Caring for Creativity.

There is a lot of discussion around self-care at the moment. A lot of information about how to look after ourselves when things get tough. And, I just want to add to that conversation when it comes to looking after our creativity.

I don’t have a huge amount of time each day to work in my creative area. Usually my days are packed with work, family, friends, commitments… you know what I’m talking about. All the life stuff. So when I do get a morning or a few hours, or even occasionally a whole day, it’s pretty special to me. I guard that time.

But sometimes and probably more than I’d like to admit, I’m not in the right headspace, or physically I’m lacking energy, or I tell myself I should be doing other things.

Like anything we engage in, we need to prepare. If I know I’ve got all Sunday to myself, I start to mentally psych myself up. I let myself get excited about the upcoming day. The anticipation builds, I’m telling my creative mind to get ready. Lately I’ve also been trying to keep myself physically prepared.

This might sound odd, especially if your creative field is sedentary; like writing on your laptop, or painting at your desk. However, mind and body go hand-in-hand, the connection is vital. Don’t underestimate how much the body affects our minds and in turn our creative output.

For the longest time I didn’t really put the two together. I thought about body image and being physically fit or a certain clothes size. Looking after my body, meant dieting or exercising in a way that didn’t suit me. However, my body is my vehicle and it allows me to be creative. I need to look after it so I can do the things I want and need to do in life. Yes, I’d rather eat cake than salad – I’m that type of person, but I’ve realised that the salad is going to help me get where I want to go – and it has NOTHING to do with my waist line. NOTHING.

I’m not a dieter, everything in moderation. But my thoughts around my body and looking after it has changed. If I look after it, it will in turn care for my creativity. And, creativity is one of my main focuses in life. So it’s important to me. It makes sense.

When I’m caught up in creativity and need a break, and want to scroll on my phone, I’ll take that 15min walk outside in the sunshine, or in the rain instead, because that is what my body needs. If, in the afternoon I’m hitting the wall, I’ll drink the green tea and eat a banana instead of the fourth coffee and chocolate bar. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s not about dieting it’s about looking after one of the most precious things I’ve been given. My body.

Please let me know what you do to keep up creative fitness. Catch you next time. xx

The Artist’s Way: Week 6

Check in: Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. However on one morning I wrote 2 pages… My creative writing, or thoughts about projects usually start to arise about 1.5 pages in each morning – before that it is all minor fears and gripes, fretting over all the nothings in life. I get that out of the way and then creativity starts to intrude. (Which is lovely)

I did my artist’s date this week. I took myself out to a second-hand book shop, that also sells amazing coffee, and sat and read. I ended up purchasing an art book on the life and work of painter Henri Matisse. Beautiful book and reading through it taught me a lot about process and dedication. It felt good to finally put some time into myself.

Again, I haven’t experienced synchronicity, but I’m not out and about doing things or having social interaction. It’s ‘lock-down’ and being in the world is a very different experience right now. I’m OK with this as my creative output has increased and I’m loving where these new ideas are going.

Reflection

Week 6 is difficult. Not gonna lie. This entire journey through ‘The Artist’s Way’ has been very up and down for me, but this week those peaks and valleys have hit a new level. With understanding why I’ve been blocked brings a sense of anger, and resentment at myself for not seeing what was right in front of me – ME.

On the other side – finally synchronicity is beginning to flow and some things are happening – all because of this course (will discuss this in next weeks blog), but very excited for it. I’m starting to find a freshness to my ideas, a curiosity and excitement I just haven’t had for SOOOO long. But with this is fear, seeing that is a good start – I know – but I also know there is some hard work to do.

Spent an evening listening to old vinyl and playing with plasticine

Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week 4 & 5

I didn’t write last week – life kind of took over and I just didn’t get to it. However, I’m now well into this course of Julia Cameron’s, so will give you the latest update.

Check in: Week 3: Recovering a sense of Power

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 morning pages. However, 2 morning I only wrote 2 pages as I was sick. The morning pages have become integral to my morning. They have become meaningful and creative. I am so grateful for starting this course and finding how incredible morning pages are.
  • Being unwell affected my week. I had planed out the artist’s date for Saturday, however woke up in excruciating pain and ending up in bed for the day.
  • I did not experience synchronicity this week but I am seeing myself and how my past has influenced how I engage with people and how I engage with creativity. A couple of things happened this week to open my eyes to this – so I guess a type of synchronicity.
  • What I have mainly learned from this week is to get out of bad habits and replace them with ones that serve me and my creativity.

Check in: Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 pages. Some of the mornings toward the end of the week became difficult – starting to feel a little scratchy.
  • I did not do my artist’s date. So haven’t been great at this exercise. Not sure why I’m finding this so challenging but will endeavour to do better.
  • Not feeling synchronicity – except in my creative writing.
  • Overall, I’m being a lot more creative. I didn’t realise how blocked I have become. The non-reading challenge has been so, so, tough and I have realised just how much time I waste on stupid stuff that is filling my brain with clutter. It’s like a dumping ground – no wonder I can’t create.

Reflection

The last couple of weeks have been very up and down. I’m absolutely creating more, but also feel at odds with myself a lot. I think it’s because I’m learning much more about how I operate, and how I create. I’ve put a lot of obstacles in my way and it has been tough to see some of them. But other times, I’m having more fun, I seem a bit lighter with myself, maybe more curious. So all in all, it is very challenging but very worth it.

Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Three

Check in: Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity

  • I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. On most mornings the writing naturally flowed and on several of those mornings it progressed into creative writing, which has given me hope to continue with this. However, I did not complete the artist’s date this week. I think going back into lock-down because of COVID–19, (second time round for Auckland, New Zealand), pushed me into a type of lethargy and I just couldn’t commit to anything. Which is silly, as there are plenty of things I can do and enjoy and be frivolous with, so the challenge this week is the ARTIST’S DATE!!!
  • I enjoyed the other activities I worked on, but probably didn’t put in quite as many hours as I did in the first week. However, I feel like I’m understanding what I need to create in a more sustainable way.

Reflection

This week has been interesting, I’m enjoying exercises more this week. They seem to focus on childhood and reflecting on childhood memories, especially to do with play and creativity. So this has inspired my Artist’s Date, I’m going to be a bit more youthful in my approach. I tend to get too serious too quickly about process and activities and forget about having fun. I’m not sure why. But realising this is a good step to get a bit more lighter with my creativity.

The other thing I have been doing everyday this week is a very quick portrait sketch of myself. Not in a literal sense, but rather trying to express how I’m feeling through the sketching process. Below are a couple of samples.

Also, I fell in love with this quote, and it’s been a bit of a mantra for me this week.

Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life. Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly anger is use-full.

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way p. 62

That’s it for this week. I hope you are all doing well. Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Two

I’ll start each week in this series by checking in with the past week.

Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety

  • I did 7 out of 7 morning pages. At first I found it difficult, but then suddenly creativity started to flow, for the first time in a long time. I didn’t feel as blocked as I have been feeling and I even started to think about filmmaking again as a possibility.
  • I completed my first ‘artist’s date’, which was watching a film at home due to COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland. I watched John Cassavettes, Faces (1968). Remarkable film, I have already watched this film several times but just felt like I needed to see this again. It reminded me about the use of ‘space’ in film, how to use it cinematically and also for storytelling purposes.
  • I also did a number of the other exercises, I wouldn’t say I did 1-2 hours a day, but I did my best.

Reflection

The first 3 days were really difficult. I just felt blocked and grudgingly did the exercises, thinking that it’s just another ‘self-help’ book and nothing would come of it. However, by day 4 something happened. I started to think about a character for my next film. I started writing!! I just haven’t done that for so long. And this time, I didn’t think about what the end product would be, I just enjoyed outlining who this person was. Just having that happen has changed my perspective and the rest of the week was nuanced with many little creative opportunities and moments. I’m not going to read too much into it, but it gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

Out of all the exercises, the morning pages are becoming more important, and I can imagine they will become a creative life-line for the future. I think it is these pages that are releasing some blocks, as my morning writing goes into all sorts of territory, which I just hadn’t expected – I guess it is allowing me to put my views, and feelings out there and just in doing that release things I’ve been holding onto. In week two there are more exercises to do, I like the ones with the pie-charts – I just like anything visual so got straight into them, however got stuck on the, 20 things I love to do… sounds so simple, but ended up putting in some dumb fillers, so I will attempt that one again.

This blog post by Madeleine Dore reflects her journey over the entire 12 week course. It’s a very perceptive piece on the entire course and reveals the unfolding journey Madeleine goes through. I’m only at the beginning, but it was really interesting moving along the 12 weeks with her in one read.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week One

After blogging everyday for July, I needed a break and a chance to reflect on what I want out of this blog. The main thing I want to do is engage in conversation about creativity. So, with that in mind, I’m starting the 12 week course using Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I will be discussing my learning adventure over the next 12 weeks into creativity using this book as a tool.

I started on Sunday, so my course weeks will be from Sunday to Sunday, although I will post mid-week. There is an enormous amount of reviews, and accounts on the web about this book, so I will endeavour to link something of value every week, along with my own review and reflections on the exercises. The first link is Julia talking with Russell Brand. This is relevant at the moment as they talk of being in lock-down due to COVID-19. Their discussion moves around, but it does show her thinking through artists issues right now and how to overcome them.

What I have learnt so far? Firstly, the morning pages. If you haven’t heard of these, they are the foundation of the course. This exercise consists of writing 3 pages every morning. There are no rules for these pages, you can put down anything that comes to mind. And, that is exactly what has been happening to me. I’ve only completed 4 mornings, but I just start jotting down anything that comes into my head until I fill up 3 pages. I haven’t done this long enough to reflect as yet. The next exercise is the artist date. Where you take yourself out to fill up your creative reserve, this is a weekly date so by the end of it I should have taken myself out 12 times. Brilliant idea – I just don’t know where I’m going to go, and how I will fit it in – so, we shall see.

That’s it. Just an introduction into what the next 12 weeks will focus on.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

31 July Blog

This is my last daily blog. I have missed a few days through the month, but I’m still pretty happy with my accomplishment. So instead of writing 800-1200 words once a week, I wrote just a small amount everyday during July.

It was a challenge, and more difficult than I first thought it would be. But I think challenges, whether they work out or not, are a great way to re-focus or refine what we are trying to do.

Over July I kept thinking – why am I blogging? What am I blogging for? I think because it was everyday it pushed me to hone in on the reason for starting this, and if I should keep going.

I started Kick last year, in October, as I wanted to inspire creativity, and also reflect on my own processes and thoughts when creating. My angle was to inspire the process of creativity over any product or outcome. And I’m still so passionate about this.

However, I think some of my blogs have got a bit off track – so I do need to re-focus and this challenge has taught me to stick to my initial reason for starting this.

So this is it. A little bit everyday for a month. Done.

Catch you next time.

30 July Blog

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle a lot lately and enjoying his discussions on being in the ‘Now’. To understand his idea of ego, I read this blog and it helped me a lot. It is not his blog, just a definition I found online.

I’ve been trying to stay present, and sometimes I can remain in the present, (on and off), for a time. But it is difficult, not something that is natural (yet), but I guess with more practice the discipline will become easier.

If I concentrate on my senses, it helps, and I’ve noticed I’m enjoying little moments a lot more, like; birds singing, sky, plant life, the warmth of sun through the window, texture of food – just moments. I was listening to a youtube video of Eckhart’s and he discusses his definition of gratitude – which I found so lovely. It is about 55mins along the timeline, so if you just want to hear that skip to that point. However, the whole video is worth a listen.

That’s all I want to say today. My month of blogging is almost over. Catch you tomorrow xx.

29 July Blog

In drawing class last night we attempted a ball with shadow. This was my first class. About 4 years ago I did a oil painting class but haven’t done anything since, other than my own little doodles.

Really nice to get back into the classroom as a student. Normally I teach, so to be on the other side of the table was a total joy. I recommend classes. Scare yourself.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 26 Blog

The creative process needs to have more value than the outcome, why, because if it doesn’t you reduce time into only being of worth if productive. Yesterday, I planned out a birthday card to paint. This birthday card is for a 6 year old boy and 6 year old boys, don’t really care for cards. So, this time of planning, designing and painting is absolutely about me engaging in process – a really good exercise in being present with your creativity.

I still have more to do on this, I want to put a ‘6’ on the car in blue glitter, and stencil ‘Happy Birthday’. I could easily purchase a card, (some people may think that my time is wasted), but the enjoyment in creating something is rewarding – you can’t purchase the process.

Catch you next week xx.

July 25 Blog

Saturday falls lightly into place. My footsteps,
feel youthful. I breathe easy. 
In the distance a bird cleans its wings in the angled light.

Saturday has potential. It is spacious. Thoughts can be moved about
at an easy pace. 
The breeze curiously enters the house.

Saturday reigns supreme. Golden amongst the others. 
Clouds drift, the sea changes from green to blue.
Somewhere a dog barks.

Couldn’t post yesterday. However, today is Saturday and I have a day off. It’s been a busy week back at work and I’m already feeling the grind. I just finished planning a birthday card I want to paint tomorrow – so I will show you how that goes, also, on Tuesday night I start my drawing class. Really excited to get back into some formal art training.

That’s it for today – hope you are all well. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 23 Blog

Thursday.
Energy, a pre-peak.
A taster, that is probably better than the weekend.
Traffic, lights, faces, no longer in 'lock down'.
Pizza and bear,
Easy to forget to wash hands, to scan the code.
Never want to go back - to that.
Like flowers leaning in to catch the last ray of sun.
We lean in, to each other. 

This is not a poem, a poem takes time, takes a poet. This is just some words about going out and getting pizza and bear after work, doing normal things in a world that has been and is very (un)normal.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 22 Blog

Not feeling well today, so just sharing something I found in Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less, by Greg McKeown:

The life of an Essentialist is a life lived without regret. If you have correctly identified what really matters, if you invest your time and energy in it, then it is difficult to regret the choices you make. You become proud of the life you have chosen to live. Will you choose to live a life of purpose and meaning, or will you look back on your one single life with twinges of regret?… whatever decision or challenge or crossroads you face in your life, simply ask yourself, “What is essential?” Eliminate everything else.

Love this, I think it has true worth. Catch you tomorrow xx.

21 July Blog

On Sunday I challenged myself to photograph my walk in detail. Today the challenge was to photograph my inside surroundings in detail. The light wasn’t great, as there is a lot of dark clouds, but I did the best I could. Also, some images are micro, so you won’t be able to know what the item is but I liked it for texture and colour.

Like these images together, I think the colours and textures work. I moved them around a bit, but have now settled on this.

I also think this collection works well. Instead of focusing on the actual object, just thinking about how the images create a collage is interesting. Fun activity, that took me way longer than it should have, haha…

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 20 Blog

Back at work today after a 2 week break. Only had 1 week off and the other was working on my upcoming interactive installation: At The Horizon.

Great to have time away, feel less stressed, but it is so easy to fit back into bad habits. So, I listed down some aspects about work-life that I want to change – so hopefully the time has given me some valuable reflection that I can actually put to good use.

I sketched this little image a while ago, however it fits with how I sometimes feel about work. But at the same time, so fortunate to have a job.

Today I bought, You’ve got This: Life-changing power of trusting yourself written by Margie Warrell. At the moment I’m collecting self-help books, so this looked like one I would enjoy. Like usual I will share anything I find of value or any helpful quotes.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 19 Blog

I set myself a challenge today. I often walk along Cornwallis Beach, and post pics, like yesterdays post, and while the photos are lovely, they are always vistas. So, I decided to take more detailed micro photography and show my walk in 10 images.

I had to take more than 10 to get enough to edit into something interesting. It was really fun to notice the detail around me. You should try it.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 18 Blog

Yesterday I didn’t post as I spent the day with family. I drove down to Hamilton, picked up my sister and visited our mum. She’s been sick over the last week, when it was her birthday, so this was a post-birthday outing. We went to this awesome cafe for lunch and just enjoyed each other’s company and great food. 

I stayed on in Hamilton for the afternoon and then went to a theatre play No Exit that my niece was acting in. Beautiful day.

Today back home, doing some odd jobs, not much really to share.

I did go for a delightful walk on Cornwallis Beach this afternoon. Here are some pics for you.

Will be more creative tomorrow. Catch you then xx.

July 16 Blog

Today I’m challenging myself to write a list from the book, L’art de la: Liste simplify, organise, enrich your life, by Dominique Loreau.

The suggested list I’m going to write comes from page 167.

My Talents
Cooking vegetarian Lasagne to perfection
Knowing how the TV show is going to end
Scoring big at second hand shops
Forgetting what I have just been told (especially someone's name)
Remembering peoples' birthdays
Eating chocolate 
Reading late at night
Phoning my mum on time (everyday)
Saying 'I love you' to those I love
Remembering to water my plants

Catch you tomorrow xx.

15 July Blog

I’m half way through my daily blogging challenge for July. In some ways it has been easier than expected, and in others it has been more challenging. But, I’m determined to see it through.

Today was spent on my At The Horizon project for RM gallery in Auckland. I wont be finished until September and there is much to do. I have discussed this work a little in another post: A mixture of Creativity and Chaos. I’m mainly in the editing and colour grading stages, which takes time and a lot of careful consideration. But I feel happy with what I achieved today, so that is ‘success.’

I’ve been trying to stay in the present as much as possible today, and that has been helping my mood and creativity. So, hopefully I can do the same again tomorrow.

Took this snap at the end of our road. Went for a short stroll to get some fresh air before another session on the computer editing.

Hope you are well, catch you tomorrow xx.

July 14 Blog

Struggling with myself today. It’s like I know what I should be doing, but continually get in my own way. What is that about?

Sometimes I hold such high expectations on what something will be like, or how I will enjoy the process of something, and forget that 90% of most things are hard work. You just gotta get the work done, solve problems, overcome hurdles, and keep going.

Also, I’ve been waiting for an ‘answer’… not a spiritual sign or anything, but a knowing of where to go with this project I’m working on and I’m a bit stuck. A bit like writer’s block, I guess.

I just have to accept that is where I’m at. Keep working, keep trying and in the end have faith that something will come of it.

This picture is so accurate of me today, haha. Well, tomorrow is another day. Catch you then xx.

July 13 Blog

Living in the moment. Apparently that is where we are. Only in this moment. Not in the past or future, yet so many thoughts are caught up in those two places. Places that don’t exist.

I find it so hard to stay settled in each moment. I’m always hurrying after the next moment, waiting for something, putting life on hold till the weekend… Or, worried about something I said or did, like I can change it.

Even while writing this I drift off into what I’m going to do later.

Why is this moment so difficult to live in? It’s not worse or better than any other. I don’t have the answers. Instead I breathe, I feel my weight on the earth, I look up and see the sky. It’s all I can do.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 12 Blog

Just when I have some semblance of clarity fog  moves in. A common fact of life.

Sad that this is a reality, but on the other hand when I see or experience success at some level I understand that there’s work behind it. Generally not luck. This allows me to dig in. 

This week I’m working on a project I’ve talked about in A Mixture of Creativity and Chaos. I’ve  put aside the whole week to dig in. There’s a lot to figure out, there will also be a lot of fog. But that’s OK. 

Life is half and half, and understanding that makes the hard half tolerable
Hope you’re well. Catch you tomorrow xx

July 11 Blog

If you want fresh coffee in the morning, you will have to take the additional preparatory step of grinding fresh beans. If you want a better body, you will have to get up earlier in the morning (or, perhaps more accurately, go to bed earlier the night before so that you aren’t too tired to exercise). You might also have to store better food in your house so that when you’re faced with food cravings, you are prepared to eat more healthily instead.

The Seven Arts of Change, by David Shaner

This quote reminds me that if I want to transform, adjust, change, I need to prepare fully for that transition. I can reflect all I want, but that doesn’t move me forward. Reflection lets me look at what is.

Lately I’ve been so passive in life. Not just lately, probably for a few years now. I’m pretty sure this was an outcome of pushing myself so hard with filming my first feature film, and trying to complete a PhD, and when those two goals were completed, I just couldn’t push any more. I mean, I went to work, I moved forward in my career, but, creatively, for me, I have been very passive.

But this state of being is now passed its used-by-date. I can no longer put creativity on hold. I’m not saying I haven’t been creative. I have. I’m working on a project now, I started this blog, I’m creating everyday, but there still seems to be something missing.

Before creativity held higher stakes. I’m trying to find my way through creativity with smaller outcomes, and daily practices, and I’m blogging about the importance of that. But now, I think I need to prepare for the next phase.

I’m not sure what that is. But the quote above reminds me that wanting change means preparing, being open, ready, AND it means commitment and hard work.

mmm things to think about.

No pics today, just thoughts. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 10 Blog

We have arrived back home from our break. I loved time away to reflect, but I also love home. Being outside of the usual routines, away from personal items and responsibilities has allowed me to have the space I wouldn’t usually have.

While away, I’ve been sketching, or doodling and I forgot how much I enjoy this form of creating. For absolutely no other reason than creating. I’ll share a couple of sketches with you here.

Even though I’ve written about creating for its own sake, I maybe, haven’t been doing it myself. So this was the perfect opportunity to put this to practice.

Hopefully I can keep this up. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 9 Blog

Last day at Hot Water Beach

Reflecting is actually more difficult than first thought. I mean, really reflecting. Thinking all the big things.

Being creative, makes me happy, stimulated and refilled at the same time. And, I’m just not doing enough of it on a daily basis. Been thinking on this, musing… I started this blog in an attempt to stimulate my own creativity – but haven’t really got any further, or been any more creative.

2020, hasn’t been the most stimulating year, however, in some ways it has shown me more than previous years, where perhaps things were tracking along easier. My reflection has challenged me to take my foot off pause. That’s the first step. See where that gets me.

Road trip back to Auckland tomorrow, I’ll take some photos.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 8 Blog

Fourth day into our break away. Two more days, then home. Really spent most of it inside today, just relaxing and looking out the window. Finally went for a walk on the beach and took the photo below.

My knitting is progressing along, and I’m enjoying doing the odd doodle. It is beneficial having time to process this year and allow myself to breathe. My days have been on repeat, sleep in, breakfast, Yoga, knitting, drawing or reading, listening to music, beach walk and enjoying good company and good food, haha.

I’m very fortunate that I can do this, and don’t take that lightly.

Doodle of my view today

Hopefully when I get back home, this time of reflection will be a valuable asset going forward.

Even if you only have time for a walk, put your phone away, turn the TV and computer off and do it. Time to refuel is so precious.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 7 Blog

Today’s winter sunshine

On the mindful Meditations podcast on Spotify titled Gather your Energy, Sharon Salzberg suggests:

If you consider how scattered, how distracted, how out of the moment you may ordinarily be, you can see the benefit of gathering our attention and our energy. All of that energy could be available to us, but usually isn’t, because we throw it away into distraction.

Today was my first day back at mediation, and yes I did use Spotify, but I needed the voice guidance. I usually find Yoga to be enough in the morning, it’s my moving mediation, but lately distraction has been next level.

Holding onto the present moment is difficult to do. The mind wonders off so quickly and I just seemingly go along for the ride. So my focus is now to meditate 3 times a day. First being yoga, then a lead mediation via app or Spotify, then a short meditation before bed. I’m hoping these 3 points in the day can bring my ‘self ‘ into more clarity and then when ready to create, I can focus my energy.

Hope you are all well, Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 6 Blog

To be present, is to abandon the past and dismiss the future. Try it. Just for one moment, think of nothing, let thought go. View what is around you, marvel at the light, at the shadow, at the shape and presence of things.

In this space let yourself just be. Breathe. This is a place you can create from. Not thinking of goals. Not thinking of self criticism. Not thinking. Just being, creating, breathing.

It’s OK.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 5 Blog

Road trip.

Packed, picked up coffee, and hit the road. Auckland traffic was light heading out midday Sunday. Had to take my knitting, it’s my goal this week to knit, read, walk and relax. The road soon changed from concrete-scapes to hills, bush and ocean.

We got to our beach batch. After unpacking, eating scones and cheese, we headed out for a walk into what was quickly becoming wild, wet and windy. Couldn’t go as far as we would have liked, as the tide had come in too far, but it was fun to navigate the area.

Now back at the batch, and beginning to unwind.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 4 Blog

Road Trip Tomorrow!!!!

Tomorrow my partner and I head off for a few days away. This will be our first get-away for some time. Really looking forward to it, and also appreciate how fortunate I am to take time off like this.

We are going to Hot Water Beach, where we can walk along the beach with a spade, dig a hole, and relax in a hot natural spring. Very relaxing in the middle of a New Zealand winter.

My one goal is not to think about work…

So, today I’m just doing some jobs around the house before we go; student marking, work emails, washing, groceries… all the bits.

Tomorrow I will post some photos of our road trip to our destination.

Catch you then xxx

July 3 Blog

Last night when leaving work to head home I noticed how pink the sky was. I stood and tried to breathe the colours in, the adaptions of tone. My first thought was to take my phone-camera out and try to capture the colour, the silhouette of the buildings, but something made me stop. Instead I just relaxed for a moment in this experience of pink light, and the mood of the evening and let that be enough, without having to hold onto it.

I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle talk with Russell Brand about awakening, which really is about tuning out of our thinking brain and experiencing the phenomenon of life. Living in the moment.

Sometimes, for me, these moments are so short, because my brain just keeps worrying, and fretting – but then a pink sky comes along, and I remember to breathe.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 2 Blog

A student in class today, randomly asked about soup. We were discussing films and television production, group work, directing actors, and suddenly the conversation took a side-step.

Soup – what is it we like about soup. What types of soup there are. Then an idea come up from this about sharing soup recipes. As a teacher there are times when I ‘try’ to get the class to stay on track, but occasionally we need a laugh, we need to just be a community, friends sharing soup recipes. And, that is just OK.

A soup I made 2 weeks ago, was made up of 1 leek, 1 broccoli, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 potatoes, 1 cube a stock, salt and pepper and water. Simple beautiful soup. I will share this with my film class. Just because.

Simple isn’t always the most beautiful, but sometimes it’s all I want.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 1 Blog

Today is the day; the day I start blogging everyday this month. I know right? Too intense? Probably, however, I need to kick-start back into this.

Lately, things have got on top of me, (if you read my blogs then you will realise it’s gone a bit downhill). I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough.

But with a little push, mustering a little energy, remembering how much I love writing and inspiring creativity – I’m gonna give it a go.

They won’t be long blogs, just little musings, photography of my days, some prose, art and inspiration I am finding around me.

So this is the first, just a heads up. Looking forward to it. Excited even.

Below is a collage of images I have taken over the last couple of days as we have been out and about enjoying winter’s sun, clouds, and rain.

Catch you tomorrow. xx

The Sweetness of Sharing

Often glorious finds come my way because others have shared what they are reading, watching, or engaging with. So, this post is all about sharing things I have found.

Firstly, I want to share a video from KarenBritChick. Her YouTube channel is about fashion and she does this amazing series called What everyone is wearing in New York. I love the street vibe and the way she discusses personal style. I especially like the fact that the videos are quite long, so I can settle in and really enjoy the New York vibe. But the video I want to share today is something quite different. Due to what is happening globally I think this is the perfect introduction to her: My experience with racism/What is it like to be Black?

I listen to Russell Brand (occasionally), I like how he approaches very difficult subjects with curiosity. He also has a podcast, Under the Skin, but I think this is a good introduction to him, and it’s not too long: What I’ve Learned This Week

There’s a couple of other Youtubers I want to share with you.

Firstly, Yoga with Adriene, there is so much I can say about this channel, but it’s best just to go there and try something yourself. Here are a couple of favorites. Yoga for Courage: This practice is full-on, but it reminds me to have faith in myself and my body.  Moon Practice: Very gentle practice for those days when you need more peace than challenges.

This one is quite different, Kutovakika, who inspires creativity through her ingenious self-styled photography. She shares a step by step approach with both cameras and phone-cameras, so you can follow along. Mostly she uses everyday items, which means you don’t need all the equipment. She also has some knitting tutorials, which I have yet to check out. Also, I love looking at her Instagram page: @kutovakika

For something quite different, here is an interactive documentary by Mariette Sluyter titled, Bread. This documentary is so sweet, I just love the women talking about their cultures and how they have brought modes of being (and baking) into their new Canadian country.  

Because I’m into creating film and love moving image, this one is just a must. Art of the Title. This website explores the creation of title making for films. The range is so diverse, and they incorporate who made the titles and sometimes, what went into their design.

I looooovvveee Nordic Noir television shows. So, doing some of my own research around how this type of noir developed I came across this podcast, titled appropriately: Nordic Noir. This is not a series to listen to, but a historic view of the development of this genre in this particular region in the world.

This post is short and sweet, and I hope you find something in these shares.

Catch you next week xx.

Review, Reflect, Refocus

This blog is about revisiting my New Year Resolutions for 2020, taking stock, re-planning and re-focusing. Yep the year hasn’t turned out as planed but there’s only one way out of it – and that’s into it.

Reflecting on my goals I can see that some of them are now out of my control and cannot be achieved. However, there are still several I can accomplish if I refocus and put energy and time into them.

To begin with, looking at all my goals and plans for 2020 was a little bit of a downer.

My daughter and I were planning a trip to Greece and I had other adventures planned, also the interactive-experimental documentary, At The Horizon, which I have mentioned changed. Because of New Zealand’s lock-down the gallery that was to host the exhibition had to push a lot of the projects back to 2021. I wrote about this creative project in Process: A mixture of creativity and chaos – Part 1.

I’m blessed, I haven’t lost my job and I have my health and family, so these aren’t major issues. But I feel like the beginning of June is a perfect time to review, reflect and refocus.

So where to go from here?

I can’t push all projects or goals back. Some are just no longer practical in this changed world. Yes, they may happen, in a year or two, but for my own mental health and creativity I need to focus on now, on today.

In my New Year Resolutions 2020 post, I categorised all my goals; personal, health, creative, and work.

So, in review: two goals in my personal category can no longer happen, the health goals haven’t changed, and the creative goals and work goals need to be realigned

In reflection, and being honest with myself, my six personal goals were probably a few too many anyway. As stated, two can no longer happen and one has been removed, so now I have just three to focus on. The health goals haven’t changed, one of them I have maintained throughout this year, but the other has not happened at all, so I need to focus on this. I had five creative goals, one has been ticked off, YES!!!!! One I’m going to let go, which leaves three. The two work goals will still happen, but I need to develop new timelines for them.

Also, in reflection, I simply can’t ignore what is happening around the world. I’m not an island in space, I am connected to my world. I have to be honest; my mood, positivity and energy have changed. I’ve needed more time out, more rest, more down time.

So that’s they lay of the land, now I have to refocus, while giving myself a bit more time.

Years ago, my partner and I bought a property that needed a lot of work. We were both taken with how cute the house was and could see all the potential.  Some of the issues were dealt with straight away, and some were left for, “when we could get to them”… After a few years, everything began to bug me, I started to see all the flaws and it was overwhelming Then after talking with someone I realised that the house hadn’t changed, it was just how I was thinking about it. Seems cliché but that is exactly what happened, I remembered why we had bought it, my attitude changed, and I actually started doing things on the house again.

Refocusing can be tricky. But there is a reason why you do the things you do, a reason why you create in the way that you do.

You love it.

Yes, you get frustrated, you don’t have the time, you feel depleted before you begin, but you still love it. And just settling on that for a while can assist to grow motivation. I try to remember moments that I’m in the flow, times when my creativity takes over, or seeing someone impacting by work I’ve done. That is often enough to get me going again.

But that is not all it is. It can’t just be daydreaming about the good times. It is also the work. Refocusing means recommitting to the work ahead. Making timelines, breaking goals down, writing lists, putting deadlines in the calendar. You know, all the hard stuff.

I’m not going to leave it too long before a reflect again. I think I need to do this more regularly.

Well that’s it from me. Catch you next week xx.

Lists

Lists to do. Groceries, jobs, crossed out or ticked off.

What lists do you make?

Well I want to start with a few different types of lists, fun lists, list that open up creativity. Something I’ve picked up from the book: L’art de la Liste: simplify, organise, enrich your life. Written by Dominique Loreau.

The first one I want to start with, is a list of self description. A written self portrait. Try it. It is more difficult that is sounds. Below is my attempt…

There are so many lists that are fun – the next one is a ‘wish list’. Dominique Loreau states:

Writing down your dreams – even seemingly impossible dreams – may lead to a strange phenomenon: They may come true.

My wish list is pretty simple:

I wish to travel, see the world, the whole of it.
Everything.
Which now seems further away.

I wish to talk in languages.
German
Te Reo
Spanish or French.

I wish to work in China for a while.

Loreau states:

Make a list of your wishes – date them and keep them. Don’t worry if they contradict each other. All you need to do is believe in the unthinkable, the unimaginable, in mysteries and miracles. Lists of wishes have more potential to change your life than you may think. Every word conceals a certain energy. When we commit our desires to paper, we accord more importance to them; we cherish them. Our words are the cement, and our dreams are the bricks.

One more list I want to try is a memory, this is a time I spent with my Nana.

floral carpet and floral curtains
custard kisses and cheese rolls
horses
flowers
a spare bedroom with coats hanging in the cupboard
a boat in the shed, unused
a rest in the chair after lunch

Try making lists – not the ‘to do’ kind, the type that lets your imagination wonder.

Catch you next week. xx

To Choose, or not to Choose

Even though they sit in the same word family there are some differences about the words choose and choices –

Choices: is to have options

Choose: is to make a decision, it is an action word

Here are some synonyms of the word choose: select, pick, take, indicate, elect, cherry-pick, decide, all good words, all words of ‘action’.  (I especially like ‘cherry-pick’). So why is it, that with so many choices we often give up our privilege to choose.

This time last year I chose to visit my brother and his family in Australia. Great decision on my part.

With this new framework of staying at home due to covid-19, our choices have become more limited and within that I’ve began to realise the varied choices that ‘were’ available to me and reflect on why I didn’t choose to take up some of those opportunities.

When given a multitude of choices it is easier not to choose. In that way every choice is still possible, or that is what you are telling yourself. Yes, sometimes you do need to keep yourself open, but what if you do that too much, what if some doors you don’t go through because you’re always expecting a better choice to turn up, or you’re scared that going through one will rule out another.

Recently I was approached to be part of a creative collaboration. I jumped at the chance and for a time spent my creative energy on the project. I found time, I became excited by the work and once it was finished, I realised that I had not been choosing my own project. The one that means something to me, the one that I’ve been working on for a few years.

Was it because I was no longer excited by the work, or was it because I wasn’t choosing it?

The short burst of work I engaged in collaboration reminded me that I love the creative process. So, the following week, I choose to work on my project, and I’ve been actively involved ever since. My renewed decision sparked my energy and I now look forward to each time I spend on it.

So, what was happening. Over time opportunities, or things you think you want to do accumulate. Not only important things, but the small fun stuff too, the catchups with friends, the drive to a particular beach, the activity you’ve put off all summer. All the things you want to do become this long list, and how do you divide your time up between them. Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe having too many choices is actually the problem.

With time being spent at home over the last six weeks, I’ve been reminded that I don’t need a lot of things and choices cluttering up my day, week or month. Actually, less is better.

Love this quote from poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

We may be told that we can have it all, and do it all – but really, if you think about it, that’s not true, and why would you want that anyway? Your one wild precious life – keep that in your head and heart when you are making your decisions, or when you are full of indecision and fear. Life is so short, it is wild, precious, beautiful – don’t spend it on things you’re not that into, or feel obligated to do, don’t fill it with worry, that is not worth your time.

Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less states:

When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices – or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender out power to choose.

I think we also surrender our power to choose when we have too many choices. All the choices may hold interest, may be meaningful, but because you can’t have it all or do it all – YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE.

When you are walking and you put your left leg out, then your right leg out – do you ever ask yourself if you started walking on the wrong leg? No, well I don’t? So why think about choice as wrong or right, it is a step, and you need movement to get where you want to go. If you don’t know where that is, start moving and maybe you will end up where you don’t want to be and then at least you can decide where to go from there.

But if you’re not moving?? Well you know that answer.

Make choices, make decisions, move, find out, discovery what is and what isn’t for you. Don’t let too many options stall your movement – keep discovering how you want to live your one wild precious life.

Catch you next week xx

Breathing

Difficult times. 
I’m having a difficult time.
Breathe. Breathe in, then out, 
slowly through the mouth. 

I’m not going to offer advice about 
how to get through it, not even gonna try. 
Instead I’m gonna tell you how 
I’m getting through this. 
I breathe in through the nose, 
then out slowly through the mouth.

I’m trying to wake up at a similar time 
everyday, (doesn’t always work). 
I get dressed - even though I stay at home. 
I do my hair, and sometimes put on make-up. 
I try to exercise everyday, 
either through yoga or walking. 
The more strenuous stuff I've given up, for now. 
I need light exercise, just movement - that is enough. 
Breathe.

I don’t snack too much - 
just eat at regular times. 
As I breathe in I count slowly to 5.

I get caught up on my social media feeds. 
I try to put the phone down, sometimes I can, 
and sometimes I can’t - but I’m not 
going to be too hard on myself. It’s OK. 
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
through the mouth.

Sometimes I lie on my bed, I make a nest, 
with pillows and blankets. I just lie there. 
I think of my family that I haven’t seen, 
I wonder what they are doing. 
I imagine they are safe, happy, 
and coping with what is happening. 
I talk to my mum everyday at 4.30pm.
Breathing, in and out. Slowly.

I sit at the window and watch 
people walking in bubbles, or jogging past. 
I think about crowds, 
and what it was like to be on a crowded train. 
I used to complain about crowded trains - 
I wonder if I will do that again?
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
to the count of 7. 

Sometimes I snack on the news, 
on what is happening around the world. 
I look at the numbers and can’t make sense of it. 
Then I start again on my social media feed, 
just to dull my mind, 
to flatten the numbers. 
I breathe in, then as I breathe out 
I relax my shoulders down.

I’m still working. 
So fortunate that I do. 
It gives my weekdays structure, 
I’m busy during that time, 
focused and the days blur from one to the next. 
I breathe in, I breathe out, I relax my shoulders.

Lately, I haven’t been snacking on the news, 
and I’ve been feeling guilty, 
because I don’t know the numbers. This is complicated. 
But, I’m getting through. I’m lucky. 
I’m breathing.

Hi.
How’s it going?
I hope you are well. 
Catch you next week xx.








Creating… Because you have to

This is my first post. I have now been blogging for six months and decided to re-post it. Happy I’ve been able to show up every week, can’t believe 6 months has rolled around so quickly – please enjoy…

I didn’t initially know what to call this article, however, I did know that being a creative isn’t an option for me. I need to state I’m not talking about creating for work or a product, but just being creative for creativities sake. I believe that creating is part of who we are, we are a creative species. The thing is, we’ve got so caught up in product-driven creativity that something about the process has been lost. And, it’s such a shame.

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Step-Through-The-Day with Intention

I do find it is hard to keep ‘managing life’: I guess that’s what you call it. For example, getting up, doing yoga or exercise, meditation, morning journals and then the day begins, usually work. Then trying to fit creativity in at the end of it all, and sometimes in the weekend, then there’s family and friend commitments and just life-jobs.

I’ve been putting that morning routine in place so I can manage my own life. Sometimes, of course, I don’t do them, or not all of them anyway. I do enjoy most of it most of the time – but when I’m low it’s hard to manage doing the things that help me “manage life”. Ha Ha. Gosh – Yeah.

I’m guessing we are all in the same boat with that one, we all have our own routines that make daily life – make sense, or bearable, or at least give us a chance to step-through-the-day.

There is always the things that need to be done. All the bits and pieces that need attention. For me, like I said it starts with the body and mind. So, stepping the body into the day with yoga, and for the mind it is meditation and journaling.

Step Through with Intention

However, this is just the morning. What about the rest of the day?

What I have found, especially in lockdown and working from home, is to segment my day off with intention. I break my day up into clear segments, like my morning routine. If I can use intention my mind and body switch into the different activities, projects or tasks that need to get done. If I have everything open, emails, slack, text, FB…. then my intention (and focus) can easily slip away during that period.

It is difficult to actively follow through everyday – every time, but the more I do this the better I get at it, just like anything else I suppose. Also tasks come up, usually from others, that are seemingly urgent – but to be honest (and I’m learning this over time) most things are not so urgent that I should allow it to affect my intended time.

If I have lots of bits and pieces to get done I try to pull them together – calling it a ‘bits and pieces’ morning. I do all those little things with intention. Having intention does not mean that every chink of time is working on some amazing project, most of my time is spent with work and family and other life happenings… However, putting time into segments, for me, has been helpful.

Of course you want to chuck in ‘the no plan-plan-days‘, where you do whatever the hell you wanna do – that has to happen!

Just to add in here, I heard from someone at sometime… and I don’t know who said this or how convoluted it has become, but our energy decreases by half 3x over the day. So for example our energy is at max for about 3 hours, then for the next 3 hours it has decreased by half, and then for the next 3 hours it has decreased by half again. So, if you are implementing tasks, what I have found is to prioritise the time. Put your most important task of the day first. It works for me, so thought I’d share.

Anyway that’s it for me. I know you will also have strategies that keep you focused and use that precious time yours, so, please share.

I hope you are all well. Catch you next time. xx

Being Thankful

If you don’t know what to do and you’re feeling overwhelmed saying ‘thank you’ might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it works. I recently listened to a spiritual leader called Mooji who said just saying ‘thank you’ is enough to change or shift your mood or position on the day.

If you just repeat those simple words, “thank you… thank you… thank you…” and keep repeating. After a while a peace settles in and then you will start to see all the people and things in your life that you are thankful for.

Some Tulips I quickly sketched just for you…

I’m writing this because I’ve had to do this exact exercise this week a couple of times already. I’ve let my mind become a monster. It is so easy to do and the mind seems ready to jump into that character pretty quickly. Allowing myself to over worry, overthink and imagine fictitious fear mongering scenarios, all which keep me overwhelmed and anxious. It’s hard to stop a habitual way of thinking, and it will take some work, but in the end to carry a sense of peace is worth the effort.

So , when I learn of little things, like repeating the words ‘thank you’ and find that it actually works, I’m happy, actually excited, to share with you. Because, for me, 2021 has probably been one of the hardest years I’ve ever experienced. Any form of peace I can hold for myself these days is precious.

This quote seems to fit where I’m at right now.

The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.

W. H. Auden

Well I trust the unconscious mind knows, because most days I certainly don’t. I did make a short Vlog this week that discusses value and holding on to our unique creative ability. If you want to watch that, click here.

Hope you have a peace-fueled week. Catch you next time xx

What I’m making in Lockdown

Kia ora, welcome, I hope you are all well.

I just want to share with you what I’ve been creating over the last few weeks. It is not something I have done before, so it is a good challenge while we are in lock down in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. I have made short films before, experimental films, short documentaries, but I’ve never made a poetry film.

Poetry films have become quite popular, especially on YouTube and there are also film festivals world wide that only screen this genre. The Zebra Poetry Film Festival is one that comes to mind. Go and check out some of the films they have on their site – they are amazing!!

I love how language and visuals have to circle around each other, and there are so many interpretations and areas you could go down. Interpreting poetry has endless possibilities. I have documented my process in making my poetry film on my YouTube Channel, (which I have only just started this year).

Hopefully I will have it finished over the next couple of weeks. It was a struggle to come up with visuals to connect with the poem at first, but I’m now moving steadily forward.

I’ve been mainly looking at the natural landscape around me and colour, especially using colour in paints. Still got a bit of testing and work to go, however I’m loving the process. It’s good to be actively creating in a number of mediums at the moment. Trying to keep my creative muscle flexible and resilient, especially in the times we are living.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” 

Maya Angelou

Love this quote, I think I sometimes fall into this idea that if I put my creative energy into a project I wont have any worthwhile ideas for another project, but of course that is not the case. The more I make, the more creative energy I have.

I will link to the final film when it is up on YouTube, but just wanted to let you know what I’ve been creating lately.

Let me know how your own creativity is going…. or not going. Catch you next time

Juby xx

Committing to Ones’ Self

  • I am committed to calling myself a “creative”, and leaving any other definition at the door.
  • I am committed to finding my way in life through my creativity.
  • I am committed to allowing intuition to be my guide in all things.
  • I am committed to working to live, not living to work.
  • I am committed to walking towards difficulty and using those places in which to create and connect.
  • I am committed to sharing my creative process.
  • I am committed to sharing my creativity, without personal judgement or social gate-keepers influence over me.
  • I am committed to inspiring others to find their voice.
  • I am committed to opening space for other creatives to reveal who they are.
  • And, overall, I am committed to getting up when I fall over.

Now it’s your turn: Write down “I am committed to…” 10 times. You can’t get this wrong. The only wrong thing to do, is not committing to yourself. You are worth committing to! You don’t have to be a creative to do this, you can simply do this about; life, values, family… whatever brings your heart joy. Let Joy lead you.

Love & Light
Catch you next time
Juby xxx

Art, come and find me.

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’m working my way through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. This week is chapter 8, Recovering a Sense of Strength. So, over the week I’ve been contemplating how to gain strength as an artist, which is difficult, because I feel so weak. Trying to find a path, or something to hold onto, is so tenuous. I find something, open a door, head that way only to find I’ve suddenly lost interest, or it’s not what I thought it would be.

But I’m determined.

So, this week I started a free online course called “Follow the Breadcrumbs”, which is run by Nicholas Wilton from Art2Life. The course only takes about 30 – 40mins a day for 5 days, where participants are asked to follow clues (breadcrumbs), and learn about creativity in art, how it makes you feel, where you want to take it and so forth.

As I write this I’m only on day 2 but finding the process very emotional.

A recent abstract painting I’ve been working on.

Several years ago I finished the biggest project I’d ever worked on, it took about 10 years to complete and since then I haven’t been able to commit to anything major. I’ve done bits and pieces, and all of those smaller projects have been beautiful in their own way, but I haven’t been able to strive or push into a project like I use to. I haven’t been able to risk myself to my creativity – which I did in the past. I believed it was the only way to be creative.

Maybe, it was youth, or naivety that pushed me that far and now I’m older and wiser – but since finishing that project, honestly, I’ve just felt lost.

So I try drawing and painting, I write prose and poetry, I try experimental filmmaking, I try writing this blog.. and find some enjoyment, some motivation and purpose, but there still seems to be something missing.

I don’t think I’ve opened up in this way on the blog before, because I haven’t until this moment realised that I need art to find me –

I really need, art to just come and find me again.

Today on the “Breadcrumbs” challenge we draw/painted/wrote – expressions of what made us happy or joyful as a child, and what I painted – was joyful but also painful, which woke me up. It woke me up because art needs to reflect myself personally to make sense. The striving, and risk taking I did before – worked because that was where art was finding me, that was where I personally was, and I’ve been believing I always had to be in that place.

But I’m not there anymore – so, art can’t find me there.

Of course art can find me when I’m weak too, I just didn’t realise that till now.

Maybe this is a prayer, or a meditation, that I’m sending the universe. Art please come and find me – because I need you more than ever, in this weak vulnerable state.

Please let me know where you are at, with art or life in general.

xx

Connect to your Creativity

Connection – how to feel connected. Not to others, (although that is important), but to ourselves, so our creativity isn’t something we are striving for. This is what I’m getting out of Week 6 in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Last year I started The Artist’s Way – and only got to Week 6, out of the 12 Week course. You can read the beginning of last years attempts here, is you so wish. This time I’m going to get to the end!!! Haha, that is my mission. This time through I’m finding out new things about being creative and I’m discovering my artist blocks more readily.

My new messy creative space

For me, connection is about letting the process take on a journey, rather than controlling everything I do. Just allowing myself to create, free from judgement, or comparison. I’ve been reading a little bit from Alan Watts lately and appreciate his take on good/bad, right/wrong and that these supposed opposites are just sides of the same thing.

Thinking about creativity, this idea helps me to let go of making ‘bad art’, as art is art. Good or bad is a judgement, that doesn’t relate to my creativity, my process, or my connection with myself in order to create. If we can let go of the outcome, I think connection is much more available to us.

I love this quote:

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dali

Part of Week 6 in The Artist’s Way is about perfectionism and how it stifles creativity. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, I’m more messy and seem to be happy in my mess and not bothered if people see me in it – however, and it’s a BIG HOWEVER: I do still care what people think – and I can put that ahead of my process. Many times I’ve changed tack because of what was expected, or what I thought people wanted, rather than staying true to myself. And, I just caught myself doing that again recently. So, obviously something or some fear I have, I’m holding onto.

I guess creativity is a process, just as we are a process. Makes sense if we can connect to it then.

Hope you are all well. Let me know about your artist endeavours.

Catch you next time xx

How you value YOUR creativity.

Standing at the display I see a number of branded tubes of paint. I’m looking for black. It’s a colour I use a lot and my small one has run out. There are a few options available. A couple of tubes priced around $8, (just the very small tubes), and one brand I haven’t seen before that is $4. I have enough money to purchase either.

I sway.

I tell myself the better quality will be the higher price, “You get what you pay for”. but then $4… So, I take the cheap one.

And, guess what? “You get what you pay for”.

The paint has no coverage, I can’t get a good black no matter how hard I try. Finally I mix it with a good quality dark blue, and I get a somewhat useable blue-black.

So, why?

Why did I not spend the extra $$? I would spend that on a coffee without even thinking about it. So why be a miser to my own creativity?

This made me realise a few things:

  • I tend not to spend on myself believing I’m not really worth it?
  • I don’t VALUE my creativity like I want to.

I’m just beginning on my journey into painting. I have done bits and pieces in the past but this time I want to take it a lot more seriously. But looking back, I’ve been a miser to myself in other areas of my creative endeavours. I hold myself back in this area. I, possibly, don’t fully value the investment I am making – I still think it as being selfish.

Or maybe it is how I see money? Do I see it in a positive or negative light? Are there issues I have around money that I haven’t let myself look at? Do I have/need to be the “struggling artist?” Do I think money is for security and creativity is somewhat lesser in value??

I don’t have any fast answers. But next time I’M GONNA BLOODY WELL BUY THE PAINT I WANT!!!

Maybe I just have to force myself to do that until I change my perception of self-value. I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Do you do this too?

Any feedback or advice would be most appreciated. I’m feeling like a lost artist, but one with determination.

Hope you are well. Catch you next time xx

2021: Art in Process: Making a U-Turn

Art in process. Well it certainly has been that. A couple of posts back I discussed letting the process lead…haha, and how you have to be brave to do that, yada yada yada.

Well, my process has taken a complete U-Turn. I’ve been happily blogging and vlogging away about making an experimental film while at my residency at RM Gallery and at the same time letting the process lead me. However, unknowingly I had already decided the outcome… an experimental film. So, while I was letting the process ‘go with the flow’ I had already put ‘a stake in the ground’ so to speak by saying the outcome will be an experimental film. (How is that letting the process lead)???

I guess I didn’t really think about the outcome being defined by the process, only the content of the mode chosen. So, woke up this morning and my process led project must have been talking this through with my unconscious as the project is no longer an experimental film… I know? What the!

Putting this into context, I was trying to fit the characters into a linear timeline, I had been struggling on this for a week or two, how to transition from one to the next. I had started thinking about the edit and how this would, or could work. But now I’ve realised, that the characters can’t be on the same screen.

So, what I now have is an audio-visual INSTALLATION.

You might ask, “what’s the difference between an experimental film and an installation?”… and all I can say is, (with a sigh), … so many things. Yep they are so different.

I was chuffed working towards my experimental film. I was thinking about editing it, sound editing it, exporting it to a nice small movie file and then sending this piece off to experimental film festivals. That would be where the work would be viewed. It would be simple – or at least more simple than the idea I have now.

But the process has spoken. And it makes complete sense.

Whenever I make an audio-visual work, regardless of it being narrative, documentary, experimental or even installation, and regardless of the way in which it is experienced, for example on a big screen, TV, small screen or in a gallery, I create a world. And in the logic of this particular world the characters never meet. They can’t meet. They are the same person from nature, but all five have been nurtured very differently and from that nurture constructed their-self and how they represent themselves in the world. They, for a better explanation, are on parallel worlds. And for that reason the characters need to physically have their own screens. Well it makes sense to me.

Making a U-Turn is hard to do. Not only having to admit that you are heading the wrong way – but to share with everyone else as well. I mean in one way, it’s no big deal, it is my project and people will take into consideration the ups, downs and turns a creative project can have. But for myself, it seems to be more difficult this time. I mean I wanted to make a experimental film, it was – maybe is, caught up in my own identity as a ‘filmmaker’…

But I’ve had to let that go, I know this U-Turn is in the best interests of the project and that has to come first. My pride can take the back seat. Ha ha.

Let me know about your U-Turns.

Juby

What if breath was my buffer

Hi Everyone, I hope you are all well. I’m making great progress with the experimental film and creative project. Pretty happy with where I’m at. I haven’t started shooting footage, however I’m busy testing the camera and location hunting.

Today I’d like to share some prose. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling very overwhelmed and reading it over made me feel lighter – so this is for anyone out there needing to breathe.

Read a couple times through – like a mantra. For me the words ‘wish’ allowed me to think on things differently.

I wish my head was not so clouded.
I wish my thoughts were clear and light,
Like crystal water seeping through my system.
I wish I walked with ease - a slight smile on my face,
And a hum of a tune behind my lips.

My feet moved across the earth in a dance.

I wish my shoulders carried no weight, time seemed filled with possibilities and potential,
And I enjoyed filling this time with purpose.
But this purpose was not a striving, or an obligation.
This purpose was simple, carefree, easy.

Every moment had magic and I stayed in that moment, never thinking ahead or behind, never worried or concerned, just breathing in fresh, light life. 

Usually I buffer with screen-time or sleeping. I wish I could buffer with lightness.
What if light and life was what I turned to.
Image from the Hamilton Gardens, Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hope you all have a good week. Catch you next time xx.

2021 – Art in Process: Leading the Blind

If I were blind I’d rather have another blind person leading me around because they know what I’m dealing with and they’re experiencing the same things. 

Augusten Burroughs

Been a while since I wrote a post, so a bit of a catch-up needed. I started my residency at RM Gallery a couple of weeks ago. My experimental film idea is making huge leaps and bounds now that I have more time to put into it. The space itself is peaceful to work in and the city vibe outside the door keeps my interests up.

At the same time though life has been particularly stressful. Not the art making – but everything else. And I think that is why I haven’t posted a lot. I did a YouTube clip about mental health and creativity, which I will link here. This kinda sums up how I’ve been. Very up and down, and just taking one day at a time.

What I want to briefly discuss in this weeks post is ‘process-led creativity.’ The process of this particular project has led the work and is leading the work. I did not, have not, and still do not know the exact outcome, instead I’m letting the process take me into the unknown.

Every creative project is different, every creative journey unique. I usually make work where I do know the outcome, for example; I am writing a web series, or I am painting a landscape… So letting the process lead is extremely challenging. When I began I looked towards nature to find and create the structure of the work, and somehow that process led me into ‘nurture’ – as in nurture vs nature, which I would have never imagined. So the content and themes are much more about nurture, and if it does finish as an experimental film, the viewer may never guess that nature had a part, so my creativity around being inspired by nature to create structure is somewhat hidden.

But, if we think of buildings, foundations and footings probably aren’t the first things you think about. I’ve spent time looking at patterns in nature to be inspired to create a structure but then moved onto thinking about nurture for the content. It seems understandable, but I didn’t know this when I started.

I would say not to be afraid to take this approach, but be prepared for radical shifts to happen. You will probably have a starting point but then allow the process to lead. You will get to the end – just not one you imagined at the beginning.

It’s a bit like writing a novel without chapter planning. It’s not for everyone – but it’s a hell-of-a-ride.

Catch you next time xx