Saturday, 18 September 2010

My mind went completely blank

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post!  Even longer since I posted any finished art work.  This has been down to a mix of 'life happening' and creative block.  For the last few weeks I have hardly sketched or painted or created anything, apart from that is, the painting of this pink gerbera flower, and this has a sad tale behind it. 

As many of you may know I work as a professional librarian in a school.  The school is made up of a primary and grammar school and part of my role is teaching library skills classes to the junior pupils.  The best part of the job!  Through the last academic year I worked with and got to know a lovely young teacher, in fact during the summer term we began to make plans to start a junior book club - coming up with lots of fun ideas for the kids to do - us too.  I knew at the time that she had not been feeling too well, food allergies she thought.  Then two weeks before the end of term she was diagnosed with stomach cancer and, unbelievably on August 18th I attended her funeral.  She had just had her 31st birthday, it doesn't really compute.  I was really only just getting to know her but I have really felt her loss.  I think we could have been good friends.  I can't imagine how her close family and friends must feel.

Anyway, all her colleagues who attended the funeral wore a pink gerbera buttonhole. It had been her specific wish that we all wore bright colours, especially pink (her favourite).  The day after the funeral I decided to paint this picture of her flower, just because it looked so pretty and because I wanted to remember how it looked.  Now I am about to make a set of pendants using the image to help to raise some money in her memory, and the junior school have decided to use the image for their fundraising campaign in her memory - how cool is that?  I'll let you know how things go.

Apart from that I seem to have started more pictures than I have finished and really have struggled with motivating myself.  I can't give a particular reason I'm afraid, it's just how it has been.  Well, last weekend I couldn't sit down and work on some jewellery pieces as I'd planned because I had ended up in A&E on Saturday morning with a scratch on my left eye  :0(   however, this Thursday gone I did manage to finish a sketch I had started on a beach, Hunmanby Gap on the Yorkshire coast in July.  It's pretty basic but I'm happy with it.  Wonderful beach too - I always manage to find lots of fossils there :0)  I also did a bit more work on a coloured pencil piece I did to illustrate EDM # 161 Draw something you think smells wonderful - I will definitely get this finished, hopefully tomorrow and post it here.  Oh and I managed to list a few more pieces in my Etsy shop so not too bad a day I suppose!

Anyway - here's the beach picture which I will say is EDM # 100 Draw or paint a landscape:

I promise I shall be pulling my finger out in the next few weeks and getting some more work done.  I have ordered myself a new A4 Moleskine sketchbook and a book to inspire me on digital artwork so no excuses!!  I'd be interested to know what you people reading this do to try to overcome any creative block!

And if the last few weeks haven't been the kick in the pants I needed to remind me that life is just too damn short to dither about, well I don't know what would remind me, do you?


  1. The flower is just gorgeous - beautifully painted. When I can't get started on a creative project, I write about possible reasons why and usually discover that it is "fear of failure," i.e. fear that the product won't meet my expectations. This writing is sometimes enough to get me motivated and I determine what is the smallest possible part of the project that I can start immediately. I spent months trying to start a project transferring figure drawing images to fabric and decided that I could at least select a drawing, scan, resize, and print it - all of about 20 minutes work. Then of course I was energized and needed to trace it on a piece of fabric. Next I decided to practice free form stitching of the image and by the time I did that I was on my way and completed the little quilt as #1 in a series! And I finished 4 pieces in the last two weeks!

  2. Oh my goodness. Give yourself a break! You have been through quite a bit of trauma it seems. Stop feeling guilty about not making art, it will come when it is ready. Just look inward and heal - that is a lot to go through. How terrible! We always think it is going to happen to someone we don't know. I have also lost friends to cancer and it's not a pretty thing to watch. It makes you embrace your mortality somewhat. Hope things start to get better for you soon. :) xx Your Gerbera is gorgeous and a really lovely idea.

  3. A beautiful flower and a beautiful landscape. You have some crazy good skills, my dear.
    I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. She sounds like she was a terrific spirit- to tell everyone to wear bright colors at her funeral- well that says it all.
    Your creative block? Reframe it. It's not a "block"- it is just your minds way to make room for new things. Besides, sure looks to me like you've been plenty creative.

  4. Glad you're back Lesley =) And yes it's been a while. Love your post, the flower's gorgeous, the beach drawing is magnificent ^^
    By the way, I've mailed the card on Thursday so you should be getting it late next week or early the week after.

  5. What a sad sad tale, but beautiful painting, both the flower and the beach. I've also found a fossil there, amazing aren't they. Guess we all need to remember life is there to be grabbed and lived in the moment. To get over my blocks, I usually go for a walk with my sketchbook and really really try and look all around me and notice the little details and colours. It usually works, even if the drawing is terrible it made me go out there and really look and appreciate all there is out there.

  6. I think what is called a 'block' is all part of the whole package of being ourselves---probably often balances us when we are tipped almost over---and feeds our minds etc...

  7. I've been struggling with this quite a bit myself lately! I'm a bit more beginner than you, but I'm reading Cathy Johnson's Creating Nature in Watercolor and Mary Whyte's Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. It felt like I needed to return to the basics! These are terrific; I really love that landscape!! Sorry to hear about your friend! I've known so many people lately that have been diagnosed with stomach/colon/pancreatic cancer. It is scary and seems like there is some sort of epidemic of it!

    I really like Winna's comment. It makes me feel better about this dry spell!

  8. Thanks for all the comments guys!!
    Some great advice and interesting comments about 'creative block' - Winna your comment is fab, I have written it down in my sketch book :0)
    Raena I'm going to look up those books, I think you are right, sometimes it is good to get back to basics - you always learn something new when you do.
    I think my block is over, I just need more hours in a day again now - oh and a decent lamp to sketch by in the evenings now the nights are getting darker!

  9. This beautiful and a wonderful tribute to your friend, I like the idea of making pendants too.
    Feeling empty and without any creative urge is normal after such a rough time. Walking and getting close to nature helps, so does music and looking at other people's artwork.

  10. Your flower and beach are really lovely. I'm glad you're back, and yes, these blocks do seem to be a part of all of it. Take care of yourself and treat yourself gently. nancy

  11. What a sad story! But your drawing is lovely and it is very cool that the image was picked for making pendants. I wish I had some advice on blocks, but I don't. I hope yours is gone for good!

  12. I'm sorry about your colleague and I like the tribute you have drawn for her.

    I look forward to seeing more from you soon, but don't be too hard on yourself for the block, it's part of the creative process and helps us step back and re-evaluate.

  13. This is my first time visit to your blog found via the Followers gadget on another blog....the wolf profile pic drew me in as I LOVE wolves ~ :)

    I'm so, so sorry about the loss of your friend in such a short time frame. She obviously left quite an imprint on a lot of people.

    Your gerbera is gorgeous and quite fitting that it's being used for the fund-raising campaign in her memory.

    Your beach landscape is beautiful too ~ :)

  14. Lovely sketches of the beach and the daisy. How wonderful that you were able to honor your friend in a tangible way with the daisy painting. I agree with Sue and Winna, I see blocks as a time of change and reevaluation, when I need to step back to get better perspective. Also a time to rest and recharge. I try to give myself permission to take a break, but not let the break go on for too long either. Best wishes!

  15. I like this. I was looking for pink flowers on google images because I want to make a tshirt for Thuy, a kid I sponsor through child fund. I wonder if zazzle can ship to a village in Vietnam? I'm gonna find out. I'm sorry about your friend. She sounds like she was a cool lady. btw, Im not going to use your flowers (i'll need clipart). but I did like your art and blog... :)



yasmin lawyer