Staying creative in the crazy summer months!
With the long days of summer I am squeezing in as much as I can, but at this time of year I really don't do a whole lot painting time.
My studio time is joyfully punctuated by the return of my bambinos, summer fun and general life jobs, which seem to be unrelenting compared to the dormant months of winter, when I can really beaver away.
As wonderful as Summer is, this time can leave me missing my creative solitude and when I came across this article a few points really struck a cord. It was a good reminder that distraction is all too easy to come by, but rather than being a slave to them, I can take back some control and at the very least block off some creative time each week.
There are two to the author's tips that really resonated with me:
Firstly - Do very few things but be awesome at them!
Absolutely! Multi-tasking is overrated. Drop the dishcloth, don't wash the windows and if possible, get someone else to mow your lawn! And that's just for starters.
In essence, devote time to what we love and don't spend it on the stuff we don't. Do an 'Elsa" and let it go!
And secondly - Do less shallow work and focus on the deep stuff.
'Shallow work is little stuff like email, meetings, moving information around. Things that are not really using our talents. Deep work pushes our current abilities to their limits. It produces high value results and improves our skills.'
This article may be written for the corporate, or at least the regular working world, but I think creatives can also benefit from recognising when we are distracted from focus and flow with life's admin and detritus.
This podcast is along the same lines and has lots of useful prompts for making the best of our time.
Even so, I still want to be out and about, enjoying the summer months, so I have begun to let go of the pull to create big or multiple pieces, and embrace being creative in other ways. It doesn't have to be all about painting and studio time, so here are a few ways I'm keeping the creative wheels turning:
I'm thumbing my way through a few of the art books scattered throughout my home - slowly! Embracing the rabbit holes and noting down creative ideas that pop up.
Catching up on the art videos and artist's newsletters that collect in my inbox - they're often a quick read or watch and can be enjoyed in the sun, sipping something cool!
Listening to art related podcasts on the long journeys - I have earphones to save the family from my obsession! My favourite is probably still Art Juice, closely followed by the Great Women Artists. I'm also a fan of Diary of a CEO - non arty but some great creatives.
I always carry a small sketch book and a few pencils, pens and recently paint sheets to doodle away in those snatched 10 mins here and there. Using different materials can bring surprises too. Click here to find out more about my wee sketching travel pack.
Take a photo tour of new places- the colours, textures, artists work, architecture, patterns. Anything that catches me eye. Then review at my leisure and make notes of ideas that come to mind.
I am known for my love of the discarded so I spend quite a bit of time meandering through flea fairs, charity shops and gathering from the landscape (sensitively of course)! Collecting found treasures that others discard. It all has potential!!
Throw together what you gather in your pockets and create a matchbox assemblage!
Look back through notes and photos on my phone to prompt those memories of lost great ideas!
I am also revisiting an old project that can travel with me - crocheting on the beach! 😁
And starting a new project that I can do in the kitchen easily and may come away with us - space allowing - Paper mache! I have great plans for it! lets see where it leads 😃
However you spend the summer, I hope you'll find time and space for your creativity. The world needs it more now than ever! ☀️