SUMMER SOLSTICE – a time to look back on the year so far and consider the next steps.


For me this isn’t as clear cut as I would like it to be but life rarely is straightforward!

I am becoming more of carer now my partner is undergoing treatment for cancer and that is a priority in my life – but so is my own mental health. Art has always been a vital element in that, engaging in creativity brings me into the present moment and I can feel stress falling away. It can be a kind of therapy, allowing me to express how I’m feeling (and for years I have kept art journals for that).

How does your creative energy get expressed? What medium do you use? Yesterday I visited a friend who has insisted she isn’t creative but you should see what she has done with her tiny garden! Its a paradise! Another friend has a passion for playing with tastes and spices and her food creations are magic! I invite you to take time this Solstice to acknowledge your creativity and all the wonderful things you do with it that gives life meaning and joy.

May the remainder of the year flower with your passion. ?



The creative process has a flow to it, it evolves in identifiable steps, has a beginning and an end. Many people believe mistakenly that it is something an artist is born with, you either have or you haven’t, but that isn’t true. We are ALL born with the innate ability to be creative, but it is conditioned out of us. Here are some of the elements of the Creative Process as I experience it:

Mention discipline to many creatives and they go cold! But until you can learn to turn up at the page, the desk or the easel, to establish a routine that works for you – a discipline, you will not break through lethargy and prevarication.
You can ‘trigger’ off your creativity without having to wait for inspiration to drop into your lap. It is a myth that you have to be inspired or in the flow before you can produce something. There are simple and effective techniques to get those creative juices flowing and I’ll be sharing many of them in the blog posts to come.

By this I mean that there is a time to wait, a time to be active, a time to gather information, a time to ‘incubate’, a time to close and so on. Acceptance of this is important in the creative process, without it you may get into self-judgement, believing you have to be productive all of the time. This is simply not true.

The creative process involves risk, and where there is risk, there is fear. Many creatives allow fear to block them, fear of wasting time, fear of mistakes, fear of getting it wrong and so on. Prevarication is the creatives bugbear – ‘I’ll just watch this programme… have another cup of coffee….phone Jane…..look, the lawn needs mowing….’ These are natural and often unconscious responses to our fear. You need to identify fear and use it – creatively! Remember, fear transformed is excitement!

Sitting down at the desk or easel with a finished painting or book already imagined can be intimidating to our inner muse. All creativity is essentially play and we must allow ourselves to leave the inner judge and critic at the door and enter into that state of ‘ I wonder….?’
Not everything you create is a work of art! So what? But it is an essential step on the way to that work of art!

It’s a kind of ‘sod’s law’ that spiritual masters talk about – only when you let go of wanting something will you get it. You want recognition, fame, wealth as an artist? But you are focused on product, not process. First thing that needs to happen is YOU have to acknowledge yourself as an artist, YOU have to value what you do, YOU have to love your work before anyone else can. If you are reliant on the approval of others, you will be restricting your creativity. You have to get really fierce about doing the work, you have to do it because you have no option, because it is your very life at stake. Most artists say they do what they do because they have no choice.

Just like relationships – not everybody is going to like you. FINE! It’s OK! Don’t take it personally, that’s how life is. Until you accept this clear fact of life in relation to your work, you are going to suffer. Let it go. Believe the truth – there is someone out there it will speak to, maybe lots of someones – but what is really important is that it speaks to you.

If you are creating simply because you see a gap in the market, you will quickly become bored with it or burnt out. Creatives need to have a passion for their work. Get clear about what it is that you have a passion for and find a way of expressing it out there in the world. Let’s get one thing clear – whatever it is you have to offer, the world needs it, even if you doubt that right now. The world will always need you – why else are you here?



Following on from the last post, ‘A room of one’s own’, it strikes me that becoming an artist is as much about questioning the myths and lies we’ve been told, as it is about having the time and space to do it.

Three things we need to really understand – creativity is a process and you have to practice. And you have to WANT it. I wish someone had told me that a long time ago. I had the desire but not the understanding – I thought that trying hard, or hitting on a good idea was the secret. I also believed that being successful was to do with mastery of techniques.

How much time I wasted intimidating myself with the (ridiculous) expectation that I ‘should’ produce a painting at the end of any time I spent creating. If we apply that to running a marathon, its like putting on your new trainers and expecting to do 26 miles straight away.
I think the hardest aspect of being a creative of any kind is to challenge the way of thinking about it. Its pretty much ingrained in us from an early age. We all have an internal critic/judge who demands we get it right, don’t make mistakes, and produce! No wonder we throw in the towel before we can begin.

My art education was pretty poor. At school art materials were rubbish – sugar paper and powder paints, brushes with no bristles. I left school to work at 16 (yes, I’m that old) and took an A level in Art at night school. The practical side of it was mainly still life and occasional figure drawing but I had no training in what mediums were available and scraped through using mostly watercolour and pencil.
At 20 I entered Teacher Training College pretty clueless but again was left to my own devices – there was an expectation that I would have a fuller experience as most of the other students did. My final exhibition was the result of good luck and hard work, I found I could more easily get out of my own way when I had a deadline and worked well under pressure. Now I see it gave me a reason to work 24/7 on my art and put everything else to one side. Panic drove my practice in those days.

Now, when I go to the Studio, I give myself time to play. My practice is my sketchbooks, where I doodle, think about marks, make them, try out new materials and so on. I exercise my ‘creative muscle’ every day. Even if its just putting bits of collage on a page with no other reason than to see what happens. My motto is ‘I wonder...’ Wonder what will happen if I smudge this line, add salt to this liquid paint, use my finger instead of a brush?.....this is my practice and it’s how I learn. It brings me peace and joy.
But if I tell myself there must be an end ‘product’, the critic is in charge not my creative self. Only through play, discovery and experimentation can I express my particular and unique artistic voice.
What are your outdated beliefs about creativity? I encourage you to question them, explore them, look at what works and what doesn’t.

A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN – or why its hard to be creative without your own dedicated space


For me as a creative, the most important boundary I have always insisted on is my own space. As a married mature student living in an old converted house of student flats, it was in a corridor of bathrooms– each flat had their own lockable ‘bathroom’, freezing cold, plywood walls. It became my studio of sorts. I put in an old paraffin heater which stank the place out and in the winter sat in an old chair with as many clothes on as I could muster. The bath was covered with an old least I had water!

As soon as student life was over and we lived in a ‘proper’ house I always had my own room. Since then I have converted rooms into studios from under-stairs cupboard space, box rooms, utility rooms, a garage, a caravan, half a conservatory screened off from the rest - until finally I got a real studio built for my 60th birthday at the bottom of the garden.

Now I live in a smaller home and travel (not too far) to a rented studio which houses several artists. We each have our own ‘cubicle’. Although I miss my garden studio, there is something about travelling to work that is loaded with intention, commitment, no distractions to pull me away. Here I am, get down to work.

Even if your own dedicated space is the corner of a room, a desk or a space in time – the dining room when no-one else is using it – it’s vital to your creativity that you make it yours. And to enforce a clear boundary with others in the household, especially if there are children. But its important to do so. This is MY time now, MY space now.
Creativity happens when we feel safe – from interruption, judgement, distraction; when we have time to ourselves; when we have space to dream, play. I know so many people who, conditioned to put everyone else first, never allow themselves to express their creativity. So many who feel they have to justify it to others.

Get a space. Go in it. Lock the door. Play.

 Comments (click to expand)

Loading comments...

Add a comment (click to expand)

Marie's Blog