One red-winged blackbird at 7 am became 23 by noon! A Robin singing in the tree, a Canada Goose honking loudly as it flew by and a purple finch rounded out an amazing spring-like day. And the snow melting away!
Shifting topics…I made great progress on my family tree book today. I wrapped up work at 3:45 pm, made dinner, then jumped onto the book for a couple of hours. Had dinner, then back at it. Just wrapped up a few mins ago. My eyes are dry and blurry from all that screen time. But I’m almost done. I wrote the last chapter tonight. It was a difficult one to write and I hesitated for days, then struggled with words tonight until it finally came together. I was writing about my uncle who served in WWII, suffered terrible PTSD (which wasn’t a thing back then) and eventually took his own life.
Suicide is a delicate subject, made more difficult when it isn’t talked about in the family. I considered leaving it out of the book but, in the end, felt his story needed to be told.
Day two, well the photography portion was easy. It’s second nature for me to capture nature moments with my camera. So many times I find myself without a camera—usually because it’s too big, bulky and heavy to discreetly carry in a purse—and I’m sorry for it, because something catches my eye. Could be the way the light is dancing on a leaf, or a butterfly drinking nectar from a flower, or a unique shaped cloud passing by. Often times, my phone is a great stand-in but, often times it isn’t.
I don’t know if I am actively looking for those moments, or if those moments come knocking on my door. I guess it doesn’t really matter. As long as the moments are being captured and shared so everyone can enjoy them.
So, having an eye for photography is a gift that I’m so very grateful for. The technical part of photography escapes me though. Trying to remember what fstop to use, etc. often ended with a headache. Although, I must say, the more I do it, the more I’m coming to understand it. A little over a year ago, I switched from P to M and AV. I primarily shoot in AV and switch to Manual mode when AV isn’t cutting it for me. Since doing that, I have learned more about my camera and the technical aspects to photography. It’s still a challenge but I’m sure one day it’ll be as natural as breathing (fingers crossed ;0) )
Although photography comes easy to me (the creative side of it, anyhow), I’m going to use this year, and this 365 creative project, to push my comfort zone, to try things I wouldn’t normally try, different perspectives, different angles, different settings… Almost like I’m setting myself up to fail. Which in a way, that’s exactly what I’m doing. For it is in failing that I am succeeding. I’ll come back to that thought in a moment.
The painting portion was a little more challenging than yesterday. I prepared my space, filled the water bowl—I decided to stick with water colours until I get the hang of how they work.
My biggest challenge was keeping fear and doubt at bay. I had no idea what to paint. Usually I see what I’m going to paint, then I paint it. Or I have an idea of what I want to do. Intuitive painting is not like that. It’s being open to allowing “whatever” to come through.
So, I sat there looking at the paints and knew I wanted to start with yellow. I dampened the canvas with water, then added yellow paint to it. Not sure how to paint it on…should I dab it, stroke it, use a sponge? Every question I had was immediately answered. Cool. Beige followed the yellow, then blue, then green, then another colour and another, then I thought to add a mountain.
A fleeting trace of panic set in…what if I screw it up? What if it looks ridiculous? So what, came the answer. This exercise isn’t about creating a masterpiece, it isn’t about creating something others will find pleasing. This is an exercise in creativity. In trusting your intuition and in letting go of judgement, letting go and enjoying the process. It’s about making painting fun again.
I added a mountain, then a tree, and finally a boat (another fleeting trace of panic…I don’t know how to draw or paint a boat). I had no idea where the painting was going, what the effect would be when I dabbed the blue and green, instead of swiping it back and forth on the page. I had no idea when I added dark blue to the mountains, then beige to the other side, that they would turn out like they did. I honestly thought I was making a muck of it all… Imagine my surprise when I “finished” and stood back to take it all in… huh. Who knew?
My former deputy minister had stated at a staff retreat that he expected us to fail. That statement threw me for a loop. He wanted us to innovate. To think outside the box. To try new things. No idea was stupid. He expected us to fail. A lot of the time. And this would be good. Because it meant we were trying. We were coming up with innovative ideas. New concepts. Forging new paths.
That statement had a profound impact on me and that is what this 365 creativity project is about. Trying new things. Pushing the limits of what I think I know about myself so I can uncover the real me, and my real gifts and talents.
Oh, and for the writing portion...well, I put that off as long as I could. This is it.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions some time ago. Primarily because I never kept them. So they were kind of a waste of time, really. I never made it to the gym, kept up the diet for a few weeks, turned off the TV for only a short while… blah, blah, blah, so on and so forth.
So, what’s different this year?
I’m tired of procrastinating. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough. I’m tired of waiting for life to come to me. I’m tired of comparing myself to others. I’m tired of waiting for the right time. Hell, I’m just tired of being tired.
I admit I’m a procrastinator. I also admit it’s because I’m a perfectionist and I’d rather put off doing something than doing something half-assed. So much so I feel like I’ve put off living my life and exploring my natural gifts/talents because they’re not perfect, or I feel they don’t measure up to others. Crazy, I know. But there it is.
Enter 365. My plan for this year is to stop waiting for life to come to me, stop waiting to be better, because the only way I can improve is with daily practice. And not comparing myself to others. (that’s a big one I really really need to work hard at).
So, for this year, I commit (yikes – committment is another biggy I’m working on) to daily creative projects. In fact, I commit to three principal creative pursuits: painting, photography and writing. Daily. One painting, one photo and one page a day. That’s it. No preconceived notions. No agendas, no lists of what to paint, photograph or write. Just go into it with a clear mind, heart and soul and allow spirit to move through me. The freedom to do, as I choose, when I choose, however I choose.
I’ve created a page to display my artwork, not to mention a way to hold myself accountable to producing a painting, photo and page every day.
I’d love for you to follow along and share your journey with me in the comments section.