Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spring: giving the rotten a new positive life...

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge theme was "Spring" and after a busy few days caused me to miss  Paint Party Friday I wanted to make sure I didn't miss this challenge as well. Spring inspired many ideas in my mind but it was the idea of beautiful new life rising from rotten winter mulch that led me to my submission. I've recently been having problems with my medication which has been causing me a fair amount of worry and discomfort. So as I looked at blister packs (some of which are shown below)....

...I had an idea to create something new and positive out of the empty packets. Using the packets above, an unused sealed syringe (the needle was sealed off but, even still, don't try this at home), Pebeo & Decoart acrylics and one Pitt pen (for the branches) - here is a picture story of what I did:

The smallest tablets seemed to make the most delicate blossom. The squashed bottoms of the blister packets created interesting shapes.

Repeated stamping, without every time adding new paint, helped create texture (in the simplest sense).

The plunger on the syringe made neat circles with its smooth plastic head. Whilst the sealed needle cap/protector had an interesting pattern.

 The sharp edges of these packets created blades of grass & blended the ground a little.

Obviously the end result is the picture at the start of this post. Its made me feel really good to turn an ugly experience into something prettier. The result is a simple and basic representation of the pretty blossom trees I love to see at this time of year. But, to me, it's symbolic of the way creativity helps me deal with life's challenges. And I always like to transform a negative into a positive wherever possible!

  • How do you use creative activity to transform experiences and give things new life?

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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Shamrocks & the magic of journaling...

The theme for this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge was St Patrick's Day. Yesterday evening I sat & doodled this shamrock mandala. Hopefully it conjures up the spirit of the day. The nondescript colour that the scanner couldn't recognise is gold - so in reality it looks gilded & shiny. But as I know my visitors have great imaginations I'm sure you can imagine that part :-)

Both yesterday and today I've been reminded of the magical quality of journaling. At the moment there's a few things to battle health & medication wise, details of which I have no intention of boring you with. What's important is how a couple of hours alone with my journal the past couple of mornings helped me untangle my indecision, put my worries in perspective, realise the true root of my fears and feel energised, empowered and positive. Does this sound far fetched? I guess it does, even to me, but truly sometimes just emptying my thoughts/worries/stress onto paper can have a magical transformation even I don't fully understand. It seems to me that I think better through writing and that as I lose myself through free writing my unconscious is free of the shackles of the chattering mind. Coupled with doodling or some form of art work I feel even better. Creative activity, writing, painting, doodling etc... acts as form of meditation practice in that it releases me from the eternal chatter of my mind & helps me connect to a calmer intuitive part of me.

  • Do you ever use your creative work for meditation and self-development? Please share your experiences if you feel able. 

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Friday, 18 March 2011

Paint Party Friday & a new paint venture...

Today is the first day of the Paint Party Friday challenge. Yesterday afternoon having finished the above painting I took the brave decision to open my Etsy shop to sell some of my small paintings. It will be the first time I've put anything up for sale on Etsy and bar one painting I recently sold privately I am new to putting my paintings out into the world. Needless to say it is quite nerve jangling!  So far I've done three 7x5 inch paintings but hope to do some larger mixed media like the one I recently sold. Its been a tough week health wise and it is at these low energy times that my confidence tends to lack even more. So I feel quite proud that despite this I took this step with my painting. And it feels good to share this experience on the first ever Paint Party Friday challenge.

  • What new creative challenge have you attempted recently?
  • How have you had to battle nerves/anxiety in your creative work? Please share; I love to read your stories.
  • Today's optional creative challenge: try something new.

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Black, White & Pink ....

It was my Birthday on Wednesday and I was lucky to have a week of celebrating by spending time with family and friends. Being busy has exhausted me a little and I wasn't going to enter this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge. But then I thought I'd create an image and do just a ten minute writing exercise. I just hope I'm not too late to submit. The following is the unplanned unedited result of writing for ten minutes on the theme of black, white and pink, and using the above image I created:

I got to keep the club house flag after we had to leave 'Grove House'. The move was sudden; only half a day's warning left us just enough time to convene in our club house and swear to find each other again one day. None of us knew where we were going but in our eight year old naivety we held firm the belief we would find each other again. Our club house was an old lean to shed down by the river. We'd patched up the holes and gaps with cardboard and branches. We made a flag by drawing on an old white sheet with marker pens. Black white and pink. My favourite colour was pink, James' was black and Ollie's was white. The flag brought us together and represented our commitment to each other after having grown up together in the failing Victorian mansion. We'd been told we were special and the night we were all taken away to separate destinations we were told we were in danger and must hide, must behave, must do as our guardians told us. 
         Sitting on the cross country train today I take the crumpled foot square of material from my coat pocket and imagine seeing Ollie in less than half an hour and for the first time in twenty years. Our contact so far has been brief, coded and secret. I wonder what he will look like, where he's been and if he knows anything about what has happened to James. All I know is that he feels it is important that we meet......

So actually that was 12 minutes! Okay, I must dash to see if I can get included in this week's submissions. Despite feeling unwell just a short burst of creativity has already cheered me no end! Timed writing exercises and doodles are two good ways for me to inject a short burst of creativity into a day when I feel energy depleted. 
  • On days when you're lacking in energy or time - what are your favourite ways to include a short burst of creative activity?

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Saturday, 5 March 2011

"Celestial themes & creating without expectations..."

This week’s Inspiration Avenue challenge theme was ‘celestial’. This is my entry created using acrylic paint & ink on canvas paper. I experimented, learnt from a few mistakes but really enjoyed the process of creating this. 

The latter part of this week it has been as if the Universe has been sending me and others a loud message. Some friends & I have had (separate) experiences that have challenged our self confidence and self image. The details must remain private but towards the end of the week I’ve doubted myself.  These instances got me thinking about the courage it can take to share our creative work and to reveal our true selves in the art/writing/music we create.

If we play it safe and create just what we think others would approve of our efforts may lack authenticity.  If we rely on approval then we may create with the idea of pleasing others and this can cause us to freeze and feel blocked.  Perhaps we may imagine that by not fully expressing ourselves we’ll be protected from hurtful criticism. Of course, the folly is that if we never allow ourselves freedom of expression then we hurt ourselves and our creative output. 

Today I reread the interview Shannon did with me for her Free Spirit Spotlight and laughed at myself for having already known this but having to relearn it again this week. Life offers its gentle (and not so gentle) reminders ;-)  My advice is to look within, trust your intuition and allow yourself the freedom to create whatever you want to in that moment without expectation or restriction. If you make a living by creating for a certain market with certain guidelines that’s fine but allow your creative self regular times to let loose outside of these parameters. Write, paint, scribble, play, dance, sing or whatever takes your fancy even if the result is self indulgent, out of tune or indecipherable. Who cares? Because the funny thing is you’ll almost certainly learn from this experience and likely be inspired to create something further.
  • When was the last time you created with wild abandon and with no expectations?

Go on give it a try. Allow yourself the freedom to create anything and in any way! If you do, let me know how you get on. 

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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A weekend of fun & inspiration by the sea....

Above: Looking towards our hotel from near Pendennis castle

After two weeks of a fluey virus followed by half term school holidays I was more than ready for our girly weekend away. Five of us girls, all very good friends, went away for the weekend to celebrate a 40th Birthday. We got an excellent deal at a lovely hotel in Falmouth Cornwall and had a fabulous time. The inclusive food was divine, service excellent, location heavenly and the company fantastic. The next couple of photos show the stunning panoramic sea view we had from our room's balcony:

 Early on day two I took the following photo from my bed:

I could quite happily live permanently with a view from my bed like this. During the night we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves breaking on the sandy beach (also helped by the wine & large portions of food ;-) ).
Below is the five of us lounging in my room with a huge box of chocolates:

In the mornings the others made use of the health spa gym and swimming pool. I wasn't able to participate as I needed a little more rest than them. But I was very happy sipping coffee, doodling, and taking photos on the balcony whilst they were gone. When my room mate returned from the pool she snapped this photo of me doodling in the sun:

 And here is the doodle I was drawing at that particular time:

I have returned from this weekend exhausted but very happy, inspired and grateful to have such wonderful friends. Thanks for humouring me as I shared this special experience.

In other news I've been interviewed by the wonderful Shannon as part of her Free Spirit spotlight interviews. You can find the interview and her inspiring creative blog here. Be lovely to see you over there.

For this weekend I packed my current book (The Golden City by John Twelve Hawkes), doodle pad, pens, writing notebook and camera because despite nearly all my time being with the girls I just have to have some creative supplies for capturing moments and inspiration. 

  • Which creative supplies do you travel with?

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