Creativity, for me, is an endless cycle of ups and downs….sometimes I’m free-wheeling, creating work that captures what I want to say; it has an honesty about it, a fluidity…it all comes together…and other times, I’m definitely in bottom gear, pedalling for all I am worth and getting nowhere…
It has taken me a long time, in fact it’s still a work in progress, but I no longer get so down on myself during these times…I know that, eventually…’this too will pass’ and I will start free-wheeling again…. During this down-time I am taking the opportunity to ‘absorb’…whether that be visiting exhibitions, reading, walking…just being…
‘Slow down and enjoy life.
It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why’,
Reminding myself that everything has its cycles…as my latest walk to the river is evidence of…
….exuberant riverbanks, mown meadows, and early ‘autumnal’ berries….
Even a walk around the estate highlights summer’s last hurrah, whilst autumn creeps upon us….
….heavy with promise…
‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’ I also read an interview with Agnes Martin who said ‘Cultivate happiness – work will flow from it. Make happiness your goal – say to yourself ‘What do I like and what do I want?’ Ask your mind for inspiration about everything.’
I realise that it’s not always easy to ‘just go do it’, sometimes life gets in the way and ‘happiness’ can be difficult to achieve…but knowing what makes me come alive, what I need – space, landscape – in order to produce work…gives me a starting point for the ‘down’ times…and I am starting to make work ‘for me’ instead of what I think I ought to make….work that makes me ‘happy’…
I am reading Susan G. Wooldridge’s ‘Fool’s Gold’ – I know, I know….another self help, free the artist within, finding your creativity book, but bear with me…..
Having gone through some major life changes – marriage breakdown, empty nest syndrome, loss of a parent, moving house – Woolridge comes to realise that ‘the creative…is spawned from emptiness. Giving over to silence, waiting, allowing, listening…In the emptiness we might get an inkling-as if something lights up and twinkles-of how we’ll begin to form and open to who we’re becoming, who we most truly are. We need to leave space both for what we’ll discover and what will emerge to discover us.’
This idea has given me a fresh perspective on the creative cycles….there are the free-wheeling times when all is right with the world and the work is flowing…but instead of beating myself up when I am pedalling backwards, I now look upon this time as my ’emptiness time, my space’…waiting, listening, absorbing…..
‘This being human is a guest house,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who sweep
your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.’