How are things? It is a hard slog lockdown three isn't it?
I was thinking about what has helped me stay a bit robust during this time and it is definitely these three things:
1) self care; yoga, being mindful of getting early nights and eating well
2) nature; as many walks as possible
I was asked to do a talk about creativity by the incredible Hannah Anstee, for a women's circle and I thought I would share some thoughts and tips on here.
Before we even start to create there are barriers; my biggest one has always been self confidence. I can't say that my art education at school was positive; my art teacher seemed annoyed that I was so passionate about art and did what he could to quash it. From drawing over my art to telling the whole class that I would not achieve higher grades by moving to a six form college. Now I teach art I just find it even more shocking that happened. I see passion in my students as an absolute gift and nothing makes me happier than seeing them soar.
Any outside influences, family, friends can unwittingly make you feel less likely to pick up a pencil. So how do we get through that? I think firstly know that most people are just living with their inner monologue and therefore have their own outlook and agenda, so why are we taking that on? Concentrate on what brings you joy and follow your own agenda.
Start with a small sketchbook; just do little things regularly. Be really mindful that you might not like everything you do. It doesn't matter. Keep going. These are all necessary stepping stones to getting where you want to be.
Some sculptures I drew at the National Portrait Gallery when waiting for a friend; when you could spend time in galleries. I am going to relish those moments when we can again.
Also try and think what you would say about your artwork if it was a friend showing it to you. Would you being saying all the harsh things you have just said? Or would you look for the good stuff? Write these nice things down.
So how do you get into a creative headspace to make something? I would argue that you don't have to be in the mood to be creative, more in the habit. To make it a habit it has to be achievable. So here are some tips:
1. If you can have a designated space to work so you can leave your materials out. This isn't always possible so if not get a collection together of very accessible materials; a small sketchbook, pencils, pens, rubber, pencil sharpener, a little pan of watercolour, a jam jar with water in and kitchen roll, and keep these in a box.
This is what I use on a regular basis (as you can tell from the state of my brushes!):
2. Decide on a theme so you don't even have to think about what you are drawing/painting and get images or objects to work from collected too.
Some of the themes I have used: drawing my cats everyday for a 100 days, landscapes, collages, swimmers. It helps if it is something you love or something you love to do. So if you enjoy walking in the countryside you could take photographs or make sketches to work from while you are out.
If you are really stuck google "drawing prompts" and work through the list.
3. Put your phone away and make sure if you have designated an hour to being creative you don’t look at it in that time.
If you get interrupted at home, take your sketch book out and do quick drawings.
When things get more normal; go to cafes/ galleries and have that time to yourself so you can to draw.
I also used to draw at train stations when waiting for my train; it felt much more fulfilling than scrolling through my phone.
A drawing I made when waiting for a train
Finally some here are some inspiring things that are about the process of creativity. Sometimes it is good to know that creativity is a journey of trying and doing. It will have perceived failures and real triumphs, but the main thing is to keep going...
Kae Tempest "On Connection
Ted Talks: Taika Waititi "The Art of Creativity", Ethan Hawke "Give Yourself to be Creative"
Youtube Clips: "What artists do all day"
Programmes: Sky Arts Portrait or Landscape Artist of the Year.
Happy Creating x