After a season of stepping forward and productive creativity, I find myself being stripped right back. and now I am so unsure…
questioning if I was actually moving in the right direction, wondering if progress was really made at all.
Time to take a walk…
The fruit trees on our Scottish farm had a glorious season, but we couldn’t even see the plums for the foliage.
Now those leaves are stripped right back. In the stillness of this frosted morning, I spy the evidence of fruitfulness.
and that some fruit remains…
If you are in such a place – where all that was full seems empty – may I offer you this humble portion?
Yes, there is loss. We don’t always see the fruit of our labours.
But sometimes what looks to be lost may be for another season.
It was bad. And that’s the truth.
I had painted it for so long through so many different shifting moods and atmospheres that the work had become parts and not a whole. Some pieces held promise but there was too much undone, too much overdone. So I didn’t look at it again (who would want to?) for 6 months. Then I brought it back into the light, back into view for a while. Was this thing worth saving? At first I thought only the board itself was of any value, that I would need to white it all out, remove the history before starting fresh. But I sat on that action for a few weeks and kept taking a look at the picture. Maybe I would just blot out the tree – that terribly overworked, every season’s colour leaf pile. I assembled my instruments as if to do surgery, full on titanium white at the ready. But then I realized something – I could redeem the tree! It had good roots, it had sound structure…it was worth saving. So carefully I began to move the work forward, one leaf at a time…
Sometimes we need a clean slate. We need to wipe things out in order to start fresh. But can I encourage you to take a step back before you crumple all that time and toss it into the bin? Maybe there is something worth saving – something of the effort you made in your working – that has a value you have not seen…yet.
Five kids, rare sunshine and the back porch…
There were blankets (because it was COLD!) and skateboards and balls and snacks and drinks. There were also paints and crayons and markers and paper which I still find irresistable even when frozen and covered with Easter chocolate. You’re never too old for crayons! May you find time to play today – be creative, be encouraged.
We do not always recognize how much we have to give, what there is within us to access. Wisdom, experience, creativity, skill, talent, vision – these things can get locked down and covered with dust unless we purpose otherwise.
It was a very Tolkien day out on the farm with sun-lit mist and cloud. I decided to put everything aside for 20 minutes, grab my camera and tromp out into the freezing air to snap some pictures. The first photo is my favourite. I’ve done nothing to it – no cropping, no lighting, no filters. This picture is a combination of a moment in the atmosphere and my willingness to see it and engage with what I carry to get the shot.
These next photographs were taken on the same morning ~
I’ve worked on the lighting and colours to push them forward, to see where they could go…
After a long period of inactivity, I could have hesitated – I could have talked myself out of the moment. I’m so glad I didn’t.
What you have to give is waiting to be given.
Be encouraged today.
I have avoided it for a week now – this getting back to it.
Art, writing…creativity. Me.
After an enforced sabbatical (sickness and holidays and company and sickness) I need to get back to it. Like riding a bike, you never forget, but oh how the skills get rusty. So I’m starting the best way I know how – at the beginning. Again.
Tools: black ink and a sketchbook, decent lighting and a bit of time and space to breathe…
the sketchbook: butterflies promising new life
the pages: large and textured, which seem friendly to me
a little sign: a whole world can fit on this page
I find an interesting shape in the paper: my starting point
the “flaw” becomes a hollow in a tree: so it begins…
Time to dream again…
Don’t be afraid to go back to the basics. This is where beautiful beginnings can start right and well. Sometimes we need to walk through these steps, retrace the starts we’ve made so that we can remember why. In art or cooking, sewing or photography, writing or music – whatever your expression is – there is a time for starting fresh, remembering firsts, and rediscovering the joy of it all over again.
Maybe this small start will find you considering doing the same. I would love to hear about your journey. Be encouraged today..and in this new year.
This time of year I find myself looking deeper into shapes and patterns.
There are no summer brights flooding my field of vision, no autumn vibe, no spring shoots. Our winter palette is limited, but the structure and detail of our surroundings can still stop me in my tracks.
There is treasure in every season. Sometimes we have to take the time to see it…to dig for it, if necessary.
Be encouraged today and enjoy what you find.
I don’t want to preach “Do as I say, not as I do”
so I took a big step out into uncharted waters this past month and painted live for a whole week.
with a team. In tents. In front of a crowd. Seriously.
Now, I’ve painted live before, but not with the possibility of 2000 people peeking over my shoulder. Amazingly, the nerves faded away as I concentrated on what I had come to do. And in that place of contemplation – between the music and the speakers and the buzz and the lights – people were impacted by the process and the paint. I, most of all.
Sometimes you have to be willing to get up there and go for it, big and loud. Why? Someone might need to hear what you have say, see what you have to create, read what you have to write, listen to the colour of music only you can play.
adding in the final details:
The finished painting “Tree of Life” painted at Clan Gathering 2012
To all my kind followers: July was full of family and new work and everything in between. I will be back to posting regularly now! Thank you for your patience 🙂