Inspiration exists

trio“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
Pablo Picasso

Tomorrow is the back to school; the return to routine, and I have to say, I am quite looking forward to it. I find freedom in constraint.

Our Summer has been an amazingly varied one. I started by gaining my Competent Crew certificate on the solent, then heading off to sail the Ionian Sea with my love and the boys. The stunning views of distant islands from the yacht would have been the perfect exercise in limited colour palette (but those images will have to wait for another post as the photos are still stuck on the phone). But I made very little art this holiday. Knowing that quiet time alone would be in short supply, I chose not to frustrate myself with the intention to create at home, though on picnics in places where I knew the boys could run free, I took pastels and paper just in case and was rewarded on a couple of occasions. Enough solo space, bum on rug as kids ran and played, allowed me to do a few drawings. A last minute trip to Cornwall for a couple of days meant an unexpected visit to Tate St. Ives and to the even more delightful Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The five hour journey there and back would have been worth if for that place alone. Meantime, the ideas were brewing.

This weekend, kids with Dad, I allowed myself to get going. On Friday night, I covered the table with newspaper, donned my dirty jeans and painting shirt and the canvas and acrylics came out. Having had countless ideas and images in my head over the six weeks of school holidays, I didn’t think I would find it difficult to make something I was happy with. How wrong I was. Before long, the frustration was mounting. I painted; painted over; tried something new; gave up. Paint was not working. In giving up on my painting, I did not give up on art, but rummaged through my art drawer for some charcoal. I found my big A2 drawing pad and started, this time with nothing in mind than to draw whatever flowed. The three charcoal drawings above were what came in the space of an hour or so. The outside light was on for some reason, so glimpsing the leaves lit through the window must have inspired me (but it was not until the following day that I realised the works must also have been influenced by my visit, earlier in the week to The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious and represented, in some way, the unspoken words that had been forming in my head recently). I spent a little while in the garden too… shadows fell on the paper as I rested it on the ground and the inspiration grew stronger. I could have worked all night. Strangely (and unlike me when in flow) I chose not to. Instead, I chose bed and rose ready to begin again in the morning, working in pastels this time. I did one piece I was happy with then rested and turned to writing.

All Summer long I had intended to go visit the Matisse Cut Outs exhibition at Tate Modern, but for some reason (or many) had not managed it. Due to the popularity of the show, the Tate stayed open all night Saturday and into Sunday, so this morning, I caught the early train to London Bridge. My mission was to top up the inspiration tanks at the show. I had playbook and pens at the ready and was not disappointed. The elegant simplicity of the works astounded me. One of the pieces that moved me most was Oceania, The Sky as, with my fondness for brown packaging paper, I was able to envisage ways of creating a piece directly inspired, but quite different. Each room gave me new ideas for projects.

Next, I followed Ben Wilson’s chewing gum trail across the Millennium Bridge and chose to walk all the way to my next destination on the North (instead of my usual fave) South Bank. Again, inspiration was leaping out at me everywhere. I took photos, made notes and absorbed everything. Nothing like a stroll in the city to get the creative juices flowing. Time sat alone in busy places with notebook and pen allows me to consolidate things and if accompanied by good food in an atmospheric café all the better. I got lucky, filling several pages over porridge and chai at Dishoom. Once again, inspiration found me working.

The trick now is to turn that inspiration into something more concrete and this is often the point at which I resist. Fear kicks in and I kid myself that inspiration itself is enough. It is not. That is why I halted this blog post right there at the last full stop to go make something. You can see the result (white paper on brown manilla envelope with room for address on the left hand side) at the bottom of this post.
Today’s outing was a deliberate inspiration-seeking adventure. I went armed with supplies to work on my art and my ideas. The run-up to the day was filled with art-making and not, as I have explained, of the straight forward kind. I could have given up when the painting was not flowing, but chose to push through in a different medium. Inspiration found me working and it will find you too, if you work at it.matisseIf you need a little kick-start on your own inspiration-seeking adventure, why not join me…? The first of my Inspiration Days are coming soon.
Book now to be ahead of the game!
I challenge you to come out and play… experience the city through the eyes of an artist…
I guarantee inspiration will find you.

What is creative freedom?

What is creative freedom?
What does it feel like?
How do you achieve it?

If you had a light and airy studio, a limitless variety of materials available to you and all the time in the world, where would you begin? This is the kind of freedom many people think of as they indulge in the dream of being an artist, but in reality, such freedom can be overwhelming.

There is freedom in limitations and right here, right now, you have all that you need available to you in order to begin your artist’s journey.

On May 1, 21012, after many years of neglecting my creativity, I committed to just ten minutes of conscious creative activity each day for 30 days. I committed to my dream of being an artist. A single Mum with two young boys, doing part time work, I did not have a studio, had what felt like no free time and a collection of art materials I had built up over a period of several years when something I thought would help me be an artist caught my eye in the art shop and I couldn’t resist. At first, I set myself little challenges, then, as the days went by, I found that I was no longer making excuses and finding reasons not to start, but I was looking for a way to keep going. Ten minutes turned into thirty which often became a couple of hours without me even noticing. When the month was up and the odd day passed by when I did not make art, I found myself missing it. What I soon realised was that I did not need a studio to make art, I did not even need more time and I certainly did not need specific materials, all that I needed was commitment. A simple commitment to making art in the time and space I already had with materials readily available to me was so liberating. It took less than two weeks before I felt like an artist again. I made myself a little badge and wore it with pride. I had not yet found my voice or made money from my art, it none of this mattered. What I had gained was my sense of self… I had re-connected with my passionate creative heart again… the liberated, creative me that I lost when I stopped making art and expressing myself freely.

What can you create right now, in the time you have with the materials to hand?
I dare you to check back with me in 10 minutes.

If you had time to read this, you have time to make art… now… GO!

If you would like my support on your artistic journey, 21 Days of Creative Freedom could be just what you need! No experience necessary, just a desire to be creative.

Kickstart Your Creativity

Collaborative artwork

Fresh wonders have been unfolding over here at Be Creative Daily as I started running a new course at home last Wednesday evening, called Kickstart Your Creativity. For one month, six courageous women have committed to spending two hours here each week, to embark on a creative journey. Art is being made, connections are being forged, dreams are being shared and I am filled with an enormous feeling of excitement and possibility.

At the moment, things are still in the early stages. The course has been (loosely) written and I am playing it out for the very first time with a group of local Mums, connected by a desire to welcome more creativity into their lives, as well as a need for connection and a wish for a feeling of community. My aim is to provide a space within which everyone can safely share, create and let go…
Let go of the desire for perfection
Let go of unrealistic expecations (that we often put upon ourselves)
Let go of shoulds and coulds and just play, like our children play, just as we did before we got caught up in our assumptions and became frozen by our fears.

How often do we have the chance in our busy lives to really let go…?
When do we have the opportunity to share our desires…?
How often to we get to explore what we really want for our lives and think about how we can take positive action to effect such change…?
How often are we even really listened to…?
But isn’t that exactly what we want for our children…? That they should play and explore the world without pressure and fears and that they should have the freedom to express themselves and their wishes without judgement or concern. Why then, would we not give that gift to ourselves? How can we lead by example?

These are some of the questions I seek to address as I use art-making exercises to explore each of these things. Last week, beautiful vision boards were created and tiny steps were taken towards living that fulfilling life. This week, we took pleasure in making imperfect pictures. We shared stories, made collaborative art, talked about the beauty of sharing and the power of asking for help. And next week another layer will be peeled… more fears will be faced, more experiences shared.

Travelling home, a little late yesterday, I waited alone at the station for my train. I watched carriage after carriage pull in and pass on. What struck me was the lack of interaction. What frightened me was the solitariness of each individual; the blank expressions; the empty stares and what I thought was how, in each moment on of our day, we pass up on the possibility of connection, be it as simple as eye contact with a stranger or a smile exchanged.

These strangers will be the ones I invite next… they will be the ones I welcome, should they accept the challenge, to kickstart their creativity. There is so much possibility and potential right there on one single busy commuter train. I will be delivering those invitations by hand, with a look in the eye and a smile.

If you feel that you are in a creative slumber from which you wish to awaken, this is your invitation, right here

Whilst on the subject of inspiration and positive change, I have something else I wish to share. Be Creative Daily began on May 1, 2012 with a simple commitment to a 30 Day Challenge. My personal challenge was to do something creative every day for 30 days and share it. So many things have resulted from that simple commitment… everything you see here in fact! Each art class and workshop, every group and creative connection is the result of making a commitment to my art. If you have something you have always wanted to do, a business you have been thinking of, an event you would like to run, there are few things you could do that would make more of an immediate impact than joining me and 200 other people all around the world as we commit to another 30 Day Challenge. Are you in? It can be life-changing.

With love,
Julia x

What is your WHY?

Today, I re-watched a talk that had inspired me, a few weeks ago, to examine my why?

In case you were wondering, this was it…

When I first took a serious look at my why? a few weeks back, the answer I came up with was this…

What is my WHY?

I LOVE ART!
I have seen, first hand, how art can change lives.
Creativity is a gift that I would like everyone to experience and enJOY!
For me, art is all about self-expression. It is not about creating something beautiful, it is about delving deep inside ourselves and letting all of our feelings and emotions spill out. I use art to explore and express the joys and the challenges in life and seek to enable others to step away from a desire to create something perfect and immerse themselves in the pure joy of the art-making process.
I want to help women reconnect with their creative selves after having children. As mothers, it can be easy to lose ourselves, focussing on the needs of our family and neglecting our own, but in looking after our own needs, we are better equipped to attend to the needs of others, making for a happier family life. By cultivating a creative practice, we can reconnect with, and powerfully express our true selves, and in doing so, encourage our children to do the same.
Art has always been at the centre of my life, but in reconnecting with my own artist’s journey after many years of concentrating on other people’s art, I found my way back to my own true, creative self.
I want to encourage every single person who feels the pull, but also the fear, to welcome art into their life.

And that, dear friends, is why I am doing this.

So tell me… what is your why?
And if you feel tempted by the pull of art, but frozen by the fear… join me for a day of playful creativity.

I will hold your hand as you let go… and let out a big cheer as you welcome creativity in. You have nothing to lose… and so much to win!

With love,
Julia x

My June art adventures


June 1, when I committed to:
Doing something creative every day for the next 30 days
Sharing on the blog at least once a week
Being open to any direction my creativity may take me
Being open to any outcome
Sharing my feelings, learnings and realisations as I go through the process
seems like a lifetime away.

How is it possible for time to go so fast, yet for a mere month to feel like so long ago?
At the moment, I feel this way because I did so much more than I expected in the month just gone and in the doing, the time has flown. It has truly been a joyful, art-filled month of exciting discoveries, allowing myself to be free and get in flow.

I started the month sharing videos of my progress, but as June went on and paid work rolled in, there was less time to sit in front of the webcam and the journey became more of an action-based learning than the sharing I had initially intended. In writing this now though, I feel compelled to make a video of my learnings this month, as I realise that I am sharing very few of the details. To do so in a written blog post feels impossible right now, so… watch this space!

I made art almost every day. Some days a simple doodle or sketch; others a finished, framed piece. One of my simplest pieces was an emptying of my head before bed (above). It was a lipstick print of my mouth (representing me talking about what I love) enclosed in a heart (all the things I love) and a tracing around my hand (representing me making my art). The following morning, one of the simplest and most important pieces of advice from my coach summed up my previous night’s art-making in one sentence: “You’ve got to get out there and talk to people about doing what you love”. Yes!

And this is how the month has been.

June was truly a month of getting back to the heart of why I am here; delving deeply into my art and allowing it to flow in all areas of my life. The subtle shifts that have happened; the discoveries and realisations; all of these things, are becoming regular occurrences as I allow myself to do what I love; allow myself to be the artist I want to be; create and live the artist’s life I have longed for. It may seem, to my impatient self, like slow progress in terms of making a sustainable living from this artist’s life, but I feel optimistic that I am on the right path…

This week I created my first Birthday Art Experience for a friend’s 9 year old son. He made a beautiful work of art, way beyond his expectations. His Mum, a designer, is currently working on Art Experience Gift Vouchers for me to offer out to the world – the perfect solution for anyone wishing to give their loved ones the Gift of Art. Last week, I checked out the spaces to hire at Jacksons Lane and am working towards offering a workshop in one of their studios in September (if not before). I know now, that I want to help women connect with their true selves through the creative process.

In terms of personal satisfaction; in filling my daily life with more of what I love; in feeling closer to my true self and living the life of the Play Map in my previous post, this is fast progress indeed. I have spent a day at the coast with the kids, enjoyed other people’s workshops and spent a whole weekend immersing myself in art on a last-minute adventure. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that much of my art this month has involved body mapping (above), putting more of myself into my work and exploring my emotions through art. Perhaps the natural outcome is that I step closer to what matters to me. More of that in my next post… I have some wonderful images to share of my indulgent, art-filled weekend away, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here, working away on my art, finding new ways of sharing.

With love,
Julia x


Setting intentions and doing what makes you come alive

My play map

As I work my way through the Screw Work Let’s Play Ignition programme, I find myself diving into Play Mapping. With additional coaching from Selina Barker, I am getting clearer on how I would like my working life to be and taking a step closer to that every day. I am fairly happy with my life as it is, but hey, there is always room for improvement and I could do with more work and income when small boy starts school in just 12 weeks time… I want to be sure that I love what I am doing and getting paid to play. Play Mapping involves dreaming big. It means creating a vision of what you really, really want and this involves getting to the very heart of the experiences you desire in your life. So, I have been dreaming big, but also getting very practical about the little steps I can take right now to get closer to that dream life on a day to day basis.

To the sea

As expressed in my play map, I felt the need for wide open skies and sea air this weekend, so I took my best friend Laura, her youngest daughter and my boys on a day trip to Hastings. We had fish & chips, rode the rollercoaster (not in that order) and played hide and seek amongst the gorse bushes in Hastings Country Park. These are the things that make me come alive. I returned home with salty, tangled hair and a good feeling about things to come. The restorative effects of this day of play are still with me and the trip got Laura sketching again.

One of the most important things to me is sharing and connecting with like minded people. I have long known that in order to create a successful, sustainable business, it is necessary to grow my tribe, but this week I acknowledged that fact and started to take steps towards the goal of reaching out and connecting with more people. On Wednesday, I set the intention of finding a blog for which I could provide a guest post. I mentioned this to a few people and sent this desire out into the universe. Within 24 hours, my call was answered from the most unexpected of directions. I stumbled upon Paula, a like-minded blogger in Buenos Aires who was seeking guest posts and, as luck would have it, someone had dropped out leaving a spot for me right away. As Paula so sweetly put it, “The Universe was playing mix and match with us”. By Friday… less than 48 hours after setting my intention, my first guest blog post was up! You can read it here.

On Monday, I was Paula’s guest illustrator of the week and another of my images was being shared. Whilst I have been letting go of outcome in my art, the power of setting small, but clear intentions with a bigger goal in mind has been such a great lesson for me this week. My desire to connect led to another contact closer to home… the delightful Hatti of Parent Tribe. Parent Tribe is a new online magazine and website which aims to inspire and support parents to find ways to be together with their children more, living creative, holistic and fulfilling lives. I am so thrilled that some of my photographs will be used in the next issue and I am looking forward to connecting with other creative parents online.

And so, as the week progresses, I will be doing more of what makes me come alive. I will be going back to my play map and fitting more of these things into my daily life. I will be setting more intentions as well. Starting with the bigger dream, I will consider the next step I need to take in order to get closer to that bigger dream… I will set my intention and take the leap.

Have you tried Play Mapping?

How have you used the power of intentions to get closer to your big dream?

 

The breakthrough

Three days ago I wrote about The Slump… that dark moment, part-way in, when I question everything. Familiar with this heavy territory, I also acknowledged that “This is often the moment before the breakthroughs happen… when you ride the storm and come out the other side; brighter, stronger.” Last night I felt brighter and stronger than I have felt in a long time. The breakthrough came sooner than I thought.

On Thursday night, having raised my voice too loud, I was suffering from an anger hangover. The term references what Brené Brown calls “the vulnerability hangover”, a term that she coined when she needed a concept that captured that feeling of, “Oh my God! Why did I share that? What was I thinking?” My term “anger hangover” captures my feeling of, “Oh my God! Why did I just shout like that? What was I thinking?” It was one of those evenings when I was over-tired and going over old ground, asking nicely for things to be done to no response and being faced with yet another challenging episode of big boy picking on small boy, when the fuse blew. When all was finally quiet and boys were both in bed, I was still feeling the aftershock of being pushed to my limits and becoming a person I think (wish, hope against hope) I am not. I feel it in every inch of my body… the tension, the regret, the shrinking into myself, the desire to undo, the reality of what I become when I forget, for an instant, to discipline calmly or to walk away. It was eating me up and I had to get it out, so I turned to my art. I did not know where I was going, so I followed my instinct, went to the pen drawer and picked up the thickest, blackest pen I could find. It was how I was feeling. I rolled out a length of brown wrapping paper and taped it to the table. There is something about the shade and the texture of that paper that makes me feel happy and safe. It is comforting in a way that I cannot describe. I picked up a pencil, lay my head on the paper I traced my profile. It came naturally to me. I still had no idea what I was doing, just feeling my way. I traced another profile… my other side, making two faces staring blankly at each other. With the thick black marker I traced each profile. One appeared a little softer… the me I would like to be. The other I attacked with my pen, drawing in jagged lines, up and down, angry with sharp edges. I scribbled areas of black at the back of my neck where the tension lay and in my chest where I felt the embarrassing pain of the me I had been in that moment and the spikes and lines that came out from my throat were expressions of what I had done. It felt good, letting it all out. And when it was done, it was done. I had released the tension, expressed the feelings and the fear. 

I then turned my attention to the other face. I felt calmer; my edges softer and that came out in the pen, the fluid lines, the flowing, curling waves of the me I wanted to be. It was that simple. I was redressing the balance. I drew out the me I wanted to be and in doing so I became calmer in the moment.

Redressing the balance: how it was and how it should have been

Late Friday afternoon, I listened to an audio recording by Laura Hollick in which she explained how she had discovered a technique which had enabled her to heal her skin and grow in confidence; a technique which she herself had created, just by feeling her way and going deeply into her art. Hearing her describe the technique and listening as she shared this way of working, I realised that I had to share what I had done the previous night for myself. So, last night, when two friends arrived for my evening workshop, we first went through a few tried and tested techniques… playful ways to step out of your comfort zone and let go of the idea of making perfect art; ways to immerse yourself in the creative process and enjoy the pure pleasure of simply making art. And then, I took the leap of sharing what I had tried the night before. We traced our profiles onto paper and I asked each of my friends to think of something that was a challenge for them right now… to go deeply into that feeling and let it out on the paper. I did the same.

In creating my negative head, I could feel myself scratching away with pastel on paper, rubbing and smudging, blurring and spilling every ounce of negative feeling into the dark-edged drawing that was my fearful self. There were glimmers in there too… fighting the dark, but overall this image represented the fear of a beige existence, tied to a job I do not love, a reality that is far from my own right now, but a possibility that seems to be raising its head from time to time. I resist and resist and even thinking about it I feel the darkness descend, starting right in my eyes and moving up over my head and down my neck, into my back, shoulders and beyond. It comes from the fact that I do not have a steady, stable income. I am not in reliable employment, I am feeling my way, just getting by, and how does that equate with a life in which I have a mortgage and two children depending on me? But I trust in the process. I believe wholeheartedly (and some might say naively, but they may never experience) that this exciting and terrifying ride will lead to freedom. And when I say “freedom”, I mean freedom from the cage of other people’s expectations. I mean freedom from being chained to a life that is not your own. I mean the freedom to be me… the me I am yearning to be.

And so, in the other head, I created my colourful life. I filled it with layers of greens and blues and let the brightness of all that I wish for and all I am working towards shine, and it felt good and it flowed freely and easily and I rose above my shadow and felt liberated and ready to take on the world. All of the negativity had slipped away and I was left with a feeling that this was the way forward and I only wished that we had more time.

We shared our stories… the challenges and the desired outcomes and described how we had represented these feelings and how it felt to be creating and sharing amongst friends.

It was a powerful releasing and allowing…a shedding… a letting go… a way of tapping into our emotions and creating a new reality… a brighter future being mapped out right there and then on paper with our own hands. And in sharing we were connecting.

My immediate thought was that a whole day of doing this kind of thing could be so worthwhile… encouraging and allowing people to make imperfect art for the sheer joy of creating and using art as a way of tapping into our emotions and letting go and sharing the story with new friends.

So this is my path. For now, I will continue to map out my own emotions. I will empty the negative into my art and create the positive new. This is my breakthrough. This is my path out of The Slump and not only this one, but any more that await me just over the horizon too.

Letting go: the fear and the brighter path

I would love to know what big breakthroughs you have experienced following a slump. Have you used your art as a path out of the darkness and into the light?
Please feel free to share your experiences here…

With love,
Julia x

 

Where am I going with this…?

Small steps

It is June 1 and I will be honest and say that I have been feeling a little lost. I have not been posting on the blog as often as I would like and this, I believe, is because I feel my blog is having some sort of identity crisis, whereby the name does not match the content.

The blog started as a way of documenting my 30 Day Challenge in May 2012, which was a commitment to doing something creative every day. Since then, I have continued to create, though not daily, and have shared a number of other things, not all art-related, on the blog along the way.

Today, I feel like committing to something. A new month, a fresh start, and I feel like going back to the beginning… to doing something creative every day for the next 30 days, as this is where I am most in flow and get the most enjoyment (though it doesn’t always come easy, it is worth the effort for what I gain).

I want to better serve and engage with my audience (and this is where you come in). I would love to know what you enjoy on the blog, what resonates with you and what you would like to see more of. Do tell… and in return, I will make a commitment to providing more regular content on my blog.

So, as of today, I hereby commit to:
Doing something creative every day for the next 30 days
Sharing on the blog at least once a week
Being open to any direction my creativity may take me
Being open to any outcome
Sharing my feelings, learnings and realisations as I go through the process

If you would like to join me in making a commitment to your own creativity this month, then post below or share your commitment on the Be Creative Daily Facebook page. Share your ideas and your excitement, your challenges and your fears, share your website, your blog… just share… because sharing is how we connect with other people and I would love to connect with you here.

Right, let’s go make some art!
With love,
Julia x

Following my creative heart

In the month that has passed since I last posted here, I have been exploring a variety of areas in relation to my art and the art of others. I have been following my creative heart, which has led to a month of investigation, experimentation, revelation and celebration.

Vivienne (left) and I in the gallery

On May 1, Vivienne Roberts and I opened our first exhibition of what we hope will become an ongoing creative collaboration of sharing the work of artists often known as Outsiders. The label is a contentious one and for us, the aim is simply to get the art we love and appreciate out into the world and hope that others share the sense of wonder that we feel on encountering these works. I do feel that exploring the works in an exhibition of art that really speaks to you is more of an encounter than a simple viewing. In Face to Face with the Outsiders, our intention was to bring together a combination of Outsider Art and related creations on a theme of portraits and faces. The reaction was good. It was apparent to us, even before we started hanging the show, that certain works were speaking to each other, opening up a dialogue before they had even reached the walls, works of art, face to face for the first time, finding common ground. It was a powerful experience and one we intend to recreate in many forms over coming months and years.

Lady in the woods

In my personal creative work, several things have happened… firstly, I have discovered that I gain enormous pleasure from making temporary works of art out in nature. I delight in walking in the woods, in the finding of the raw materials with which to start, discovering a spot in which to lay them out, making it mine and letting ideas evolve directly from the materials, their shapes and textures, creating freely, playing and exploring as sticks suggest shapes and stones take on new meanings. I also love the fact that someone may stumble across the things I make in any state from just-finished to almost eradicated as nature does her thing, dissolving all that once was.

My studio in the garden

I had been eager to paint on canvas again after a long break, so a sunny weekend afforded me the luxury of setting up a temporary studio in the garden and painting over and old, half-finished work in what, for me at least, was a very new way of working. I squeezed paint directly onto canvas, dragged it with scraps of cardboard, experimenting and exploring with fingers, free from any fixed idea of outcome. How liberating that was!

Canvas copy

A few days later, I tried painting on canvas again. I felt stuck, blocked, came to a stand-still. The difference this time, was that I was using an existing artwork as the starting point, trying to translate the feel of a collaged piece I particularly liked onto canvas. This was the sticking point. I had a fixed idea and could not get into the free-flowing play-state necessary for uninhibited creation.

Making Your Creative Mark

What a relief the following day, when I embarked upon reading Eric Maisel‘s new book Making Your Creative Mark and found words that spoke directly to me about my current challenge. As I turned the pages, I was repeatedly faced with ideas and exercises that shifted my perspective and propelled me forward in my thinking in relation to my creative practice. Dr. Eric Maisel is a creativity coach and author of over 40 books, but whilst I have been aware of his work for some while, this was the first of his books I have read on the subject of creativity. What impressed me most was the variety of practical tools to overcome a wide range of blocks, not only those I am already faced with, but others I have yet to encounter, or have encountered, but not really admitted to being obstacles to my full creative expression. In the book, Maisel presents nine keys that show artists how to unlock their challenges and work through their blocks. From helping creative people “mind their minds” to the importance of a morning creativity practice, Maisels offers practical advice and solutions. His real life examples illustrate both the dilemmas and the solutions from a personal point of view in a way that is easy to relate to. Making Your Creative Mark has already become my handbook on days when I feel stuck and need a little helping hand and I know it is a book I will be recommending to all of my artist friends.

So, after a month away from the blog, I return with a renewed sense of excitement and adventure, knowing that I must move forward from a place of creative freedom, taking risks and not trying to emulate something that has gone before. I feel stronger, armed with the tools to work through my challenges, knowing I am not alone. And on a different level, I feel honoured to have been able to share the incredible talents of artists I admire with an enthusiastic and receptive audience and look forward to doing more such sharing soon.

I would love to hear your stories of how you overcome your personal creative challenges and what led you to follow your creative heart. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

With love,
Julia x

It’s launch day!

For the past 30 days, I have been part of a closed community of 200 people, each working away on a personal passion or goal. The 30 Day Challenge is an online programme, run by John Williams, author of Screw Work Let’s Play and coach extraordinaire Selina Barker.

This was my third 30 Day Challenge.

I return year after year as the format, of the programme, the support on offer and the results I achieve always make me feel good. This year, I set out on a mission to Share JOY through ART. My original idea for doing this was through an e-course. It soon became clear that this was not going to happen within the 30 days as I went off on a deep journey of self-discovery, pushing personal boundaries to express myself more fully and gaining a wonderful sense of clarity in so many areas of my life.

Through face to face workshops, I was able to share my own joy in the process of art-making and I am now pleased to offer both group workshops and one to one sessions for anyone keen to explore their creative side. Would you like to join me?

I continued to push forward with my own creative practice and after years of promoting the work of other artists, I am finally offering my own art through an Etsy shop.

Keen for everyone to benefit from the delights of living a creative life, I am now offering a free downloadable PDF of simple ways to invite creativity into your everyday life to everyone who subscribes to the Be Creative Daily mailing list. If you are already a subscriber, yours will soon be arriving by e-mail. If you would like to sign up, just click here and you will soon be a step closer to welcoming more joy and creativity into your daily life.

Right, I am off to launch my project over on the 30 Day Challenge and then it’s time to put my feet up.
Much love,
Julia x

Share JOY through ART

Share JOY through ART