squeezing in some creative time

Life has been very busy but still I managed to squeeze in a little time to doodle . . . not a lot of time but at least it was regular.

I often work with teachers and students to develop SMART goals: Specific, measurable, Achievable, Realistic and within a Timeframe.  On this occasion I made one for myself.   Often my goals are achievable but unrealistic so this time I kept to the KISS principle and Kept It Simple Sweetheart!  My goal was to do a very small doodle a day for a month . . .IMG_2170OTD stands for On The Day.   There were only 5 occasions when I was late so I feel really good about the other 25.  Why would I beat myself up about the 5 late ones?

Not long after I began this, Violette Clarke was encouraging everyone to do Messy Art Daily for much the same reasons . . . a little and often is the trick.

I’ve also attended a conference in Auckalnd recently and managed to squeeze in some creative work there as well.  I seldom take notes because I know I won’t refer to them again.  I tend to listen intently, perhaps jot down some key words or references and follow up with reading more on the subject later . . . this time I doodled as I listened, pages and pages in my Black and White Journal!

IMG_2172IMG_2174When I go away I take a minimum of materials.  The Doodle a Day needed just some pens and one Copic Marker (the damn thing bled through the page, most annoying!) however my watercolour crayons and pencils smuggled a ride along with a small Moleskine and spray bottle.IMG_2105The pencil-case is one of several that I made recently after borrowing Alisa Burke’s book, Canvas Remix, from the library.

So, how do your squeeze in some creative time when you’re run off your feet?

un-shelving and 3 insights before lunch

Un-shelving is a word, because I just used it.  My blog had been deliberately laid aside, shelved, for a further two months for no reason other than I chose to do so . . . and that should be good enough.  It’s not that I’ve been busier than usual, unwell or not creating anything, it’s just that I make choices to (pretty much) suit myself and being able to do that is one of my most basic needs.

What I need in my life are very simple things: people I love and respect; peace and tranquility within; play, the activity when I get lost in the moment, is essential to my wellbeing; being productive whether at work or play is immensely satisfying to me; and power, the power to make choices.  These are my 5 Ps and I have been thinking a great deal about them over the past couple of months . . . well, years longer if truth be told.  Maybe I will blog some more about each . . . are you interested?

I could have blogged about the pohutukawa tree in my garden that burst forth in blossom in time for Christmas . . . IMG_1345DSC09963the art I have created . . . IMG_1207work inspired by Diana Trout on 21 Secrets, call it emulating or copying if you will, I really admire her style – it was wonderful so I signed up to 21 Secrets 2013 (check out all the amazing tutors) over at Dirty Footprints Studio.Meg's fish carcase and crab Emulating Diana Troutthe beach treasure that has been found and the creativity it inspired . . . Meg's fish carcase and crabJeanne's garden sculpturethe forgotten potatoes, desperate to grow . . . Potatoesthe 20,000 bees that thought the bench seat at my front door would make a great hive . . .Visiting bees my holiday visitors . . . Jeanne with flowersMeg and Elmoor even my new flagpole – you simple cannot live at the beach and not have one.  The flag represents the five elements and I brought it back from one of my visits to Hanoi . . .Flag - 5 elements. . . however I didn’t.  I chose to take a break and today, with the sun shining, cicada’s chirping and sound of the surf in the background, I have chosen to resume blogging partly as a response to thought-provoking blogs such as Quinn McDonald’s. 

I keep a journal, mostly writing, very personal and occasionally a blog or the journal itself will throw up a quote I want to use as a leaping off point for creativity or just to ponder and write another page.   Today I was reading the comments on Quinn’s blog entitled Speaking Up For Your Own Sake, the comments are always worthwhile. There was a quote from Meg Hess, “you can tell the helped by the hunted look in their eyes” and it made me think of how I hope to respond, both personally and professionally.  My success is variable.

And Violette Clark’s blog today had me thinking about balance and the struggle, that perhaps most of us have, in retaining our equilibrium.   Personally I think there is a lot to be said for shaking it up occasionally.

So, my three insights or BFOs (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious) before lunch?

  1. Helping is something I try not to do, even when asked, as I believe the most valuable thing I can do is to make a space where they can help themselves.
  2. I respect my body: we’ve been through a lot together.
  3. Just like a tightrope walker . . . getting the wobbles is fine as long as you know where your centre is.

So there you are . . . I’m back, how often I have no way of knowing.  Sometimes daily, but I doubt it.   Maybe weekly?  It will be irregular and although I’d like to say I’ll provide X posts a week and have a particular focus, that isn’t me.   Yes, there’ll be links to interesting blogs and inspriational TED talks, yes, I’ll posts about my delightful granddaughters, yes, creative endeavours and insights and, goodness knows what else . . . I just don’t like being boxed in.   My need for freedom of choice is way too high!  Ah, the power to choose!

I am content with myself at this point in time.

what prompts you?

Over a week and no post!  It’s work, it gets in the way and drains my energy sometimes but it fills up the coffers so who am I to complain?  I have the most wonderful drive to work each day.

The Monday morning drive

The first call of the day . . . no not the sheep, I was visiting the school behind me!

I’ve been watching the trees take on that first blush of colour where the buds give the trees a russet hue before that first sprinkle of green.  And if you’re not one to notice it?  You’re not desperate enough for spring.

And over the weekend?

Gulls at the mouth of the Waitohu Stream

I often looks at Tammy Garcia’s blog Daisy Yellow.  Somehow, I start with one prompt in mind and it morphs into something different as I doodle in details.

The crooked spirals received some colour and glitter

Faded: watercolour was, pan pastels through a stencil, a spritz of purple, copic markers and a white pen for some detail.

Doodling on water colours.

And that Type O flu I’ve suffered from?   New Zealand rocks!  Literally sometimes . . . earthquakes, volcanoes . . . but sporting achievement, that really gets the population excited!  I’m sure once the closing ceremony is over I’ll make a speedy recovery!

And now I’m running late.  Why is it that the “it’ll just take a few minutes” task always take so much longer?  And why does it always seem to be what I’d rather be doing?

Still, I have that lovely drive to look forward to.

more mucking around

I was feeling a little disappointed with myself for not doing anything much during the week.  I did some knitting but that was all, mainly because I didn’t take any supplies with me to my week-time abode – I left them on the spare bed!

Today was cold, there’s snow on the tops of the Tararua Range and we had a very rare frost here at the beach so it was heating on and much mucking around – mostly doodling.

Some doodling was on index cards – I was supposed to post something blue and link it through to Tammy Garcia’s Daisy Yellow ICAD2 challenge on Thursday but couldn’t – no cards, no blue anything except a ball point pen.

Other doodling was in my sketch book where I explore options – just pen and water-colour pencils. Lots of women about 8 to 10 cm tall.

Not great works of art but fun, and that’s what matters.

I’m really looking forward to the school holidays in two weeks time when I will have two whole weeks when I can get the Chinese brocade quilt off the back burner!

the simple things

One of my favourite songs is Joe Cocker singing The Simple Things and that’s the kind of weekend I’ve had.  A wonderful 3 day weekend that began with my son dropping off his delightful daughters for 3 nights.  We did all those things that make childhood happy and they were all simple things.

A pair of socks, transformed into a dinosaur and a banana to eat in the winter sunshine.

Doodling on paper . . .

Doodling is like letting the pen feel free in your hand – Jeanne, age 7

. . . and in the sand.

You can doodle anywhere – Jeanne, age 7

The discovery of a jellyfish washed up by the tide.Being alone with your thoughts ankle deep in mud .Heart-shaped puffballs to poke.There was a DVD of Curious George by candle light, in pyjamas with crisps, a cuddle any time of day and a dance recital for the toys.

Shadow puppets and a light show using a red tower torch – made with a lunch-wrap roll, toilet roll tube, cellophane and Nanna’s torch.And then there’s the surprise installation of a 4 year old.

We’re always wanting more than what we have
What I’ve learned, is what I really need are. . .

The simple things
That come without a price
The simple things
Like happiness joy and love in my life
I’ve seen it all from so many sides
And I hope you would agree
That the best things in life
Are the simple things

Writers: Rick Neigher, Philip Roy, John Shanks

Ah . . . such are the joys of little girls and grandmothers.

Saturday play update

I played with a fine black pen over last week’s effort – it was addictive and I found myself putting in much more detail than I intended . . . I hope you like the update.

And a close up . . .

It was really enjoyable, soothing even, to take simple doodling that step further.  And now to try something even more random . . . bolder . . . .

saturday play

One of my favourite things about Saturday morning is that early coffee in bed, checking out some of my favourite blogs and planning how I will spend the day.    When I checked out Diana Trout’s blog I loved the painting she had done after visiting Connie Hozvicka’s tutorial on 21 Secrets at Dirty Footprints Studio – I was inspired!

Green FlowI mucked around with the pull-tags off envelopes, acrylic paint and a white pen – sorry I can’t tell you what brand as I bought it in Japan and there’s no English on it at all.  I was much more loose with a brush than usual and doodling with the pen was addictive – I sort of got lost in the flow!  I don’t think it’s quite finished – a little detailing in black?  What do you think?

Green detailIn this close up you can make out the ‘open here’ tags.  So, some black, highlighting the white, embellishing the faint black markings?

the first week back

It feels a little strange being back at work full-time – I’m tired too.  Living in a different city, good trains running nearby in the night (although I know I’ll get used to the sound very soon), having to work out where the best supermarket is, the petrol station, where can I get a decent coffee and a sandwich for lunch etc.  And then there’s the art supply stores – I guess Lynette from All of Me will help out with this as it’s her city and she uses a wide range of materials!

So what would you take with you for a few nights away, when you know you’ll be tired in the evening and need to just wind down a bit?  I took a small watercolour Moleskine, black pens and watercolour pencils and crayons.   I only used the first two items!

Doodles 1What would you take away with you when you know you’ll just have a small amount of time?

wobbly spirals I like my deliberately wobbly spirals, I have to fight being too tidy so these were fun – maybe I’ll add some colour.

Next week I’ll repair the bear my mother made for my daughter – at about 35 years old and much loved in his younger days, he’s looking a bit worse for wear and somewhat moth-eaten as well!

Poor Bear

According to my grand-daughter I am only allowed to do minimal restoration work - there's to be no new clothes or updating of his image!

I’m really chuffed (very pleased) that Jeanne has a sense of history and that at 7 years old, she values this little bear as something her great grandmother made with loving care so just restoration work it is.