I haven’t checked in for a while, for a number of reasons, but what I really want to focus on, is what happens when your passions are interrupted.
A lot of people who read my posts and see my work are in a working environment where they access their artistic sides on the regular. However, we can all have a period of interruption. It could be that the muse goes for a wander and days tun into weeks, it could be that admin takes precedence because of the financial end of year, or familial commitments could blindside you mid flow.
I've had an extended period of interruption over the past few weeks. At first I was interrupted full time because I was needed - there was a family issue and my presence was required. That stopped me from working right at the peak of my flow. I was in the middle of rebuilding and rebranding my website - a major task that has been needing serious input for a while - and right at a pivotal moment I was catapulted off course.
The need for me to step in and help with my family is fine, but what happened is a major bout of creativity:interrupted. The thing about the way I am is that in stressful situations, situations where I am needed to really be present, engaged, responsible and the best of myself, can be quite draining.
As a person diagnosed with anxiety and a serious issue with needing to be good enough, it can mean that in situations like the one I have experienced, I beome drained. Giving so much attention to the present moment is fine - but when you have the anxiety gremlins chattering in your head about whether you are saying and doing the right thing - in every moment is a lot. Did you pay enough for car parking, did you lock your car, where is X, should I say this, do I need to do that. Do I sound snippy, am I being positive enough? Am I being too positive? Should I shut up? I am definitely talking too much - no wait I am not talking enough.
It is a nasty loop to be in - and whilst the gremlins are doing their rollercoaster like loop and having a whale of a time, I am draining energy like a culinder full of pasta.
So once the event is over or whilst there is a lull in activity and I actually slow down and come to a stop- the exhaustion catches up with me - plus I usually still have the gremlins going on.
In my recent encounter with this wonderful interuption, I was drained more than usual. A combination of heightened emotions, nerves, worry, gremlins, physical exhaustion and a knowing in the back of my head that what was going to go on, would continue for a while. How long? Undetermined. And oh boy if I am not good with anything, uncertainty is the thing I am least able to cope with.
So once things had calmed I was done in. This being exhasuted led to me trying desperately to regain energy - but I was only grasping enough to help out with my family situation. I wasnt eating right - never going to help when you want to have energy! I wasnt drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and most importantly I wasnt working.
You may think it is odd to say that my not working is most important - a lot of people would take time off work for famly issues, illness etc and not working during that time would be a relief. Here's the thing though - thats not how it works for me.
When I dont paint and I am not creating - creativity being the working out how to code the secion of my website to look the way I want, or creativity being throwing paint at a canvas - I am not connected to myself. I am not being my best self and I am not fulfilling my life's purpose. I am here to communicate how I feel and what I know to be true, through my art, but if I am not doing that, I am not myself.
For me, my work, my passion, my creativity fuels me. I can spend a full day painting and be physcially exhausted but my brian will light up. When I am not creating, I am drab, down, uninspired and tired. I am a shell of my former self.
All I have needed for weeks was to carve out the time that I needed for myself in my studio to work. Work around paperwork, around errand running, around domestic chores, around appointments and social engagements and just to goddamn work.
Now whilst I wasnt working, I had no clue of any of this - its only come to me in the days since I have really managed to get back to my routine and fire the engines back up, that what I have been missing all this time is my work.
So I am back. Determined that I carve out my time for my work - and essentially for myself because my work and I are the same entity - and everything else works around it - make it work. Even if its incovenient. Even if I am sat at 9pm on a Friday night writing blog posts and catching up with my Patreon's rather than having a glass of gin in hand. Although I am sure a Patreon post fuelled by gin would be compelling, I am not sure thats what any of us need!
I suppose my thought here is that when you are interrupted, you have to find a way back - quickly and simply - even in the smallest way. Stay attached to what grounds you, keeps you sane and makes you happy, because when you do, everything else is so much easier to handle.
I am also teaching not one, but two in person live art journaling workshops during The National Festival of Making.Read More
I will admit that I am getting a head start on day one by starting to write my day one post the day before. I have a long week of admin ahead with a massive deadline on Friday and honestly, I knew if I didn’t get a head start on something, that this would be the first thing to go and fall off my list - yet it’s the only thing on it right now that I really want to engage with - so rather than stop before I even start, here I am!
I don’t know if we are going to have a prompts list so I am going to ramble on a little about what I have going on with me right now. I have been very much scaled back or pared down for the past 8 weeks or so. I have been struggling a lot with anxiety and having a lot on my plate has been adding to that stress so I have scaled back everything to its barest of bones so that I might be able to get my head back on straight.
That seems to have worked but of course the list of things that I am “supposed to” or “should be” doing is waiting for me like some kind of monster I dreamt in a nightmare and then manifested in my life. So what I am doing is adding 2 projects back on to my list. One is to work on my oracle deck. I have it all planned out and in a fun twist I decided to make it all digitally using elements of my art to create it, so I am very excited about that and the other is a project making essentially fauxdoris / midoris / travellers notebooks but artist- style, so the covers are board, there is texture and glazing and all sorts of yummy stuff with plenty of room to add collage fodder and inserts to journal on. I have made a few and a friend suggest I do something with them, so that is going to be my next thing!
I guess that is me for today!
So I shall sign off.
Happy Monday and Day one of the Blog Along for April!
This video was filmed ages ago, but finally I have managed to edit and get it uploaded both here and on Youtube! Yey for me! and Yey for this pretty journal page, ade in just abot half an hour (drying time not included)
Hope you like it!
Hello wonderful people,
Happy Monday! I hope this post finds you well, creative, productive and blissful.
Today I want to talk to you about overwhelm, manageing your to do list and doing all of the things.
As a person, on this earth, it is guaranteed that you have a lot on your plate. I assume this purely based on evidence. I do not know anyone who doesn't have a lot on their plate. Now yours may be full of family life stuff - getting kids to all the events, mountains of laundry because tiny people make big mess and tying to keep your home from looking like a large bomb exploded all over it.
Your plate could also be full because you are working more than one job, juggling social engagements, trying to get your side hustle off the ground or all of the above. My point is, that you dear reader have a full plate.
My plate is so full that at times it feels like it is over full. Piled high and spilling over the edges. I love my life, that it is busy, that I run my own studio, wear many hats and do all the things - but that doesnt lessen the fact that the overwhelm monster comes to visit.
Hell my overwhelm monster has practically moved in at this point, I made him a nook in the living room and he seems to like it there. I digress.
My overwhelm has a balance. A little overwhelm seems to fuel me. Having a lot to do - especially creatively when Im in optimum productivity mode and happily painting away - seems to fuel me further - like a dynamo. I get going and once I am whirring away, I cannot be stopped.
However, all too easily, that little overwhelm somehow gorges itself on what I have going on, multiples, grows five times bigger and starts to tear strips off my mental faculties.I am honest about this because it doesnt take that much to tip a person over into the land of overwhelm, stress and frustration.
In the end this overwhelm leads to a feeling of being trapped, stuck in concrete or thick tar. You cant move forwards or even sideways because overwhelm, all mountains that need to be climbed seem twice as tall and five times as steep as they were last week and oh my god doom!
I have been looking for ways to handle this FOREVER. Overwhelm, a full plate and getting stuck in the quagmire are repeating cycles for me that I havent been able to really get a handle on - until now!
I am a follower of Creative Live - their courses are amazing and one such course was lead by the wonderful graphic designer, illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon.
In this course, she goes into her own process for handling all the things - professionally and also shows how to include the personal and let me tell you it has been a game changer!
So of course when I find said game changer, the only thing I can responsibly do is share it with everyone! I have linked the course below and I highly recommend you check it out - especially if the overwhelm monster also seems to have taken up residence in your house.
So how has this course helped me so far?
It reaffirms I am not alone. Sometimes one of the most important feelings in the world, is that of knowing you are not on your own.
All of my projects, tasks and lists are now in one centralised place, organised and easy to access
I have a deadline for absolutely everything - most of them are self imposed and now I have to be accountable for them but creating these deadlines for myself has really helped
A rolling to do list. I no longer plan every day of a week in advance. I add in appointments and things to remember where necessary and only plan 2 days ahead at most - e.g. last night I planned for today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday)
Working with blocks of time - this requires self discipline and a timer and the ability to focus - all things Lisa goes into in the class with helpful tips about how to get around things like distractions and lack of motication. I now work in chunks - I have a set of sticker sheets to design, allot myself say two hours today - when the time is up, its up and I move on to the next thing on the list. If the designs arent finished, I roll them on to tomorrow to complete.
Giving myself a break - literally. I take a break between every time slot I allocate now. For example, I work for two hours and give myself twenty minutes off - long enough to make a warm drink, have a snack, check my social media and stretch my legs. It means that I feel refreshed and ready to come back to my desk after every break and also reduces that feeling of being chained to my desk.
Well my lovelies, I hope you check this out - if you need it.
Signing off now
Lots of Love
Hello my loves!
It's been a while. Let's be honest, I am just bad at blogging. It's not a thing I do. I want to, but I don't. I shall try to improve, I promise I shall!
So what have I been up to you ask? Well, in no particular order, I have made some massive changes to the Etsy shop where I list all my planner stickers and stencils. W have new graphics, new listing images and descriptions, as well as some new products which I am adding a little at a time.
I'm beyond proud of this work which has been in the pipeline for a while, but to be honest, I just didn't feel brave enough to actually make the attempt to create what I envisioned for the Etsy shop as it was. I wanted a cohesive look, a professional but über creative feel, organisation (!!!!) and I wanted it all to happen without really knowing if I was able to pull it off. Well it turns out that I am more than capable and that I really need to stop doubting myself!
If you want to see what I have been up to, just click on the image to pop over and take a look. All blog readers who make a purchase get 15% off with the code: NLGOODIES15.
I have also been making my own inks. It's become a little bit of an obsession - you don't even want to know how quickly I used 18 glass jars making different pigments. I am working on my own magical recipe of binder to pigment to liquid, and it seems to be going ok so far. Working with dip and calligraphy nibs is harder than paint brushes at present - so clearly some more experimentation is required. In the meantime, however, just look at the beautiful palette of colours above! Click on the image to be taken to my instagram where you can see a little video I shot from my phone whilst making that gorgeous Burnt Umber colour on the right hand side of the photo.
The studio has been in the midst of a huge overhaul. I finally have a lighting and filming rig set up that I am happy with, that is safe, and works, whilst also has most of what I need to create with to hand. The IKEA Kallax units stacked on each other provide excellent storage and allow for easy organisation and ease of grabbing what I need whilst filming, rather than searching high and low for every gosh darn thing!
I acquired this beautiful cake stand from Style & Salvaged at the Reclamation Rooms a couple of weeks ago. It's huge and is perfect for storing supplies! I have taken it upon myself to attempt to use my supplies I hardly touch. It will be a use it or lose it situation, so in a couple of weeks, what doesn't get used will be being de-stashed and gifted accordingly! Watch this space if you are after a bargain!
I am also launching Irreverent Digital - a new shop dedicated to digital resources. These will come in the form of original designs, backgrounds, textures and overlays for creative digital projects, and edits to photographs and digital journaling. Its a whole new thing for me, but I am extremely excited and am hoping it really takes off!
So as you can see my loves, a lot has been going on!
Feel free to go take a look around and let me know what you think!
Week Two of the year hones in on embracing the natural mess of life. I was in the midst of creating this spread and it was a hot mess! I loved it part way through the first day and by day three, it and I were no in love! I needed to accept what was going on and work with that. I needed to embrace the mess, and use my tried and tested techniques to bring everything together. Once I did that, everything was fine!
I hope you enjoy this video and embrace some of the mess in your life in the coming week!
Wishing you a happy new year from all of us at Irreverent Artistry; I come to you with our first video of the year.
This one carries on the series of videos to nurture your creative practice by proving that you can complete an art journal spread in 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
There are no real rules that I apply to this system other than not going for longer than 15 minutes in a day. If I am still creating after that I move onto another project.
This week ruminates on the idea of a new year not being the only way to approach fresh starts and new beginnings. Every day when we open our eyes we are provided with an opportunity to begin anew and we are given 24 hours to do that in before we are given another opportunity to do the same. Over and over again. 365 times a year. What a wonderful gift.
So without further delay, here it is! Feel free to share, comment and pin as you like!
I started at home in my living room in my pile of stuff. Nope, not there, bookcases? Nope.Read More