I have fought writing this blog post for weeks, but finally have stopped battling and just started to type.
Twenty five years ago, I feel in love with paint: as a rather keen 16 year old student, I started painting large scale (4′ plus) oil paintings and spent most of my six form in the studio. I have let go of the need to say things like “I should have gone to art college at 18″ as I can truthfully say that the path I took instead, has been the right one (our choices are rarely wrong – we just fail to see what’s right about them).
So I eventually chose a profession which truly understands how meaningful occupation, that is any activity which gives us purpose and meaning, has the power to heal, transform and re-create. This choice has stood me in good stead for 20 years and I still love my core professional roots of Occupational Therapy and work with many OTs still:)
This is Day 1, because for the last 5 years, perhaps 6, I have felt a really strong need to commit fully to a creative life. Not just creative thinking, which I do all the time, or creativity at home or work, but a real return to painting, with a newer, deeper understanding of the creative process and it’s impact on creative behaviour.
Five years ago I attended an exhibition at the Tate Britain by Peter Doig, one of the most successful painters at this time. (For a while he held the record sale price of a painting at auction, by a living artist, about 11 million…so not just a little successful!) There is a deeper history to this story, which perhaps I will save for another day, but seeing his work 5 years ago, gave me a profound sense of connection and self belief in my own abilities as a painter.
Since that day in London, I have been trying to construct a life and a business which allows me to paint, whilst bringing in a tangible salary. I have created some amazing products including Discovery Party, the Genie and various workshops, talks and courses. Specializing in creativity coaching has taught me so much – creativity doesn’t just show up in paint, it comes out in all sorts of ways and learning about my own creative process has been intrinsic to this journey and intrinsic to the reason I have struggled so much.
There has just been too much choice – which project or product to work with, where to focus my efforts, what to run with. During this 6 years, fear drove me back to quite mainstream pieces of work, including work as an associate in a field that I really didn’t like…sorry, I learnt a lot, but was sooo pleased to leave! My priorities are clear now: Discovery Party, OTCoach and ….paint. Painting keeps being left behind and this year it has been compounded by the loss of my studio at home, due to the growing family needs.
If you think I just a classic sunday painter or middle class lady dabbling with her creativity think again. I’m not a hobbyist, I don’t tinker with watercolours and I am not attached to some romantic myth about painting either. And this isn’t just about painting I know that if I just paint, 24/7, I won’t be happy. And very few artists are actually just painters. Most have part time teaching posts or other jobs, or a supportive partner with a good job. Those that “just paint” are still blogging and doing business stuff online – that’s just how it is.
I really enjoy writing, speaking, teaching and coaching and have much to give back. What I wanted to do 5 years ago is weave together these things I love, but put painting and creating at the core. Sufficed to say, I have neglected the core and when that happens, you have nothing strong to work from. You are weak and things start to fall apart.
So this is Day 1, of my original intention from 5 years ago. This blog and website will be the main place that I write with a focus on: the creative process in general; my lived experience of creativity including my own work, what helps and hinders me personally; use of metaphor and imagery to gain insight and learning; coaching and creativity coaching; the relationship between psychology, art and personal development, the struggles and challenges as I grow my business whilst raising a family and retaining my sanity…and basically anything else I fancy in that vein.
…and if it looks like I am not doing enough painting, feel free to let me know:)