On letting go

I never had many problems in letting things go when it comes to physical things. I’m one of those people who likes to gather stuff, and keep them for any possible future use (you never know when you might need this or that!). But also, I’m one of those people who like a big clear out once in a while, especially when my space reaches saturation point. And when that happens, I throw away everything I have never used, everything I’m not using anymore, everything I will probably not be using in the near future.

Physical things are very much replaceable and, although moneys are involved, if you really need something you have thrown away you can always buy it back (thank you ebay!).
Where I’m not very good at letting go is opportunities.  I have always struggled to make decisions when choosing between options, could it be school, career, friendship or artistic path. I’m always afraid that if I choose just one option than I will deprive myself of the opportunity to try something different.
I always tend to pick the solution that will give me more options to choose from later on. The more wide and generic the choice is, the better. So I often end up with one foot in two, or more, shoes and basically delaying the real decision at a later date. I always thing I’m missing out on something if I choose one thing over another. But what I’m really missing out is the opportunity to give that thing a real chance and the freedom to really focus and put my effort on just one thing.
Some people might argue that it’s always better not to put all the eggs in one basket. But from my personal experience this is true up to a point. Diversification is probably great if you have already achieved something in a specific area; if you have, than nothing stops you from trying something new and, if it doesn’t work, to go back from where you left.
If you, on the other hand, are just getting started on something, than you should really give it the best shot…”put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket!”
I like trying new things, but then when a little more commitment is required I pull back. Not because I lose interest or I’m afraid to work hard, but because that would mean closing the doors on things that seems brighter and more intriguing from the outside. And what if I get stuck in that specific role forever?
To give you a practical example of what I’m talking about, over the past 10 years, more or less, I have been experimenting with lots of different things. I started with traditional watercolours, then outdoor sketching, moving on to botanical painting, to making mini-books and sketchbooks and trying lino printing and hand carved stamping. Adding some knitting, crocheting and quilting in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy learning new things and experimenting, but at end of the day, I have been distracted by so many things that I didn’t have the time, or the courage, to take any of them seriously. I switched from one subject to another before giving myself a chance to become good at it, and to fully explore. So after 10 years I really can’t say I excel in any of the areas above. And worst of all, my confidence gets shaken up every time I see somebody’s work and achievements only to find out that they have been doing it for only a few years.

 So after reading Ali’s assignments from the One Little Word® workshop last month, I thought it was really time to LET GO of something more meaningful than just getting rid of some clothes! Let go of all the noise, of all the things that distract me to really be who I want to be. It is not an easy task, and it will require a lot of work and inner search to actually understand what I really want from life, but hopefully I will get there.

In the meantime, and since we will be moving home soon, I made the decision to take with me only my watercolours and hot pressed paper (great for botanical work!) and have another go at it. It will be manic with a new house to furnish, a new town to get accustomed to, a newborn, a toddler at home and the summer holidays. But even more because the time will be tight, it will be good for me to just have one single thing (that’s an overstatement!) to focus on. And let’s see where I’ll be in September, when hopefully, most of the things will be into place, and I will have time to reassess.

ONE LITTLE WORD // March Reflections

March has gone by very quickly, hardly giving me time to pose for a minute and address what has been going on. I don’t feel like I’ve made huge steps forward, but surely things are evolving, and for the better. I have been feeling more and more tired in the evening, and when it happens, I feel very much overwhelmed and not ready to cope with any of the day-to-day things, let’s not mention dealing with my two-year-old who has also been dealing with her tantrums lately. 

My painting plans are going very well, although I seem to concentrate my efforts in just a few days rather than spreading it throughout the month. But this ok, too. I have been trying to change my relaxation time and slot in some time in the mornings, but that has not been happening as planned. 

Where I feel I have been making some progress is in reading and following my most favourite current book “Creating a life worth living”. I have been already talking about it last month (here), but the more I read it, the more I think is the book I needed at this time in my life. As per last month’s assignment, I didn’t do it as I should have. But I tried; I laid down some plans and took notes, but still wasn’t feeling ready. So, instead of giving up completely, I did it my way, I did what I felt was right; a mix of quotes, words, charts, definitions, all in my OLW book.

I found a lot of inspiration by just googling the word CREATIVE. While doing so, I stumbled across Alice’s website The Lost Girl and her work on creativity that really gave me some ideas and things to brainstorm on.

Already excited about April’s assignments! It will involve lots of pictures taking, but also working on something deeper and more meaningful. We are only four months in and this project is giving me more than I thought it could.
If you want to read any of the previous posts just click on the big banner on the right side of the page. 

ONE LITTLE WORD // February reflections

I went through the meaning of my word over and over during the past month trying to get a deeper understanding of the overall process and reviewed my intentions several times as a reminder of what the purpose of this word really means to me. But where I really made some progress was answering to two simple questions Ali set into the February handout: What did I learn about myself last month? And How did I best connect with my word? 

One of the biggest discoveries this past month has been the realisation that I can really achieve the goals I’ve set for myself if I keep my mind focused on my word, at any time, in any occasion.

Thanks to an IG artist friend, and fellow mama-to-be, I discovered a wonderful book called “Creating a life worth living“, and the more I read it, the more I can see things clearly.
The physical and emotional side of my word is not really going as planned. But a 5-minutes-a-day meditation time and a brisk walk to/from work are small reminders of the actions I set to accomplish.

ONE LITTLE WORD // January reflections

I have been enjoying working on the prompts for One Little WordTM over the past month. I didn’t really follow the rules and did was I thought would suit me best. I have said this before, I am not a scrapbooker, I tried, and sort of liked it, but soon realised it is not really my thing. Also, living in the UK, it is not easy to find supplies as those suggested by Ali, and so I decided to make my own OLW book using a scrapbook journal from Paperchase.
Here is my take for January 2014.

This past month I’ve taken a few practical steps toward my goal of living a CREATIVE life.

I’ve chosen a set of books I want to read throughout the year to help me release my CREATIVE self. I am currently reading working on 20 ways to draw a tree and Craft-a-doodle. Both are helping me going back to my art with a free mind, and no expectations, and I’m loving it!
I also made a plan for doing yoga exercises, just haven’t been able to fit it into my daily routine, yet.
I’ve succeeded in my monthly goal of creating a new item for my shop that reflects my new CREATIVE spirit and focus on one of the few things that I’ve decided to pursue this year.
I’ve also chosen 4 words that hopefully will help me make my art more cohesive and that I would like people to use to describe my work: nature.pattern.childlike simplicity. seasons.

I’m starting February with a new vision and a few new things I will try to accomplish. 

Current reads

In relation to my One Little word for 2014 (you can read about it here), I’ve chosen a number of books that I’m hoping will help me through my creative journey. Funnily enough, all of those books were bought in November last year, way before I began this adventure and way before my word was chosen. Maybe it was by owing these books that my OLW came to me…who knows. These books spoke to me, one way or another; for some was the cover, for others the raving comments, or just the title. They all had great reviews overall, but you know, people have different opinions and needs and sometimes a great book for one could be a waste of time for another. I’m planning to give it a start to all of them and then eventually ditch the one that are not for me. I’m just hoping I will be able to find some quiet time to get lost into these books.

Amazon book description: Cultivating Your Creative Life: How to Find Balance, Beauty, and Success as an Artist is a multifaceted book where creativity and wonder intermingle to show how to live a creative and balanced life while moving toward your goals. You’ll delve right into the creative process and find practical and inspiring suggestions on making a living as a working artist. This book holds reverence and respect for the natural world in high esteem, using a central visual metaphor of the growth and blossoming of a tree. Alena Hennessey’s illustration style combines nature, whimsey, delicacy, and a modern sensibility; vibrant pen and ink illustrations accompany relevant quotes of inspiration, tips, and creative journal exercises. Cultivating Your Creative Life is not only an interactive creativity guide; it is a work of art, in itself—a beautiful, collectible volume—to save and to savor, or to give as a gift to the special creative person in your life.
Amazon book description: Utilize your creativity to manifest your personal intention. Work in the spirit of the laws of attraction to visualize the life of your dreams. Follow the journey of twelve artists, each who will set a personal dream or intention. Witness the process that each artist takes, as they create a mixed-media piece that sows the seeds of their intention. Step-by-step techniques for a variety of mixed-media processes accompany each piece of finished art. Read about how their lives changed as a result and learn how to set intentions of your own using the bonus tear-out “dream-prompt” cards.
Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald
Amazon book description: In a raw-art journal, you don’t need to know how to draw; you don’t need to know how to write well. You don’t need worry about messing up techniques you’ve never attempted before inside your raw-art journal. You just need to be you because raw art is you and it thrives on creative play, on experimentation and even on making mistakes.
Raw Art Journaling will teach you how to embrace your art, confront negative self-talk (a.k.a., your gremlin) and make meaning with your words and with your art. Inside Raw Art Journaling you’ll discover how to:
·       Write meaningful thoughts with a single sentence
·       Create thought-provoking poems through found poetry
·       Uncover images hidden in your photos
·       Make personal meaning with the simplest of lines
·       Finally feel free to make mistakes
·       Use clever techniques to keep your secrets secret
Quiet your gremlin, grab your permission slip (it’s on page 19) and start making meaning in your own raw-art journal today!
All I Did Was Listen by Rachel Awes
Amazon book description: Rachel Awes, licensed psychologist, tells a story of wholeness + healing for everyone through colorful drawings, prose-like reflections, + inspiring quotes from her clients. Show More
Amazon book description: Tumble down the rabbit hole and find yourself in an inky black-and-white wonderland. This interactive activity book takes you on a ramble through a secret garden created in beautifully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations all waiting to be brought to life through colouring, but each also sheltering all kinds of tiny creatures just waiting to be found. And there are also bits of the garden that still need to be completed by you. Appealing to all ages, the intricately-realized world of the Secret Garden is both beautiful and inspirational.
this book is currently sitting in my drawer at work. 
i need some creativity when i get fed up with with numbers

Craft-a-doodleby Jenny Doh

(This book was actually the chosen prize of a giveaway I won from the craft institute)

Amazon book description: Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker and explore their artistic voice. From quick ‘try it’ ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild, creative fun. The featured artists include Cori Dantini, who provides a ‘Recipe for a Face’; Flora Chang with innovative watercolour designs; and Teesha Moore who offers ideas for adding personality to doodled characters.

The little light of mine by Kelly Rae Roberts and Hope Lyda
Amazon book description: Kelly Rae Roberts’ unique and compelling art inspires all women to shine in all that they do and all that they become. This delightful treasure will be received with a bright smile by women embarking on new ventures, honoring friendships, and igniting dreams. The engaging paintings of popular artist Kelly Rae Roberts illuminate this colorful celebration of hope, faith, kindness, courage, and gratitude. Inspiring quotes and reflections of possibility invite readers to explore their personal adventure of life and joy.Show More

Happy reading!