I’ve been exploring mindful creativity through my art and journal writing practice. It is way of connecting with my inner creativity and continuing to learn that art and writing are tools which bring me completely into the present moment.
My portrait practice has slowed but I am continuing to make progress both in creative expression and accuracy. The images below include portraits 30 and 31 out of 100. There are also graphite drawings of eyes with glasses which I did as part of the Sktchy course with France Van Stone.
As I draw a portrait, I have found that I am looking at what is in front of me and my mind is engaged in seeing the tones and values, the contours, the various shapes and I am no longer labelling what I see. It is as if my mind enters a space of surrender to what is before me. It is a sweet space to occupy and it allows my subconscious mind the space to unravel things that need to be contemplated.
I have also been writing a daily journal with the prompt, ‘today I noticed’, and I what I have noticed is that I am more in tune with what is happening inside me but not in a self-aggrandisement way. Reflection on my inner self through this journal exercise has given me space to explore who I am in the moment and to learn to allow the thoughts that float in and out of my mind to pass through while I only catch the threads I choose to connect with. It is a mindfulness skill.
This writing exercise is also helping me to be fully present in the moment. One day in recent weeks I found myself jotting down how the swallow-like birds zoom around me as a walk to work in the morning. They race each other zooming around in ever widening circles. They movements filled with playful joy. Their inverted ‘V” tails flashing past as these tiny blue-black birds whoosh past my legs, hovering two feet above the grass and dancing on the air currents.
Taking a moment of time to notice these gifts of nature helps my creative life to expand. I write down what I notice and my imagination expands. My vocabulary for writing expands and so does my visual vocabulary of symbols increase.
Being creatively mindful isn’t about the end result or producing something that I can sell or show off. It’s about the moment, the journey and the experience within.
I am loving this mindful creative living through art and writing. I love that I can learn and grow and play. It is refreshing and positive.
If you have read this far, then I hope what I have said here inspires you to develop your own daily mindful creative habit. And it is my hope that you will find the richness of the universe in those moments too.
Until next time, happy creating and being in the present moment.
I’m circling back around to my arty side this year.
In recent years, I have taken a big break from painting and drawing. I needed a breather but now I have realised just how much I have missed my art practice.
So, I got myself a moleskine art journal (my first one) and have started sketching and water colour painting in it. I am totally inspired by author and illustrator Kate Knappe with her cute little birds, so you will see an image that I drew to honour her artistic expression in the photos below. If you see her work around – there are a lot of greeting cards with her artwork in Australia – do support her if you can and if you like the art of course.
I’m all for supporting living artists who can do with the dollars in their bank account so they can live life and continue to do what they love.
Here is one of the pages out of my moleskine art journal.
I’m going through a reflective stage and wondering what I should do next?
Do I keep focusing on writing my novel and slogging away attempting to get it published?
Or do I study something? Something else? Should I study art? Should I study something that will help me in my day-job?
So many questions.
So much inner confusion.
I love art.
I love writing.
I love coaching.
I do enjoy learning but I am not sure what to do. What is next for me?
So this piece of artwork is a true reflection of the questions and confusion whirling around inside of me.
This page of my art journal is a reflection of how intricately interconnected we all are.
At least, that’s how I see the world.
I have recently decided to sponsor two young girls through World Vision and, hopefully, make a difference for them and their community. I didn’t do this lightly. I feel very strong about young girls having the opportunity for a good education and waiting until a decent age to be married. It is my hope that my sponsor children and their community will embrace this opportunity to have more choices and be lifted up and out of poverty.
As I was drawing this image, I was thinking about my sponsor children and how we are worlds apart, both geographically and with regard to quality of life style and education and choices. But I believe that all beings are interconnected and there are threads that connect us. I believe that one act can have a multitude of effects. A lot of the time, I do not know the effect I have on people, but it is my hope that my effect is a positive one for all concerned.
So, I’m getting back into my art. I’m thinking about things outside of my fiction stories but I am still drawn to my writing. I love it.
I’m just not keen on editing.
Editing is hard work.
I’m not averse to hard work.
I just think I’m a bit creatively burned out at the moment.
But despite my burn out, I am still returning to The Living Death of Toddy James and day by day I am making editing progress. I’m up to chapter six so far. It’s a matter of small daily habits that add up to big changes.
I won’t give up. I’ll rest and I’ll refocus, and I will edit my novel. It takes grit and determination to get these things done.
Now, as promised, here are some more photos of my awesome UK holiday from last year.
In the above collage, Dave and I went to Edinburgh and saw the city, Edinburgh Castle. We also visited a fabulous historic place called Torphichen Inn for dinner and a show.
Wow, what an amazing place. I was in love with the atmosphere, the friendly welcome and the life size cardboard cut out of Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series, written by Diana Gabaldon. The ladies at our table were a little shocked at how excited I was to see the cardboard cut out, but I had only just finished listening to the audio book and watching the series, so in my mind, Jamie Fraser had come to life!
I still love David, but it was Jamie Fraser!
I think David was in love with Torphichen. I think he wanted to immigrate and live there for the rest of his life. It was green and homey. The Torphichen Inn was filled with friendly people and the services was excellent. We had haggis. I actually ate some and David had a bowl-full.
The photo above is the Torphichen Inn.
The show had bag pipes, singing and excellent hospitality. I truly loved Torphichen and felt very warmly welcomed.
We saw the Kelpies sculptures several times as the bus took us from the hotel to Edinburgh and back on our visit. They were spectacular and it was the first time I’d heard that Kelpies were shape-shifting water spirits that take people and drown them. As an Australian, when I hear the word ‘kelpie’ I think of a type of dog, so this revelation was endlessly entertaining to all of the Aussies on the bus.
Dave and I also visited the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book – OMG, I almost wet myself with excitement. It’s called The Elephant House. We had coffee and cake and then we entered the toilets which were completely covered in Harry Potter fan scribblings. It was surreal. I didn’t like the way people wrote all over the toilets. It was oppressive. I think being a fan is great, but defacing property falls outside of my boundaries for appropriate ways to show adoration.
Anyway, of course, I had to buy a mug to remind me of this special opportunity to dine in cafe where one of the most famous writers of today did her plotting, characterisation and writing. I was hoping some of her inspiration and determination to finish writing would rub off on me. I’m still hopeful.
In the photos above, you can see us at The Elephant House.
We also visited Greyfriars Bobby where this little loyal dog is honoured and remembered. This church was fabulous, but for those who enjoy a bit of ghost hunting and paranormal thrills, I have to say there was a crypt there that gave me the shivers.
It’s the circular one with the dome roof. It had two doors with square windows made of wrought iron. I was too scared to get too close to this one. I kept getting the shivery sense that something was inside watching me. My writer’s imagination went wild, wild, wild with exciting ideas for creating paranormal wonder in my stories from this experience!
Okay, for my last Scottish highlight, here’s a super short video where Dave and I went hunting for the Loch Ness Monster and caught a glimpse!
Happy creativity whether you write, dance, make art or create music. Whatever you do, I hope it brings you joy and happiness.
So far I have watched just over half of the course. As I learned about shutter priority, aperture and ISO, I fiddled with the manual settings and had a go at taking a photo or two.
Here’s a couple of photos of Rocket. I know these photos are not professional in any sense of the word and I’m not even sure what settings I used but I love them!
I think I love these photos so much because they really capture the cute attentiveness of Rocket. These are the first photos I’ve taken of Rocket in a very long time where I have been able to capture what his face looks like.
Having a black poodle is one of the greatest things in my life – I treasure him. He is my loving and ever present companion and I want to take images of him as he is, showing his sweet face to the world.
This tiny creative success has inspired me to keep watching the course on Skillshare.com and learning how to use the camera to take photos that I want in my life.
Also, learning a little bit of photography is a great way for my brain to rest after such an intense time of creative writing. I’ve found lately that my creative writing has slowed down and that I need to take a pause. To allow my creative writing bucket an opportunity to fill up again.
Learning a new creative skill helps to enhance all of my creative skills. And I get to share this with you too!
I’ve been cutting out the things in my life that no longer bring me joy or add value to my life. And I’ve been focusing on uncovering my highest values so I can live in accordance with them.
Creative expression is one of my highest values. I love being creative. Drawing. Writing. Painting. Mixed Media. Photography.
Each one of these creative activities helps me to take a breather from a fast paced world and allows me to see what is truly before me. Creative writing helps me to understand the human condition, as does reflective writing and journaling.
I am so grateful for creativity and the journey of continued self-expression.
If you haven’t tried something creative for a while, maybe it’s time to slow down the pace in your life and take a moment to put a creative desire into action.
I’m starting this blog post off with some shameless self-promotion. Today I got inspired and made a youtube video on how you can use dream interpretation to help you with your art and writing. Or … at the very least, I had a go at it.
Here’s the video.
I had loads of fun making it. I’m not sure I uploaded the first version with high enough definition but this is all about learning and growing into new skills.
I took a short course, How to Make a Great Talking Head Video (even when camera shy) by Lucy Lambrlex on Skillshare.com and this is my first attempt after the class.
I hope you enjoy it and pick up a tip or two that will help you with your creative expression.
I dedicate this blog post to L. Frank Baum, who published his children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900.
This story has touched millions of people who have read it. And in today’s culture, children everywhere have surely seen the movie adaptation. I grew up watching it.
And, it’s hard to believe that this story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been in print for one hundred and sixteen years!
What a wonderful legacy to leave behind when the time for eternal rest knocks on one’s door!
As I handled the soft cover and contemplated the quote I thought deeply on the importance of journalling for creative writers.
In my opinion, creative writers need to noodle around inside the pages of a journal where it is safe to be exactly who they are – without censorship. They need to do this as a daily ritual.
Because the act of daily journaling develops the writer’s voice.
It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It is about the process of coming to the page. Pen in hand. Imagination and observation utterly engaged.
It is the place where magic begins to weave it’s way through the world and give the gift of sharing in this human life through story.
Some people don’t know what to write about and feel it to be a futile endeavor. I disagree. I see a multitude of things to write about and even when it comes to visual art, there is inspiration sitting right beside me if I take the time to engage in life and become a part of the flow.
Developing the writer’s voice is vitally important if you wish to write fiction. I’ll focus on fiction because that is where my creative heart lies.
Daily journal writing will open a doorway to the psyche, and reveal deep truths about human behavior including patterns you would not normally see. It may provide you with treasures you may have dismissed otherwise.
To write fiction, we writers much engage in the world. Watch the world. Feel the world. Taste it. Love it. Hate it. Be forged in the fires of dark and light to know the wide spectrum of the characters who will eventually knock on our creative doors, asking for their time on centre stage.
To write fiction, we must learn to listen deeply. Hear sub-text. Observe body language and see the correlation between what is being said and what is not being said, but is shouted at us through the body itself.
Writing in a journal develops our power of observation and we can noodle around, telling stories that make us happy or capture the deepest of sadness within. That is the gift of writing in a journal.
And I return to the quote on the cover of this novel journal from L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.
It’s hard to face oneself on the page, but it is so worth the effort.
I’ve been writing journals since I was 24 years old. That’s nineteen years of developing my writer’s voice. In that time I have recorded emotional turmoil, my hopes, my dreams and heartbreak down on the page. I’ve jotted down niteteen years of human experience that now helps to add depth to my own fiction writing.
My journal writing has become a doorway to expressing relatable characters and conflict on the page. And it has kept my secrets better than any friend ever could have.
So, when I found this ‘novel journal’ in the bookstore today I felt instantly inspired by the quote on the front cover.
In a strange way, the quote spoke to me. So much so that I picked it up immediately and purchased it.
The quote whispered to my creative writing soul.
It said, “If you take the time to be true to who you are and write inside me with wild abandon you will discover untold treasures.”
I am not one to dismiss such creative whispering, and so I handed over my money and took possession of this beautiful lime-green journal; eager to discover what treasures will appear inside these pages.
Writing, art, anything creative is an expression of the human experience and I believe it is a legacy worth capturing.