I kept telling myself recently that I have a short attention span, but I don’t think this is the case. I think I am just always busy, so feel under pressure to get things done.   I realise that some of this is because I am always galloping (a term my work colleague (you can find her here https://patternologie.co.uk ) used the other day for how we were both feeling).  I know that galloping is not good for me, it’s how I end up feeling burnt out and ultimately my creative flow suffers.  In fact, what I am realising, is that when I am starting to feel uncreative this is my red flag, telling me I need to slow down.

It’s easy to get caught up in the galloping I think, especially when everyone is galloping around you, you start to run alongside them thinking this is what you need to be doing.  Its also difficult when you are running a business to not go at a fast pace, especially when there are deadlines to meet.  I had hit a bit of brick wall creativity wise not so long back, it was like the pressure of getting designs out was causing me to completely stop – the pressure of creating good designs, the old perfectionism chatter in my head coming in to play.

So the conversation with my work colleague continued and we talked about slowing down and drawing or painting just because, with no intended outcome.  We have agreed to keep each other motivated to do some gentle daily drawing to help our creative flow.   So, I thought I would share with you what I have learnt after doing it for a couple of weeks.

Creating a regular creative ritual has provided some structure and stability in my artistic practice. By committing to do one drawing a day, a quick 10 minute drawing in fact is the goal,  has established a sense of routine and discipline and often it ends up with me wanting to do more.  So, I have seen my creative flow increase as result.  It may seem odd that I don’t already have this,  I have in the past – having completed a 365 print project doing one print a day, but as the business has grown,  I often have other things going on, such as orders to make and pack and although making the order is in itself a creative act, it’s not one that is allowing me to explore new things or play.

drawing for creative flow

Leaving the judgement out of the drawings has also helped, accepting them just as they has allowed me to see some improvements, without overthinking it.  Just the practice has been enough.  And I’ve enjoyed it more.

Taking part in some art classes was also helpful, everyone needs a bit of input every now and again.  I did a few online drawing classes, one on zoom (drawingisfree.org) and one that was a self-paced course (Newlyn art school online class) – both in life drawing.  I picked life drawing as its quite different to what I would normally do and again it was good to stretch myself a bit but not worry too much about the outcomes. I purposely picked classes that would be a bit more experimental or give me scope to try out ways of drawing I enjoy (such as drawing without looking at the page or drawing quickly)

The results have been a lot more drawing, and a developing body of work, without any end outcome in mind. Slowing down hasn’t meant less productivity in fact its given me a chance to nurture my creative flow by incorporating some quiet time, and being more thoughtful about what I give my attention to.

Speaking of attention, I’ve been rereading some of my books over the last few weeks and getting inspiration from some of my favourite artists.   Ellsworth Kelly is someone who’s work I really love, it’s the simplicity of the line and shape that I enjoy and that has helped me to not worry about how simple some of my drawings are.  He draws from nature a lot and inspired me to develop my daily drawings from plants in my yarden – which is just starting to spring to life with some fabulous shapes for me to draw.  I decided to keep colour out of it initially so I didn’t get bogged down with the decision making that can involve. I do love the odd shapes that come from drawing without looking – its a useful trick for warming up and how I develop lots of ideas for my printed wooden flowers.

Of course, there are always the other jobs I need to get done in a week and last week was a flurry of getting ready for a trade show – PG Live which is a show dedicated to greeting cards.  I’ll share more about that in another blog post soon

That’s it for this week.  Be sure to sign up to my emails if you want to keep up to date with my studio journal.

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