Having set the intention to live creatively and productively in the second half of life, I find myself getting distracted with taxes, bills, organizing my kids’ lives, doctors’ appointments, watching TV and everything else that comes along to distract me from doing something creative. I used to say I needed a space of my own to be creative. Well, now I have a space – I converted one of my children’s bedrooms into my art studio and now have a place for all the supplies and stuff I have gathered over the years; easels, brushes, paint, finished paintings, drawings, ideas, etc. My husband regularly asks me what I painted today and most of the time I have a list of what I did instead. I tell him that I just can’t be creative on demand that I have to be inspired and in the mood. OK, so now I realize I am just making excuses. So what holds me back?
I think Laurie hit the nail on the head. FEAR! In fact I had a conversation with a good friend yesterday who is a wonderful artist and she agreed that sometimes she just can’t get started because of fear – those nagging doubts that plague our best intentions. There are lots of wonderful books and articles that encourage us to overcome our fears and let our creative energy flow including Laurie’s recommended reading of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard). I love the book and have found many useful ideas for creative inspiration and overcoming fear (we all need a Bodyguard at times). I have always liked the slogan “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” So, rather than feeling the pressure to produce something perfect, I prefer to think of myself as “practicing.” As Malcolm Gladwell suggests, we need 10,000 hours of practice to excel at something. You do the math. I don’t think I am going to accomplish that but I can have fun trying.
Workshops are great, because no matter what our skill level we can go into it with a beginners mind. Personally, I do best when I admit I don’t know much because then I am always surprised when I know anything. So if you are thinking about taking a step in a creative direction, sign up for a local workshop in anything you might be slightly interested in. You never know where it might lead. Or if you want to get better at something, teach a workshop. It’s amazing how teaching others is a learning tool for ourselves! Or if you’re not ready to get off the couch yet, spend a few minutes each day doodling, singing, playing a musical instrument, baking, sewing, writing, or doing something to open your creative pathways. Again, I refer to the “muses” for a great list of ideas to get started. I would love to hear your ideas on how you get your creativity flowing! And if you have any photos of cool stuff you are working on please forward it to Laurie or Elizabeth to post on the blog so that we can all enjoy it.
p.s. I thought I would include some work done by the seniors I have worked with, most of whom have never painted before. In a four week time frame we painted our way through the seasons. Spring was everyone’s favorite! From a single flower, to a garden of spring colour, here is to awakening your creative senses!
“When one flower blooms, all of spring awakens” John O’Donohue