Creating Space for Your Creativity

Creating Space for Your Creativity

 

  1. Find a table.
  2. Sit down.
  3. Start.

 

Sounds easy right?  Everyone can find a table.

 

Even though I had been creative my whole life, it took me two years to re-kindle it. My fire has been put out.  I wanted it back.

The whole process began years before I started selling my work, and well before I had an art studio. When I began my journey,  I started out working at my dining room table.  I had been working hard in my business as a product designer and importer, but still felt empty and unfulfilled.  I gathered up a few old paints and some paper and I thought I would paint a little. I found out that I really loved it. The problem with working at the dining room table was  that every time I wanted to work on my painting it took 10 minutes to clean off the table, 10 minutes to lay things out and 20 minutes to clean things up.  I had to allow for 40 minutes of prep around the actual painting time.    The dining room was the perfect place for me to create because it had a door.  I could hear the professional art-critics approaching the room.  A door made a clicking sound, allowing for just enough time for me to hide my work under a magazine before the critics peered over my shoulder. I started loving it so much that I became protective of my time and space there and started protecting it fiercely.  I would sneak in, when I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed, sit in a spot where family that passed by the glass doors couldn’t see me and I would work.  If people interrupted me, I would get angry.  I was like a tiger fighting for my territory.  The family soon learned that when I was working at that table to not disturb me, unless the house was on fire.

It took me a long time to understand that what people thought of my work didn’t matter.  It took me what seems like forever, to feel that creativity was important enough in my life to actually make my place at the dining room table into a special spot where I could allow my artistic mind to take off and flourish.  After months of secretly working at the dining room table, gaining confidence, and learning new techniques, I slowly began to feel different.  I absolutely loved the time that I was working on my art. It was my time to escape. I slowly began to feel that my creative work mattered enough to start making this time a priority and part of my daily route.  I started taking classes and workshops in technique. portraits, drawing, oil painting, colour theory, plein air and more.  The more I learned the more I wanted to know. I developed my own daily ritual, I would set up my table, pour myself a cup of tea in a china cup and paint for hours.  I learned to honour this time and this little area in my dining room as my very own sacred, special place. It was at the dining room table that  I learned that becoming an artist was a process and that I was not running a race.  This is where I learned to be vulnerable, open and tap into my self.  I found out that I needed to play with the paint, feel it on the paper and seeing how it moves.  I had so much fun. I learned that I would make mistakes and it would be ok. I knew that I would get worst before I got better and I was willing to put in the time. The hardest part about being an artist for me, was allowing. Allowing my work to transform.  Allowing each piece of art to go through an ‘ugly stage’ before its finished. During this phase of my artistic journey,  I also took the time to look within myself in an effort to understand where my spark came from. I wanted to know why it was that I had pushed and fought so hard to hang on to my ‘creativeness’, and why it was so important to me.  Through a willingness to look at myself, I discovered that my  ‘self-worth’  was directly connected to my creativity.  It wasn’t until I placed a higher value on myself and recognized myself as worthy, that I was able to see worth in my work.  I discovered that my creativity was driven in part by my desire to express myself as me, a person who follows her own path and shows up, somehow contributing something positive and beautiful, in an effort to help bring some sense of meaning to the world.

Slowly I started to see how important  it was for me to build creativity into my daily life.  I wanted to live a full creative life and became dedicated to honoring my creativity  as much as eating, brushing my teeth, meditating or going to the gym.

Before I started working at my dining room table I had spent years trying to drown my own creative spirit, because it just didn’t fit into my busy life, when my kids were young.   I didn’t understand what an important part it played.  I recognized that by not listening to my desire to express my individuality through my creativeness I had caused other areas of my life to suffer.  For years  I tried to hush, subdue, and push down my desire to create. This left me feeling angry, wanting, empty and sad, feeling incomplete and broken. That was a mistake.  I wish that I had understood the importance of honouring myself and my creativity earlier in my life.

I want to encourage you to start where you are.  Don’t wait until you have a room of your own, or a fancy studio to work out of.  Now is the time to start.

Your creativeness is important.  Pull up a chair and sit down at your table. Claim your sacred creating space, make it yours, even it means packing it all up at the end of your time and reassembling it back to your family kitchen table, it is still yours.

Make a personal commitment to live a creative filled life.  Write it out. 

Commit to whatever you can.  Even if you have one hour a week.  , commit to whatever you are able to squeeze in.  Start yourself a ritual for when you create in your sacred space. Surround yourself with things you love.  Make yourself a cup of tea, light a candle, turn your phone off, set the timer, whatever you need to do to help you remain inside of your creative mind with the least amount of distraction.

When you first start working in your creative space, don’t focus on the outcome. Focus on the act of creating.  This is where the magic lies.  Give yourself room to be.  Allow yourself to play.  Give yourself permission to be a learner. You need to build trust with your creative self so that you feel comfortable and safe exploring within your imagination and sharing your feelings as art.  Learn to empty your mind of all negative thoughts.  This is not the time to wonder if you are doing something right or wrong, what your friends or spouse will think of your work.  This is a no judgement space.  This is simply the time for you.