Over the past couple of years there have been a lot of change in my and my husband’s lives… it seems like we’ve faced one big life changing thing after another… life threatening illnesses, health scares, empty nest syndrome, redundancy, death and everything in between.
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster really. At times we’ve both wanted to yell “STOP! Let me off!” as the ride was truly terrifying.
In early January, there came a point that I felt like I was DONE – I’d lost my creative mojo and nothing was going as I planned. (A very difficult place to be for a planner and perfectionist!)
I had to escape but funds were tight. What was I to do?
My creative escape
A few weeks ago, I completed a week long creative frenzy (it may have been a bit longer). My craft “studio” (and our dining table) became my retreat.
One day ran into the another, I could barely distinguish one day from the next. A few hours sleep were grabbed but I dreamed about what I would create the next day. I was completely lost in a tactile world of stamps, paper and ink. (No, I wasn’t so lost that I forgot basic hygiene but let me tell you it was a close call some days.)
I can’t remember thinking anything, I was just creating and doing.
At the end of the week, all I had to show for it was a bunch of papercraft projects and a messy house, but the experience was soul-restoring and enriching.
Despite staying up creating late into night, I felt completely inspired, energised and settled. More settled than I’d been for a long time. It was as if all the noise and worry were silenced enough for my body to remember I was okay. What a magnificent feeling!
Rise above the chatter
For me, creativity and art happen when I can rise above all the chitter-chatter in my head. I often tell my husband that sometimes my brain is like a web browser with sixty million tabs open all at once and I’m worried about EVERY single one of those tabs. To be honest I worry about everything – my family, paying bills, doing a good job and running my business ethically, former work colleagues, home, friends, neighbours, the dog, my “to do” list and countless other things. I’m sure you can relate you to how exhausting that thinking (and over thinking) can be. So to being in a space where I can “close all the tabs” and just “create” is so valuable.
When I allow myself to devote time to drawing, writing, singing, painting, taking photos or making something pretty out of paper, I’m opening myself to art and that’s soul-restoring. For that moment, I’m an artist regardless of the outcome. Sometimes the art I produce is extraordinarily ugly but it really doesn’t matter. (I could fill a Pinterest Fails board with some of my creations – trust me – they are completely hideous.)
What matters is that poured my heart and soul into it and got lost in the artistic pursuit and that makes my heart lighter.
Art is the doing…
I want to dispel the notion that you have to sell a number of paintings (or whatever medium you use) for millions to be considered an artist. To be an artist, you just need to create art.
The beautiful thing about art, you don’t need to be particularly good at it, nor do you need to make money from it. In order to create art, all that really matters is that you believe creating is a worthwhile activity to be doing – the end result is irrelevant. The “doing” is the important thing.
There is a measure of dignity in doing. Some days when you’re doing, almost magical and mysterious ideas appear, other days they don’t and that’s totally okay.
Some people are very good at what they do when they are in their creative headspace, but, even if your results are less pleasing or unpopular there is an intrinsic value in the time you spend creating.
The Power of Art
One of the times my husband, Steve is most relaxed and happy is when he’s got a camera in hand chasing that perfect “shot”. To see his face fill with pure joy as he realises that he’s achieved “the shot” makes my heart overflow with love.
Each photo has a story behind it (many of them hilarious) but in reality it’s not the photo that really matters but the complete artistic escape that photography affords him. For one brief moment, the worries about work, finances and everyday life fall away. There is a sense of peace and freedom. That is the power of art!
Creating not destroying
Author, Elizabeth Gilbert shared this wisdom “if I am not actively creating something, then i am probably actively destroying something“.
This statement deeply resonated with me as the realisation dawned that art is not something I want to do but rather something I HAVE to do.
I have to do it even if I never sell card, canvas or mixed media creation. Even if no one reads my blog or comes to my creative classes, even if my only Instagram follower is my mum (impossible since she doesn’t have Instagram but that’s besides the point), it actually doesn’t matter. For me, the process of working on a creative project is not just beneficial, it’s essential.
Does this ring a bell?
Perhaps something you’ve read here, vaguely sparks interest or mirrors how you feel. Either way, I urge you to make time for creative endeavours. If you have any artistic desires at all never be afraid to try…Throw out those perfectionist tendencies results-driven expectations for an hour or two and enjoy the artistic moment.
Whether that “artistic” moment be belting out Cold Chisel’s “Khe San” with the Pub Choir, trying out Latin Dance classes, attempting to capture the beach or sunflowers at sunset on your iPhone or trying your hand at painting, self-portraits, sewing jewellery making or wood working or even clock making.
Whatever it is, just go for it!
It is all dignified and it’s definitely worthy. Think of it as an investment in your soul. Who knows you may even find something you love?
Where to start?
If you aren’t sure where to start and want to help to create something that you can be proud of, consider joining one of The Creative Eclectic’s small group learning events or undertaking a private class. I will guide you through the process of creating beautiful handmade cards or papercraft project that you can be proud of. Check out our upcoming learning events here.