Creativity – Use it or lose it….

I attended a gathering this week where I was asked what kind of art I made.    This is a loaded question and one I often find difficult to answer.       I said I love colour and believe that the creative process in all its forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.      I was then asked if I thought everyone had a desire to create.   My answer was a resounding – yes.

This years visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. 6ABA8BCB-D0B8-40B2-859B-17819F7B2564After returning home I thought more about my response.

Our inborn creativity has to be nurtured in the same way that we care for our minds and bodies.      For example, if we allowed one of our limbs to shrivel and atrophy  – we would always be aware of the many things we might have done with the full use of that limb.       It is much the same with creativity.     Not to use it in one form or another, brings frustration often accompanied by a sense of loss.   A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify.     Use it or lose it really does apply. 

Jayanthi Rani at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 20-11-15 - 1 (1131)This beautiful watercolour was painted by Jayanthi Rani who I met five years ago when she came to my painting course in Portugal….and since then it has been my great privilege to watch her work blossom and grow.       You can see more of Jayanthi’s work on her FB page. 25FD0122-DEE0-4FCF-A3C4-22A8C3D69E8AIt seems to me that as we try to fill the ever widening holes within as our collective senses are being deadened through the over use of technology, our frustration levels grow and the need for a creative outlet even more acute.

 

Nurturing my little cottage garden in Wales from a barren, fallow patch, was a creative project I loved.       til August 10 1037Cooking, sewing, knitting, writing, dance, music – I could go on and on.     When I observe people using a myriad of creative disciplines – I see people who in that moment feel a sense of contentment and wellbeing.

I am off to Crickhowell, Wales (AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon) on Monday and will hopefully return with lots of new ideas and sketches.

For now I leave you with a happy moment from last year along with a watercolour of the beautiful Use Valley.

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A Bientôt

How Creators Benefit from Teachers

Another superb post from David Rogers – reminding us all of the importance of good and inspirational teachers. David’s posts always re-awaken in me thoughts and ideas…..which are is all part of the never ending learning experience of life and the creative process……Janet

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Colorful abstract paintingIn college I had a brilliant professor of creative writing–he was dazzling. After class one day I said to him, “You know everything about literature and writing. Your analysis of works is something to behold, and you’re able to tell students how specifically to improve their work. But as far as I can tell you’ve never produced any creative writing yourself. Have you?

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have no talent.”

He didn’t have the talent his students did have, but his students didn’t have the knowledge he had, and that’s what we were there to acquire so we would have both talent and knowledge.

A painter will not automatically improve her performance by painting more. A writer’s performance won’t improve simply by further writing. To ratchet up their performance they will have to make changes designed specifically to develop it to a higher level. One major change is to…

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Here’s To Strong Women…..and Magical hummingbirds……

Here’s to strong women.   May we know them.   May we be them.  May we raise them.

My Grandmother – Agatha Bowyer Griffiths – 1885-1972

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It’s been quite a tumultuous time within my own personal sphere.    Having buried my Mother last December, – my dear Aunt Peggy moved on to be with the magical hummingbirds this month.     Her funeral last Thursday was a celebration of her remarkable life.       I have also lost two other friends……………all of which has caused much reflection.

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Our time on this precious planet is fleeting. – we must never forget this.

Having waded through all the bureaucracy which occurs at these times, I know that ‘this too shall pass……’ – and the magical hummingbirds will continue to drink from the sweet nectar of life  🙂

My Daughter – Christie Griffiths Reed  born 1975 –  Taking part in a Triathlon – Massachusetts, USA

1936994_160987251067_1030955_nI posted these two photographs of my wonderful Grandmother and her Great Granddaughter, my daughter, because they show so clearly that within a relatively short period of time…..how our world has changed.     How the lives of women have changed…..

My Grandmother, born before the two Great Wars….served in WW1 as a VAD nurse, – it is also during that war she met my grandfather,     Between the wars, she had four children, and was involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the UK.

Her daughters, my Mother and Aunt – served during WW11 both in the VAD as nurses.      One son was an army man and the other on the Russian Convoys.

I was most fortunate to have her in my life until 1972.     I was able to spend much meaningful time with her, for which I will be forever grateful.        I gave Christie her middle name after my Grandmother.

A magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life……………………..20-11-15 - 1 (1094)When I went through my Aunt’s papers, I was delighted to find that her passport only expired last year – which means that she renewed it when she was 86.     She also volunteered helping ‘old people’ when she was in her eighties and early nineties.     What an inspiration.

It is the influence of these women, including my daughter,  that has given me courage to move forward when times haven’t always been easy – and I know that they will be there for me until I move onto the next adventure……..

I read this somewhere, and believe it to be true.    The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom.    20-11-15 - 1 (1129)

During the last couple of months, I have made sure to paint every day and have filled two big sketch books…..There is nothing more therapeutic 🙂

It will take a while before I get into a flow.      I plan to catch up with comments etc. over the next two weeks and then I go to The Magical Town of Crickadoon for some R & R and of course painting.

And so my friends, I will now move forward with a sense of purpose and joy.

A Bientôt

 

Remain in the simplicity of the present moment.

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts.   What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future?   Remain in the simplicity of the present moment….From the book Buddhist Offerings 

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During the past few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of remaining in the simplicity of the present moment.

My Aunt Peggy was one of those people who seemingly always lived this way.      Recently, aged 97 and receiving hospice care, she succumbed and passed on.      Given that I am her only surviving relative, I am currently involved in organising her funeral which means I will be away from here for a while longer.

Aunt Peggy as a young woman. til August 10 151I have been surrounded with strong, and unusual woman all my life – from my Grandmothers, to my Mother and Aunt Peggy.

Peggy had a great influence on my life.    When I was just three years old and visiting my Grandmother in London, I saw one of Peggy’s sketch books, and it was at that moment that I knew I would be an artist.

I never heard her complain or say anything negative about others.    She always encouraged me.      I feel blessed to have had her in my life.

Peggy at 96P1140070 Nearly ten years ago, Peggy lost her only son, my cousin James – aged 57….and although I know it hurt her terribly she never complained.      Although Peggy was not a religious woman in the conventional sense, she was deeply spiritual and believed that eventually she and James would be reunited…..

I anticipate being away from here for the next two weeks at least…..and during that time, I plan to surround myself and Peggy with magical hummingbirds…..She would like that:)20-11-15-1-71A Benton

Imagine being a flower

Watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (1069)“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind.    The real you is loving, joyful, and free.    The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”     Don Miguel Ruiz

A Bientôt