Tips for the fallow days

Do you have times of Fallow? Where creativity and inspiration are hard to come by? For me it seems that this has been a continuous cycle over the recent months and it is as though I need to break free from some intangible chains that are stopping the energy and freedom I usually have. It’s not to say that I haven’t been painting, I’ve been pushing through but nothing seems to be satisfactory to me and all I want to do is strive for more.. For something else that doesn’t exist in my work, that excites me and makes me want to move forward with fresh vigour and excitement as to what will happen next.

One of the ways I have been trying to break free is through working larger and longer on pieces, but now I’m going to start working on fast and loose on many pieces all at once and see what happens. Another way I’ve found is to change up materials and work with them in different ways and on different surfaces. So all these are my next plan of action! Just by writing this it has helped me to clarify my aims, so thats a good tip too if you are struggling, write about it and it can help to get ideas and formulate a plan.

Here are a few images of work that has been evolving over the last few months too.

Moments of Silence

Recently I have been thinking about the moments we have in stillness and thoughtful quiet, where the joy of silence is profound. It’s not very often we can be in that place these days what with traffic, people and just the daily noise of living, to me these moments are so precious just to feel the quiet, to let it surround me almost like a soft blanket which calms and re-energises.

My paintings I hope convey a sense of calm and of contemplation where you can look a while and come away feeling refreshed and with a new sense of being and appreciation of our beautiful wide open landscapes.

‘Stuck Moments’

Play and exploration in creativity and art play a major role, has anyone ever been thwarted by the feeling of being stuck in a creative block? Were you at a place where you felt stagnated and needed change to refuel your drive and inspiration?

That was me for weeks and I couldn’t work out what I needed to do to change my thoughts and processes to get me back on track and feeling better about myself and my art. I was trying to keep plodding on with my work but the effect of that was just feeling worse as each day passed, it’s not the right answer for me, what I have found out is that we need to refuel and be kind to ourselves, to refill our creative and inspirational reserves before we can move forward with more desire and promise.

I found comfort of reverting back to working small and on paper giving myself the freedom to play again, to take more risks and feel the excitement of not knowing the outcome. I have found that is a big driver for me as I am always questing for the unknown and the unpredictable results.

I know not everyone works like this and it would be lovely to know how you resolve your ‘Stuck’ moments.

Deciding to get out more and discover new sights, giving myself time to reflect on old work and think about how this can feed new work, then to slowly start thinking about how I am going to move forward in tiny steps has really helped.

Here are some of my recent paintings on paper.

Holloways

I came by the word “Holloway” when reading an article recently and the word comes from the Old English language of the Anglo Saxon “hola weg” meaning sunken road. The author Robert Macfarlane, wrote a book about them with Stanley Donwood illustrating it. Holloways were originally intended for the movement of cattle through the landscape from farms to market or perhaps a route for pilgrimage, smugglers for contraband and various materials by cart. They are often in deep shade with the light filtering through the leaves and make for a beautiful walk on a sunny day.

The recent paintings that I am working on reflect the colour and history of these ancient paths and I have been trying to create the atmospheric and shadowy world of secret mystery.

This is leading to further research of these ancient paths and lanes and I hope to keep exploring the mysterious world of a bygone age.

Holloway 20 x 20 cm Oil on Cradled Panel
Safe Haven 15x15cm on Cradled Panel

Resourceful Art

Artists and Creatives – Do you think you are resourceful when it comes to creativity? It’s a very broad question and one which can be interpreted in many ways. The reason I came up with this topic is that I recently fractured my dominant hand and have struggled with trying to make work with a cast on my hand. I have really missed having the freedom to do whatever I want to creatively and have had to channel some new ways of thinking and process. Obviously this is just one strand of being resourceful as we artists have to work with limitations most of the time, but just by having the drive and determination to keep going always reaps great rewards.

My hand is back to normal now and it certainly has made me appreciate being able to have the freedom to make art, its actually been quite a prolific time it must have been the break away and the drive to get going again!

My thoughts this month relate to the actual style of work that we create, do you stick to a particular style or are you ever evolving? I find that I have to keep moving forward striving for something else, something that I haven’t yet discovered. That must be the joy of art – the little moments where we surprise ourselves.

A Promise

Hope and anticipation are the words for January for me, the hope of the brighter days ahead being full of art, laughter, fun and the promise of an end to the pandemic. I think we all need to hang on to the promise of things to come..

It’s the same with creativity as there’s always tomorrow to start afresh or carry on with a process that is inspiring and pushes you to new realms of possibilities, bringing a feeling of excitement and achievement to the everyday. Every year we look forward to Spring and the bright, green days that are to come, it’s almost a metaphor for life that there is something always brighter if only you look for it.

I’ve started on a new way of thinking about creativity and found Gareth Edwards and Kate Reeve-Edwards book ‘Painting Abstract Landscapes’ so inspiring, it has given me the boost that I needed to move out of safety and challenge painting again. Below are some images of that process.

Winter Solstice

As winter winds surge across the landscape so does the feeling of turning our backs to the cold, the dark and hunkering down with our friends and families. It always makes me concerned about the people who have no-one to share Christmas with and these past few years have probably been the worst yet. Yet there is hope as the year turns on its axis and the days start to lengthen again we can start to look forward to the brighter days to come.

Sharing my work and writing this blog is my way of sharing a little brightness and cheer to others, to hopefully spark something that may help others to see that being creative can have many rewards, it can take our minds away from the everyday and create a sense of calm, it helps to see the beauty all around us too. Even if it is just appreciating someone else’s creativity it can add something to our lives, to our outlook and the way that we see the world.

Wishing everyone the very best for 2022.

Creative Freedom

What does the phrase ‘Creative Freedom’ evoke in you? I suppose that each and everyone of us has a different response because creativity is so subjective, it lends itself to so many perceptions of meaning its difficult to put into any given explanation. Also creative freedom can come in different guises not only art related but so many avenues of life and environments.

Personally the meaning for me starts with my art, it gives permission to create without any clear path, to be experimental and to enjoy process for its own sake. It brings with it the agency to forget what has gone before and to let the mind wander into a creative state or ‘In the zone’ feeling, it’s what drives me ever onwards on my creative journey.

Here are a few of my purely experimental pieces, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Creative Freedom.

Time to Shine More!

I have just completed the very informative and enjoyable course with Alice Sheridan the ‘Time to Shine’ course, who also hosts the fab Art Juice Podcast. The course is a two week bite sized daily prompt to encourage a greater presence online and to meet other artists and creatives to develop their potential to show up on line. It is full of little gems of information for those starting their journey into being more present digitally as well as those who are already showing up online to refresh and learn new techniques to socially engage people. It really makes you think about what you are actually doing and where you want to go on social media as well as your website etc.

It’s brought a greater sense of ownership and control over what I want to share going forward and helped me to break down barriers that I had unknowingly set myself. So for the last few weeks I have been trying to break these barriers and am slowly evolving, I can’t say its a quick process for me but it has certainly made me think very differently about how I show up!

It’s all very easy just to concentrate on making work as I love painting and being creative as it answers a need to be present and in the moment- but now I can see that things need to move on, to expand, explore and share! So watch this space and my social media pages and enjoy!

Creative Tools

Writing here over the last months has been deeply influenced by the situation that we have all been part of and I suppose it’s only natural that happened, so I want now to get back to what this blog is supposed to address. My thoughts about writing are a sharing of ideas, techniques, tools and process of making art, so this is a new beginning where you are more than welcome to add your thoughts and ideas so that everyone can benefit from being creative.

Sharing of ideas is so important to me as it helps others to get benefit from being creative and also how important it is as an outlet for the stresses and strains of contemporary life.

How has the last few months been for you? Creatively for me it has been a time of fallow, where I have found it quite difficult to be creative and I put it down to our experiences of late. Do you have periods of flow and then fallow? How do you get out of them? For me it is just to keep trying to work and push on through, also it’s the inspiration that is lacking and that is probably because I have not been out exploring the landscape as much, this has influenced my art work by keep pushing for change and trying out different ideas. I have been trying to be more expressive and loose and hopefully I can push that further over the coming months!

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