‘ Creativity takes courage’ – Henri Matisse
Everything begins with an idea. And five years ago I decided to blog about the creative things I was doing, like an online dairy. I was nervous about showing the world my ‘flawed’ works but part of my plan was to become an art therapist and this felt like one small step in that direction.
I started Cherryblossom Tears when I was 28 and now I’m 33. My art has changed as much as I have in that time. I’ve recognised that my blog was never going to be a glossy portfolio of finished pieces. My strengths lay in the so called imperfections and the process of creating. This is what art therapy was about; engaging with the materials and the creating of artwork. I learnt how to run a blog inside out by doing it, making mistakes and learning from them.
I developed better writing skills and found a natural voice when putting up posts. I learnt how to take better pictures of my work and how to plan my projects. The purpose of my blog started to shine through: It was about not giving up, sharing my frustrations with my work, the trying, the experimentations, working through to find and cultivate a personal style, the materials you connect with and feel on an intuitive level.
‘Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning.’ Charles de Lint
I think writing in this way is liberating. I realised where my creative strengths were and also how much I love combining materials to makes something unusual. One my favourite things to do is go to the art shop and find something new to try. What can I make with Polymer clay? What happens if I add beads? What about wire? How can I create a monster in my own style?
By allowing myself this freedom, I stopped caring so much what other people thought of my art and really embraced the enjoyment I got from making things. It doesn’t matter if something I make doesn’t work, I can try again! I’ve found a quiet confidence in presenting myself as who I really am; a little eccentric, messy, prone to over-thinking. But who I wished to be in my 20s wasn’t real or authentic.
‘I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value’ – Hermann Hesse
It’s been about two months since my last post and probably the longest gap since I started writing my blog. Life suddenly got very chaotic and I found myself unable to anything art or craft related. I was poorly then I had to move house as my landlord was selling. I was also learning to drive and doing some volunteering at an art gallery. Looking back now it was a massive upheaval and I felt stressed and overwhelmed.
Gradually things began to level out and my boyfriend and I moved into a flat together. We now have a spare room for arts, crafts and magic (he is an actual magician!) but this is yet to be fully sorted and is currently a myriad of boxes and degu cage – they are cute though so they can get away with it for now.
Between moving house I did some art journal pages and made my friend a mixed media birthday card. I’ve also been teaching myself Illustrator so I can create a website layout for my boyfriend – magic is a great topic! It is a new way of approaching art and I am finding it a real challenge. I’ve always liked design and illustration and scrapbook interesting packaging, so learning how to create vector art on a computer is another step towards that kind of artwork. I have to admit that spending a lot of time on the computer is hard. I work in an office during the day and being able to make things with clay, paints, sewing is my way of escaping technology and feeling more connected by using the materials with my hands. Maybe once I get more to grips with the software I will find a balance between both.
Below are a few pictures from the last month. Now my life is calming down a bit more I have plenty of creative projects bubbling in my mind.
I love how colourful this page is, I think it is a good expression of myself as a person. It came about in an organic way as I just used different paints and mixed them into each other. I did find it a little tricky to draw over as my journal is really fat now, but I like how it turned out.
I thought I would share my first art journal page for December challenge – and I started with creating a silhouette page. I also filmed myself making my page which I will soon edit and put up on my YouTube channel – I’ve been really pushing myself with these creative endeavors!
I feel like I have been neglecting my blog for a while but life has been crazy and full of other things, my projects and art have been pushed to the back of my mind. With work being hectic again – the new term started last week – I got the freshers flu, it was my sister’s 18th…. all these things combined to me not doing the one thing I wanted to do – Create!
It may be because it is January and still cold and dark most days, but I am stuck in a creative rut! Apart from reading more fiction, I feel very unmotivated with my art at the moment and haven’t started looking at list of things to do this year because I know I lack the passion. I have felt like this before, yet it still bothers me. Does anyone else sometimes feel like this? I’m also putting my energies into finding a new job, so that may have something to do with this rut. But normally I hate doing job applications and relish the thought of doing something creative to relieve my brain!
I need a plan to get me back on track! I often carry my journal and pencil case with me and like to draw on my lunch break. But I feel the fear of ‘the blank white page’ and my mind turns void. I need to come up with some tricks to get over this. When I started my journal I told myself it was for drawing only, but that is actually quite restrictive so I write in too. So my first idea is to just fill up a page with words and create a sort of mind-map, just things I think of or that I find interesting. Hopefully it will give my creativity a boost. Another thing that helps is looking on Pinterest, and my favourite posts at the moment are other people’s journals and colleges. If you haven’t been on I suggest you take a look, it is fun just browsing different pictures and topics.
More than anything though, I want to take this pressure I put on myself off and place it in a tiny box, lock it up and burry it in a desert! Nothing good creativity comes from feeling stuck and beating yourself up about it. I find writing my blog helps too, reflecting on my issues and also keeping it up to date. I have come to relish my posts because I know there are people out there who read them and like what I write – which is amazing! I also love to show my completed art projects and show how pleased (or not) I am with what I have made. Well these are my thoughts for today, I am now going to relax, make some dinner and look up something inspiring on Pinterest x
While I’m not big on New Year or go out to get smashed while celebrating, I am looking forward to the new year. 2012 was a year of big changes, struggles and hardship where I felt caught up in a whirlwind and didn’t know where I was going. Yet it was also a year where I was becoming more myself and finding just how resilient and strong I really am. Experience makes you who you are, even if it hurts at the time.
I’ve already started a list of things I plan to do in the new year and have many creative ideas. Here a few things:
v Start a shop on Etsy
v Start a new Sinners painting
v teach myself to draw and draw every day
v start a mixed-media art journal
v work on an art portfolio
v learn some new recipes
v plan a new novel
v use my sewing machine more
v do more exercise!
Not all art related but still positive things for the year ahead, which I hope will be filled with exciting, challenging things.
I’ve been meaning to write another blog about inspiration and ideas for a while, but what will my messed up teeth making me feel like a gross, half dead alien-zombie, work, and wanting to do my art projects, it got pushed to the back of my mind. But now it is the weekend so I have more time! (I’m also feeling much better thanks to drugs.)
I decided to start an art journal this Summer, but unlike a sketchbook, I would be able to take this around in my bag and just draw whenever I had time and whatever came to mind. I’ve been a bit bad with it recently but I thought just using it as a kind of visual diary would be valuable for a number of reasons.
The first reason was changing how I think about my own art and being more spontaneous. Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in ‘creating real art’ and my critical mind blocks me to the point where I can’t even start. Approaching my drawings with a carefree mindset helps shed that negative, critical block, so I can put down whatever I like and come back to it later to think about what I had done.
The second reason was to get my thoughts down in a more creative way, and firing up my imagination for new projects and ideas. It was also a way to see where my thoughts were at a certain point and see any patterns or themes. This is a good self-reflect exercise, as afterwards when I look through my journal I can see where my strengths lie and where I may become stuck with the same ideas and imagery.
I’ve found the most significant reason for starting an art journal was the calmness it has generated in my life, finding a focus through the process of marking a page and not worrying about the outcome. Even some doodles or a pencil sketch is very therapeutic, bringing me back to the reasons I love to make art and why it gives me such fulfilment. I am a true advocote of the healing powers and self esteem creativity can bring.