January 08, 2016

Big Magic & Other Happenings

I'm reading "Big Magic" at the moment by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm devouring it, actually. I am really loving it. 
Big Magic (affiliate link)

My Art Jam buddy a while ago pointed me in the direction of this Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her theory that inspiration is it's own entity; you don't merely think of ideas, but they come to you in some sort of wispy magical way. I love this theory. It certainly takes the responsibility off you if you have no current inspiration or ideas... it's the universe's fault!! ;)

Now at the start of the book it talks about loosing your fear and getting started with your creative life (whatever that may be), so I began to think that this book wasn't for me as I am already living the creative life. I've already overcome some of that fear and stepped out into the land of "Oh my gosh, you're going to make a living from art!?" (Insert patronising laughter here!) But I kept reading through the beginning, and I really enjoyed where the book took me. Of course, not everything in a book is going to resonate with you; but a lot of it did. Most of it actually. Creative people seem to all share the same mental obstacles in varying degrees so the anecdotes are totally relatable and enjoyable to read. It makes you feel part of a secret creative community, where you're not alone, you share these trials and tribulations with other people that are burdened with this desire to be creative and put it out there into the world and live on a constant emotional roller coaster. 

I find it is an emotional roller coaster. I can feel elated as a current project is looking great, I have a really positive feeling about it, and I'm on a roll. But the next paint stroke can leave me feeling like I should probably quit doing art forever. Curse this damn desire to create things! But I keep coming back to it, and Gilbert embraces this whole process and overall, even with the trials and tribulations,  enjoys it. 

So, I've nearly finished the book. I'm interested to see what the end holds. I hope she talks about too many ideas, which is a serious problem I have! I can emerge from a shower with 6+ ideas and wondering which one I'll choose, and why the 'Big Magic' is sending me so much information, and why it can't just give me a break for a bit so I can actually finish a project before getting all excited and giddy about the next one. (Maybe I can personally write to her and ask her to write about that conundrum!)

I just want to end by saying the most memorable and helpful part about the book so far has been the "Done is better than good" section. I LOVE this quote. I often feel paralysed by thoughts like, "What if I ruin this painting?", "It's never going to turn out how I envisage", or: "Other artists such as [blah blah blah] are better than me and I should just quit. (Or retreat from the public eye, at least.)" So I procrastinate. I put paintings aside for months to gather dust while I try to start something that will work. (Then that new one will end up in a dusty pile, too.)

But done IS better than good! What use is a 'good' painting if it's never 'done'? As soon as I read this chapter I literally tossed the book aside and pulled down a painting I'd been working on and got right into it. 

I'd love to hear from you if you're a creative, or aspiring creative and have read the book.

Talking about working on too many projects, I am working on two paintings, plus I have a few sculpture ideas. I also need to start working on a couple of commissions I have.

Here's a late night progress shot form my studio.
And because it is pretty, and because I recently blogged about awesome 2016 calendars, I will show you the Taproot Calendar I recently purchased. Artwork is by Phoebe Wahl, who I'd love to meet one day and give her a big cuddle for bring so much beautiful awesomeness into the world. She's amazing.
And meanwhile, we're still living our lives. I like the "Natural Earth Mama" thing and it's not something that happens naturally all the time. I have to work at switching the TV off and living the way that makes you happy and feeds your soul. (The kids are watching a movie as I type.) But we did go berry picking yesterday at a local organic berry farm. We had 'picker's passes' which meant we could eat whilst we also picked a bucket of berries to take home. The kids really loved it and Miss 5 pretended we were trapped, as the vines are all netted in. Miss 7 had wide, open eyes when eating each berry, as you never know how sweet each and every one is going to be. She requested we go back there "one thousand more times". Of course, sweetheart. ;)
Ps. I am getting a photographer this year so am looking forward to stocking my Etsy shop with lots of goodies!

Jules :)

*Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. You can be confident that I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

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