Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wednesday Motivation

Start by doing what's necessary; 
then do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Francis of Assisi

Following on from the post  I wrote the other week, Are You Ready?  where I discussed the idea of being ready for anything and taking life's chances, this got me thinking a bit more about the reasons why we wait or let artistic opportunities pass us by. In the post I put it down to these main points.

  • My work's not good enough
  • I'll go in for that one next year
  • I've got too much going on
  • I'll make a fool of myself
  • I can't do it    
  • No-one will buy it
  • No-one will come
  • I don't have time

After some thought, I can also add lack of motivation or inspiration to that list. Some of the nicest comments I had recently came as feedback from one of the Squirrel Archive pieces I wrote. I focused on inspiration, and motivation, where we get it from, and how we can keep it going. Well, as it was so popular with the readers, and Wednesday is always said to be 'Peak Efficiency Day' when we are meant to be at our most inspired, motivated, and work orientated, I thought I would post it here.

One of the hardest things to maintain over time is motivation, and where to find our inspiration to keep our work fresh. Without inspiration, we find it hard to get going, our motivation flags, and painting becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. There are however things we can do to keep us cheerily painting away. 

Here's my Top 5

  • Draw everyday Sounds obvious this one, but keep up the skills by spending at least 10 minutes of everyday on a small drawing. Nothing too big or complicated, but maybe something new or challenging.
Sometimes just a chart of colours and a few thumbnail sketches are enough to keep things fresh  

Off the beaten track 

A really new challenge

Worked up a bit

Got there in the end

  • Find inspiration everywhere. Flowers on a cafe table, a wallpaper design, the park where you eat your lunch, the veg aisle at the supermarket and even good packaging. If you think about looking for the next big thing everywhere you go, you will find something exciting.

Hello there

Spotted on a street in Greenwhich, near the old Naval College

  • Keep a mood board. Inspiration can take the form of a 'mood board'. Mostly used to demonstrate an interior design idea, mood boards can also really boost confidence and motivation. Favourite things, pictures from magazines, fabrics, wallpapers, cards and our own paintings placed in sight are all positive messages to keep us going.

If you don't have room for a mood board, create your own online,
 and look at them from time to time.

  • Take pictures. With superb cameras on our smartphones, we can take great pictures wherever we go. If you see something beautiful, take a picture of it, (mind out if you need permission though). The way we see things can influence many aspects of our lives, so take time out in your day to look around you. Even in the middle of a city, nature finds a way of being around.

And who says builders don't care about nature.
Spotted at a very busy junction on a massive building project.

The amount of bees buzzing around this little oasis of green was quite astonishing

These guys get the award for best use of a hard hat

  • Be brave and get out there. Being an artist working away in a studio can be a very isolating business, and not everyone is blessed with a whole army of friends cheering them on. It's still important to get out and about. Joining a local art group is a great way to meet like minded people, and if there isn't one in your area, why not start one yourself, or join a group to do something totally different but enjoyable. Pottery, Zumba, Yoga, walking or even an evening course in wine appreciation, (as if we need help there), anything that keeps the positive messages flowing.  

Didn't have to go far for this one.

It's not every day a Dalek rolls on by

Vintage fabrics are a passion

True inspiration

This guy cycled his way from China to London in 2012 to promote the Olympic message

He was so lovely

Someone to share the moment

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Peek of the Week

All this week on social media, I have been releasing little snippets from the new website using the hashtag #peekoftheweek. As someone who creates visual art, it's a funny thing to be living in a time when everything is measured by it's visual impact. Selfies, 'here I am on holiday' and, this is my cat / dog / children / hamster doing something funny pictures or videos posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook can all go viral in a matter of seconds  if it hits the right note. The mind boggles.

My new logo


Some of the media 'in crowd' are even saying that we are near a time where websites themselves will become a thing of the past and unless there is something else on offer other than 'here I am and this is what I do' type pages, there will be no point in having a website at all. For myself, I have found much more of my traffic and conversations taking place on other online platforms. The immediacy of being able to chat to people on a more personal basis is much more appealing.

What's on offer? A subscription membership website with lots of step-by-step videos.

The new website will be more community orientated, offering a platform for learning in an informal and relaxed way. Many artists are offering all styles of online learning, and I guess it's because we all have this need to pass on our knowledge and reach a wider audience. Well, it is for me anyway, and unless I can actually interact with the people who choose to learn with me, it loses something and becomes more of a business.

What else will I get if I join? Plenty of extras including my Technique Tool Box videos of tips, Masterclass projects and more. There's been lots of hard work to make sure there is plenty of content, to keep everyone who joins happily busy and painting.

Journey is not how I would describe the creation of my new baby, after all, I haven't actually been anywhere. But it has certainly been a learning curve with ups and downs along the creative way. There is so much more to it than you can ever expect. But here, at last are some of the elements that will welcome visitors to my new site. Launch date coming soon  

And not forgetting the old favourites. The blog has it's own update sections, and you can still sign up for The Squirrel Archives.

Please note that all web pages are currently under construction and some images / content may be different to what is shown here.