As New Zealand prepares to enter a four-week nationwide lockdown (thanks, COVID-19), I have been wondering if there might be some little thing that I could do to make life a little lighter and brighter for those in isolation from their normal lives. And so the first of my colouring pages is being born. Of course I have picked THE most complicated scene to start with… and it’s taking ages to draw… but I figure that if I’m not bored, anyone colouring it in might be not bored too.
Port Chalmers colouring page ~ a work in progress
I’m planning to do at least three New Zealand landscapes as colouring pages. My first page is based on a photograph of Port Chalmers with the historic Iona Church in the foreground and a large congregation of houses and trees in the surrounding neighbourhood. It may take a day or two (or three) to finish… and then it will be available via Etsy as a printable instant download.
I painted ‘My inner critic is no expert’ as a reminder : )
There are days when we are so critical of ourselves… days when we think we can’t or we try but things don’t go well and so we decide we won’t… days when the little things overwhelm us and the bigger picture is nowhere to be seen.
Even if they are few and far between, these days still lurk. They return time and time again. Maybe I’ve just painted* the best thing I’ve ever painted and I feel on top of the world. I move on to the next one and nothing goes right. But why? Yesterday it was easy. Yesterday was a joy. Yesterday I even felt like an artist.
Mark Romer famously referred to this as part of The Creative Process and Danny Gregory has devoted an entire book to the subject (‘Shut Your Monkey’). Yes, I’m a big fan of laughing at our inner critic. We do not ~ repeat NOT ~ have to take them seriously.
Okay, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But worthwhile things are very rarely easy. And creating art, no matter what anyone says, is most definitely worthwhile.
* feel free to substitute any creative activity you enjoy for “painted”
A Rose By Any Other Name — acrylic on canvas, 250 x 250 mm, 2019. Available.
“God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen.”
‘A Note on God’ by Michael Leunig
Way back in December 2009, I reinvented myself and became an artist. It has taken quite a bit of practice to be able to say that without giggling or feeling self-conscious. Some days I revert to describing myself as a painter or a graphic designer, but the good days find me happy to tell it like it is. I still remember discovering Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License: Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are ~ I bought a journal and a nice black ink pen and have never looked back. Well, obviously I’m looking back now… but you know what I mean.