Line Drawing and reigniting my creative spark

Recently I went and did a little course at Longina Phillips Design. The class focused on drawing for fabric design. I had such a lovely time. I was surrounded by some seriously talented artists, gorgeous flowers, not to mention snacks and tea!

We did a series of drawing exercises, and then got down to work on our main drawings. There were some lovely flowers to use as inspiration

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How gorgeous is this enormous rose?

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I had the most fun with this magnolia branch.

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I’m not sure what I will make with my drawings yet. When they are finished, I’ll scan them and have a play on photo shop. Regardless, it was great to do a class for the first time in years. I’m feeling a lot more motivated and inspired! I’ve been working on a lot of detailed roses, and I’m really enjoying the meditative process of all of the detailed line work.

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Finding Your Creative Spark

Creativity is an interesting thing. A lot of people think you either have it or you don’t, but I don’t really think it works that way. In Living the Creative Life, Rice Freeman-Zachery states “creativity is less about having the ideas and more about working with ideas” (pg. 21). In essence, its having the ability to actually make something of your day dreams.

A lot of people are creative in non “arty” ways. The beautifully stylish, and well put together friend, who clearly has a very finely tuned visual aesthetic. That friend who is a visionary cook, crafting beautiful flavours. The one who comes up with amazing spaces for their children to play in. There are so many ways to be creative in everyday life.

As an artist, theres a perception that I am a never ending source of creativity and ideas. In truth, thats often not the case! Sometimes creativity needs a little push, and some effort to see things differently.

So where do I find my creative spark? Well, there’s the obvious one, the internet. I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest and other blogs. There are so many people, doing such lovely things in the world. So many beautiful ideas to draw upon.

Pinterest is a particular favourite of mine. So many visual resources at your fingertips! I used to collect images in visual diaries. I have at least 10 books floating around in my studio, full of little clippings from various things. Now, more often, I use pinterest. Pictures of birds, flowers, vintage prints, artists I love, beautiful spaces… Its almost endless. I find it can also be a bit of a vortex though. You can easily lose yourself in all of the gorgeousness, and find yourself overwhelmed by the perfection. Too much instagram and pinterest can actually be a bit demotivating. So much pretty! How can I possibly compete? Sometimes its good to step away, seek your inspiration elsewhere.

So where else can you find inspiration?

Children. There’s something so lovely about the way young children like to stop and spot the tiniest things when you go for a walk. A tiny flower hidden somewhere, little bugs, a beautiful plant in someone’s garden. If you stop and listen, children can help you see the world from a different perspective. So much of my colouring book, Hidden Places, was inspired by walks with my daughter around the local neighbourhood.

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Memories. I will often draw upon my memories of a place, a person, a smell, when I’m looking for ideas.  There are particular flowers that remind me of people, that I find myself drawing over and over (Camelias pop up all the time, whether I want them to or not!)

Book shops. A wander around a beautiful book store will always get my imagination flowing. Kinokuniya is my all time favourite, but I also love Modern Times and Better Read then Dead in Newtown.

Art shops. I could spend ages in an art shop. Just wandering around, looking at all of the materials, imagining the possibilities. Sometimes I have to stop myself from buying random pieces of beautiful paper. There is only so much space in my studio! Ditto for fabric shops.

Playing with my vintage silk collection. The colours are always inspiring. One of the things I love most about Japanese silk, is the unexpected colour combinations.

Reading. So much of what I make is “pretty”. Which is nice, I love pretty things! But often, I feel like I need something deeper then my work just being beautiful. At the moment I am reading Hugh MacKay’s “The Good Life”. It’s got me thinking about things not being too “nice” and about the beauty that can be found in imperfection.

Cookbooks. Obviously, cooking is a big part of my creative life. I spend a lot of time poring over cook books, looking for ideas. I love Jamie Oliver and refer to his books a lot, but more often, I find myself reading my mum’s old books. The Women’s Weekly cookbook from the 1970’s, and mum’s old copy of The Common Sense Cookery Book get a big work out. I find getting an understanding of good basic recipes, helps me to then break them down into allergy friendly versions.

Creative People. My sister is one of the most creative people I know. She can make pretty much anything she sets her mind to! She has a gift for creating beautiful spaces, with a distinct mood, and I often think of her when I’m searching for ideas. Its great to surround yourself with other creative folk (even if its only online!).

There are so many ways to get the ideas flowing. The trick is bringing them to fruition!

So where do you find your creative spark?

Winter is the Perfect Time for some Colouring Fun!

It’s the perfect weather to cosy up and colour in at the moment, so this week I’m adding downloadable colouring pages to my Etsy store! There will be more added each day. There will be some pages from my Hidden Places colouring book available, as well as new drawings from my curent series of bird drawings. Pages start at just $2.40 to download, and you can print and colour them as many times as you wish!

Yay!

You can purchase the printables here

 

Cutting back on technology, and Taking Stock

Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the “low maintenance parent” pattern. Letting the kids watch too much TV, a little too long on the iPad, all of us sitting there staring at a screen, totally disconnected from one another. I doubt I am alone in this. Modern technology is both a blessing and a curse. Definitely a blessing when you are sitting in a doctors waiting room for an hour and a half with a bored 3 year old. Not so great when you realise all of you seem to have killed your creativity and motivation from the constant entertainment that an iPad can provide.

Lately, I’ve realised we’ve slipped into some bad habits, and I need to lift my game a bit as a parent. Rather then have the kids ask constantly to use the iPad or watch TV, I said at the start of the week that we were taking a break.  I made a conscious effort to ditch the technology, and spend better quality time with my children.

My youngest took it with surprisingly little complaint. She spent the days playing in her room, making a mess, then tidying it up, rearranging all of her special stuff. She helped me clean the house, taking great pride in dusting and packing things away neatly. She helped do the folding (folding things into strange little minuscule packages, but it’s a start!) She even helped me glue a craft project together, without making much mess. It made me wonder why I’ve started thinking it’s easier to let her watch too much TV when I need to get stuff done. Sure, it’s faster to just race around doing everything myself, but when I gave her the chance, she was actually pretty good at it.

My oldest took a little more convincing. Life without minecraft is tough, apparently. But he ended up getting out his lego, and building “real” minecraft instead. He helped me finish off the last of the craft project for the school art show, and then felt so inspired that he got out the scissors and made his own collage. We cooked together, and tidied up together. It was so much easier to get him interested, when the lure of minecraft disappeared!

I realised midway through the week, that I’ve fallen into that trap of being the mum who does everything. I’m not sure how it happened exactly. They used to follow me around the house “helping”. It was actually nice to have them engaged, interested and wanting to help again.  It’s funny how something like an iPad, which can make life easier and more fun, can actually make things harder. It’s so enticing and engaging, that it’s hard for anything else to compete. So we will keep up this new habit, of limiting technology.

Here’s some of the nice things we did this week:

Making: I went into my sons classroom, and ran a craft activity. The children traced around their hands, and then decorated them. I cut the hands out, and then my children helped me glue then into the shape of angels wings.

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Eating: My son helped me make schnitzel, and we made yummy schnitzel burgers with it.

Planning: my daughter helped me plan her 4th birthday. She asked me to make it a “surprise”. So on Saturday, she went out to the park with her dad, while my son and I madly decorated and got her cake ready. Her friends came over and all yelled “surprise” as she walked in.

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Creating: my son and I cut up some paintings and made a collage together. He helped me come up with ideas for his sister’s birthday card while we were making.

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Listening: to annoying orange song parodies. Not my choice! But my kids love dancing to them.

Reading: lots of library books, plus Harry Potter every night with the kids before bed.

Sewing: still working on a embroidery of my son

Drawing: I’ve been working my way through the 100 day project on Instagram, drawing and making birds.

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FREE! Easter Colouring Pages!

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I’ve been working on this little guy for a while, and he’s ready just in time for Easter. Cute enough for little people to enjoy colouring, but detailed enough for the grown up colourists among us to enjoy!

Subscribe to my blog, and I will email you this brand new colouring page, PLUS, this gorgeous rabbit page from my colouring book, Hidden Places. This little Floral Bunny, is one of my most popular prints, and now you can colour it in any however you like! Yay!

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