At the beginning of this new year, I took up a challenge to be purposeful in my creativity every day in January. It has been a fun and sometimes frustrating exercise that has refreshed my creative rhythms and helped me through a difficult month. Here are my last sketchbook entries as I consider where to go from here…
31 days later and I find myself refocused, looking forward to exploring the new ideas that have come from this concentrated time of pause. Maybe you could take the challenge and find something to carry forward in your journey as well!
A daily creative process takes a bit of planning. If I’m going to keep going for the whole of January, it’s got to be something within my reach, otherwise I’d lose heart. I really enjoy the process of drawing small with a rainbow of Sharpie markers to play with. It’s art I can move around the house and work on in any room – a necessity in our busy household!
here are 3 days from my sketchbook…
some detail shots…
The thing about working like this (markers, small scale, limited time) is that a mark is a mark. You have to go with it – there’s no room for perfectionism. That is a healthy way to keep creativity vibrant and evolving. And I get my ideas out on the page, even if it’s just a few sentences or notes. You can do something like this, too!
I find it difficult to focus on my studio when wildchilds are about on summer holidays. I tend to get caught up in the sand and ice lollies, sibling spats and late nights of Kids Off School. But the month of July held two precious jewels for me, commissioned work that was very personal and challenging in a good way. Interpreting someone’s story, a chapter in their life – past or upcoming – is an honour. It comes with a “hold your breath” moment while waiting to see if you got it right, if the work connects with the person’s heart…
I made a small drawing for a woman who recently lost her mother. The friend who commissioned the work told me this story: “…Before her mum passed away (the mother) accepted the Lord and my friend began to find butterflies all over her mum’s house. The day her mum passed away my friend found a lilac butterfly in her belongings and felt like the Lord was reassuring her of her mum’s salvation…for the first few days after the funeral people were either wearing butterflies or she saw them wherever she went…”
In the midst of the summer swirl, taking time to be still and focus on something so small and tender and poignant became a gift to me. Maybe you are in that same swirl of busy, noisy life? That can be a really good thing. There is also good in the studied, focussed quiet. In the days ahead may we find time for both.
Let’s face facts. Sometimes, may times, waiting isn’t any fun…
We’d waited months for our eldest daughter’s hospital appointment. We packed 5 days worth of stuff into bags and drove into the city, relieved to go ahead and get this started. We sat in a ward for hours waiting for the doctor to come. Every minute that ticked by said we might be waiting some more. It wasn’t fun. I’ve learned to be prepared to wait, so I whipped out my trusty Sharpies and a plain pocket calendar that I’d packed to pass the time. We talked, I drew. I drew, she watched. We waited. Four hours later…the doctor didn’t show – he was sick. That was hard. But I pointed my child in the right direction, towards the door and to hope…that good can come of waiting even when we don’t know the “why.” I carry this little reminder of our time spent. And I choose to believe it was for the good, for the better. If you are in the waiting room, I hope this little piece encourages you today.
We have been rescheduled in record time…not long now. And yes, I will be repacking my pens!
I have a confession to make – I am addicted to Sharpie permanent markers.
I have a rather large box full, but I cannot pass by a display without getting the shakes. Yes, I even hide them from my children and I do not offer them to adults looking for a “black marker.” They are for my ART, even if that is the art of doodling. Let me encourage you today – doodles on a post-it, notes hummed in the shower, a few words scribbled on a napkin – these can be the beginnings of something wonderful. Don’t throw away these tiny seeds. Break out the Sharpies and let them grow!