Learning from a Master

“If you hear a voice within you say “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent van Gogh

I am sure we hear this voice all the time. In fact I just spent a day trying fight past those words just so I could get done real words down on my page.

This Spring, F and I had a rare trip together without Little Bee. Of
course I missed her, but she was in good hands. My mother took care of her for two nights while we adventured through the city of Amsterdam. Pure heaven to be free of little feet for a few days! The freedom was good for my creating soul and I did lots of writing while free of household worries and to-do lists. And the long wine filled dinners with my handsome date, helped a bit too!

We visited the Van Gogh museum and I learned so much about this amazing artist that I have loved for so long. The thing that remained with me was his determination to get better. He refused to believe that he could not paint. His early works were highly criticised, but he kept on at it until finally he was a master. He maintained that the more he did the unfamiliar, the better he would get. The only way was up, basically.

Now why do I want to be perfect the first time? What makes me so special that I don’t need to practise?

The masters of creativity were great because they believed that they could succeed through hard work and determination.

And they never listened to the voices that told them that this plan wouldn’t work.

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A date with myself.

ImageWhat a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Some oil pastels, butterfly shaped card, glitter, leaves and feathers…….oh, and a cup of green tea.

Artist’s dates came into my life this year (that story another day…) and they have really changed the way I think about creating.

I used to really get down on myself for not having something to write or getting on with this storybook that I wanted to do.  And then I used to sit and think and think and think about why I couldn’t trust in my own writing, even though I had so much that wanted to come out.

Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way course suggests going on a creative, playful date each week with just yourself.  The idea is that if we let our minds wander and play, creativity is set free.

Sometimes we do a gallery, sometimes a walk through a pile of leaves, sometimes a good rummage in a charity shop for beautiful, forgotten things, and sometimes, like today, it involves glitter glue and sequins!  Although I can’t do it every week, and more often than not, I do it with my Little Bee, it always leaves me feeling calmer and happier and ready to play with words.