Thursday, 8 May 2014

New habits

Have you ever got so caught up with your creative direction that you become blinkered to change or to doing things differently? You know what works for you so you stick to your tried and tested success recipe? It's so easy to slip into a comfortable and familiar way of working, it feels good and it works for you, and you do it so often it becomes second nature. This can be great, the work flows and everything seems rosy. I feel this has been me for the last few years, I got into a groove and went with it, I've had a fab time, and have achieved lots more than I ever thought I would. But what happens when you start feeling stale, unfulfilled or just plain bored with what you are doing? You lose one of your magic ingredient, and the recipe you have been working with no longer works for you....

Well, you know the expression 'a change is as good as a rest'? I think it just might be true. The course I'm currently taking (Unearth, Gather, Create) has un-blinkered me - the prompts and tasks I have done so far are stretching me to work and think in ways I haven't before and I'm loving it. Writing, for example, has never really been part of my creative process, unless of course you count the endless lists I used to compile for myself on a weekly basis. This was writing but in its most practical sense!! 

Unearth, Gather, Create is encouraging me to incorporate creative writing and journaling into my practice, something I initially really struggled with. Remember that beautiful leather bound journal I mentioned a while ago? I've been using that to write in, but seem to have been going round in circles with the things I was saying and it seemed pointless. Something in this process seemed to be jarring and not quite coming naturally and it was niggling away at me. Then one of the lesson prompts seems to just make it click into place. 

My practical side was battling with the creative side - I wasn't writing the things I thought I 'should' be, but I couldn't work out what it was I 'should' be writing. When the penny finally dropped, I realised that there isn't really a prescribed formula to this writing lark, everyone is unique, and you just have to try to find the formula that works for you, so I decided to just start making notes from the tutorials, and plans and ideas soon came tumbling out onto the paper... Then the lightbulb went on and I realised I was doing it, just writing.... creatively.... No disjointed unsatisfactory feelings of inadequacy, just writing.
So, my point is, after my rather long winded explanation, I've now formed a new habit of writing as part of my creative process and I think it is helping, with the thought provoking prompts from Gillian, to help me for the jigsaw pieces of my own creativity back together in a new and exciting way. I can't way to see what it will look like when it's completed....

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Why I enrolled on an ecourse...


Have you ever thought that ….
  • you don’t have any ideas to develop work from
  • you have difficulty knowing where or how to begin in developing your own style.
  • you want to expand your own personal language in mark-making and expression.
  • you want to go beyond being inspired by other artists but think everything has been done before.
  • you want to develop your own unique style and create art that you are deeply connected with.
  • you have the skills to create art, but it no longer excites you.

These words spoke to me!! This was the opening statement for the Ecourse I enrolled on earlier this year. The timing was perfect, I'd decided to have a few months away from the work I had been doing, and I thought this was the ideal tool to help me achieve some perspective during 2014. I will admit, yes I was sceptical, having never participated in such a course before, I didn't know how it would all work and whether I could even achieve any of the above within the allotted time, but I thought I'd take a chance and treat myself anyway.

Having gathered my materials, nervously anticipated the first week of lessons and started to work my way through the tasks and exercises I can say it has already got me to think about my art and creativity in ways I never have before. It has been like going back to school. Gillian's style of teaching makes it so easy to connect with what she has set out to achieve with this course, and I'm finding myself listening to the tutorial ideas, making notes and setting out my goals and ideas for the course.

Last week, after I got back from Wales is decided to go right back to the beginning and started to explore the mark making lesson. It was great to get my hands dirty and rediscover the contents of my cupboard. It felt like Christmas had come again as I started to unearth my stash of art supplies, most of which had been long forgotten as my obsession with black ink and white paper had grown over the past couple of years. There has been no space for dirty finger marks and dust and smudges in my studio with the work I had been making recently so it felt a bit strange to break out the charcoal and blending sticks, pastels and erasers and just make some marks onto paper. But the more I did, the more I realised what I have been missing and it felt amazing to start to see that there is more to my creative direction than intricate ink, pristine and precise line. So already you can see what a difference this course could potentially make to me.... I'll be blogging about it as I go.... Feel free to join me!!

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