniques I learned didn’t translate into finished pieces. Christine wrote this in the tutorial notes: “One of the key shifts in perception is that process should be subordinate to your ideas – that does not mean that process is not important – far from it. But it does mean that you are making the idea the key feature, rather than the process. This should keep the communication of your idea clearer – either visually to an audience, or at least in your mind in light of having to write artists statements.” This is quite a shift in perception for me and I am still processing it.

And the thinking and the reading and the thinking and the writing things in my head has all been part of the processing and perception shift.

Some questions arose from all this thinking:
Why do I keep taking workshops to learn new techniques?
Why haven't I found my own voice yet?
What stops me finishing things?
What stops me starting things?
Why don't I stop thinking and get on with it?
Should I have a sketchbook, visual journal or logbook?

I was encouraged by Leah Higgins blog post where she said: ' I am not a sketchbook person. All my ideas have a long gestation period in my head before I let them loose on dye and cloth.'

I'm not the only one then!  Although she does start and finish pieces.

And then . . .

. . . . it came to me!

It's about commitment and vulnerability.

The answer to all those questions is commitment and vulnerability.  If I keep on doing technique classes then I don't have to put any of me into the samples.  I haven't found my creative voice because that would mean I have to invest some of me into it.  Probably all of me!  Even writing in a journal - which is for my eyes only - means showing up and being vulnerable.  Writing it down (or speaking it out) makes it more real.

And as for commitment - that means doing the stuff!  And that takes effort.  I draw back from things that take effort.  Which is odd because when I worked, I worked hard.  I put lots of effort into everything I did.  I can be fiercely loyal and determined.  Many people would say 'I go the extra mile' for them.  So why can't I do that for me?  For my creative work?  For my relationship with God? For my relationships with friends and family?

Looking for an image to go with this post I found this piece of artwork I did in March at a retreat.  Obviously the thinking has been going on for a while!

You might be thinking - and I've been thinking it too - if I'm so reluctant to make myself vulnerable in something as private as a personal journal, why am I writing this blog post?

Because I have to break out!  Make a breakthrough!  Allow myself to become more vulnerable - to invest in  my creative life and the rest of my life.  Break down the walls that I have built around myself.

And pressing publish on this blog is just the beginning.

Thank you for sticking with my disjointed meanderings today.

Where are you on your creative journey?

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 21 July 2017

20 days in North America: Art Journaling Workshop

My last post about our trip to North America is a return to creativity.  We had organised the whole trip around me being able to take an inperson class with Valerie Sjodin.  I had signed up for her online courses but it is so great to be able to be in the same room as the tutor.

The workshop began on the Friday evening playing with paints and shaving cream.  First we looked at the paints we had taken with us.  Or in my case - had nipped into Blicks and bought on our arrival in Portland!  Lots of photos coming up.

Some of my painted papers.

Preparing the shaving foam and paint.

The scrapings from the shaving cream prints.

Over the next two days, Valerie showed us different techniques and we all worked at our own rate producing very different books.

Shaving cream prints


I sewed the pages of the book together.  I drew through a stencil on the cover.

I didn't like the green stencilled page so I stuck one of the sheets od Deli paper over it.

I really struggled with this centre page.  You will see what I ended up with later.

Valerie was available the whole time to encourage and to suggest ideas.  Many of her journals were on display so you could find ideas.  Here are the pages of my finished book.

I ended up cutting out circles from the very first paper we painted and then using a Michelle Ward stencil to doodle over the top.  It reminded me of the Chihuly glass we'd seen.

This is my favourite page.

And here's everyone's books opened at their favourite page.

Thank you Valerie and everyone else for such a great weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

20 days in North America: Cannon Beach & Astoria

The last part of our North America safari was a couple of days at the Oregon Coast.  We stayed two nights in Cannon Beach and spent a whole day in Astoria.  Be prepared for a 'foto fest'!

The view from our hotel balcony.

We went for a walk along the beach and met this guy.

The famous Haystack Rock

 The view from the front door of our hotel room.

Keith drove us to Astoria stopping on the way at Fort Clapton.

Then to Astoria Column with its 165 steps.  And yes, I climbed to the top!

Worth it for the view - even if it was a bit grey and hazy!

The spiral staircase


In Astoria itself there was this tram car chugging up and down.

Astoria has a Maritime Museum - so guess where we went!  Yep - round the museum.  However in one part there were these computer screens.  The images reminded me of textiles.

After lunch we visited the Flavel House.

Back at Cannnon Beach later in the evening, Roger and I walked along the beach.  There were several people with campfires.

 Next morning Roger went for a stroll.

On our way home we went to a viewpoint to see along the coastline.

We had the most amazing time while we were away.  We went to so many places and saw so many things.  We visited our good friends and laughed and laughed.  Even with so much time away I was reluctant to come home.

Coming up: normal service is resumed.  A blog post on something creative!

Thanks for stopping by.