Experiencing blocks is all part of the creative process….In this latest post from David Rogers you will find some very helpful tips on to how to move through these times. Janet
“Time is free, but it is priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you have lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey Mackay.
Having just celebrated another birthday, I am only too aware of the rapid movement of time and how precious every moment is.
Flowers from an English country garden. A beautiful moment in time. When I sit observing Mother Nature’s bounty, I am reminded that all of life is fragile and temporary. A flower in full bloom reminds me that beauty is a fleeting and enjoyable event, however it is the full evolution of a plant that teaches us so much more.
watercolourAs Charles Darwin said – ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent – it is the one that is most adaptable to change’
This is possibly one of the many reasons that I am so attracted to the hummingbird. The Hummingbird goes into a deep torpor during the cold nights – a death like sleep where the little creature lowers its metabolic rate by as much as 95%. As the warm sun rises, so does the metabolic rate of the hummingbird. The tiny bird awakens from this state with enough energy reserves to see it through the first feedings of the morning. The hummingbird’s circadian clock triggers its time of arousal, one or two hours before dawn.
watercolour/gouacheCircadian rhythms are found in human beings and most living things, responding primarily to light and darkness in the environment. However in today’s 24/7 techno charged world where time zones are crossed without even a thought and light pollution prevails around major cities, we humans seem to have lost track of the natural rhythms of life. Our time clocks are out of alignment .
watercolourIs it any wonder then, that so many are feeling stress and an inability to slow down and relax? Is it any wonder that many young children who are glued to screens, often in their bedrooms, never feel at rest?
Potting plants in a Somerset garden From Marcus Aurelius – ‘Time is a river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.’
All of which convinces me how important it is to make the very best of every moment we have, because once that moments gone, it will never return.
A Bientôt http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk
Like a flying jewel, the hummingbird darts lightly through the world, teaching us to appreciate the wonder and magic of every day existence……….
How does the creative process work?
Initially the seed of an idea is sewn.
The seed then enters into an incubation period which can be short lived, or take years to come to fruition.
The seed of an idea As we go about our daily lives, just like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle being revealed, the seed sprouts ideas that give us more information…..This can happen at any time.
It’s vital to record these ideas, because even when we think we couldn’t possibly forget a moment of inspiration……we can, and do, which is why it’s important to always have a sketch/notebook at hand.
Like a ghostly apparition sometimes the answer seems almost within reach – but then it disappears and returns to incubation….it was just a glimpse of what might be.
Ultimately we hope to experience the ‘Ah Ha’ moment. That exquisite time when the completed jigsaw puzzle is revealed in our mind’s eye……At this point, we can see and feel the rhythms and flow of the concept. Finer details are revealed as we commence work.The more we exercise and practise our creative thinking, regardless of what discipline we are involved in, the easier and more fluent this process will become. Playing is a key element in revealing vital clues.
watercolour/gouacheThe human world is filled with turbulence, however if we spread our wings like the magical hummingbird and soar above it all – I believe that we open up the channels of creative possibilities hidden within each one of us.
Another superb post from David Rogers. I believe this is a post that all creatives would do well to read and digest. Wishing one and all a very creative day. Janet
Whether they are five or seventy-five, beginning creators don’t know the first thing about their craft, but don’t know they don’t know. They’re playing, experimenting, discovering, having fun, and are thrilled to be creating, and that’s enough. Then in time, if they are to become more skilled writers, artists, actors, dancers, and so forth, they will realize they don’t know enough about the craft they’ve now become attracted to more seriously.
They want to get better and be more accomplished and have success. So they strive to learn as much as they can about their craft. That drive to get better and better still, to find their one true voice that activates even their deepest creative potentials, to learn, to reach consistent excellence over a long period of time dominates true creators as long as they live.
The more skillfully advanced creators know a tremendous amount about their craft and…
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‘The cycle of light and dark, of planting and harvest, of leaves budding, opening and falling, is an ever-turning wheel that has no beginning and no end. It rolls through the seasons, changing the landscape, and influencing the things that we do and the way that we feel. Each time of the year is special, with its own particular feelings, smells and atmospheres – and, if we allow it, it’s effect on our lives……’ From the introduction of – Gail Duff’s book – The Wheel of the Wiccan Year.
The winter tradition of ice skating at Hampton Court Palace.
I enjoyed a very special and lovely holiday season. I spent it with my friends, Gail and Mick in their home in Kent. A home set in the middle of countryside in a place where one can still believe that life hasn’t changed too much.
We have known one another since starting school together at five years old….Mick and Gail married and have just celebrated their 50th anniversary.
We are all artists. Gail a writer, singer, song-writer – to name a few of her attributes and Mick a photographer, musician.
Gail Duff – WatercolourMick Duff – photographer, musician
I was invited to their annual Yule celebration on the 21st December – celebrating the winter solstice. A lovely event, considered to be one of the most joyful celebrations of the year.
In the evening, friends arrived bearing food and gifts. In their sitting room with the Christmas tree sparkling and candles ablaze there was a wonderfully festive feeling.
From Gail’s book – The Wheel of the Wican Year, we learn that Yule is the festival most rich in remembered tradition and ritual. In the early days of Christianity people were reluctant to give up their Pagan path and the Midwinter celebrations. It was therefore decided that the birth of Christ should be celebrated at the same time. This enabled the ritual dramas, songs and decorations to be be continued with Christian meaning.
rapid watercolour of their daughter Lucy with violin. For the first time in many years, I enjoyed carol singing. We went from house to house in one of the local villages and it was wonderful. I had forgotten how joyful an experience it is.
For Christmas day we enjoyed a Goose with all the trimmings – plus of course plum pudding and Christmas Cake – and it seems to me numerous mince pies and chocolate……This was followed by games and much laughter.
On Boxing Day (for the uninitiated the day after Christmas) we went to Leeds Castle, where we walked, communed with the swans, ducks and other birds, and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas trees throughout the castle.
Ducks in the moat diving for the seeds. Leeds Castle – during the Solstice – The mid winter atmosphere was perfect. Geese in a row – Leeds Castle KentDuring this period, I realised that in so many ways we have lost touch with the rhythms and magic of each season.
From a commercial stand point, the large corporations remind us constantly of the next holiday – prompting us to purchase all sorts of unnecessary stuff – which brings me to the big question. Our we still in touch with the emotional and physical effects on our lives that the different seasons bring?
A musical celebration in a local pub. A lovely way to spend a mid winter’s afternoon. Given the way we shop and live, we have come to believe that all fruits and vegetables are available at any time during the year.
In out techno charged world, there are many who have lost touch with the rhythms of our 24 hour day, let alone the seasons.
Our cities are flooded with artificial light, which disturbs our body clocks causing for many a lack of sleep and feelings of well being.
How different a place the world would have been for the people in this photograph which was hanging in the pub – and it wasn’t that long ago! All of this has brought to mind, the rapid and dramatic changes that have occurred for all of us during recent years.
For anyone interested in learning more about the natural rhythms and seasons of the year, I highly recommend Gail’s book ‘The Wheel of the Wiccan’. Through the book we can learn about the ancient traditions that brought us to the holidays we have today…..
There are some that might say ancient traditions are gone – and that we need to focus on the future.
These ancient traditions were put in place to protect our natural world and how we live in it and relate to it. I think it is of vital importance that we respect them.
Of course, I must close with magical hummingbirds…..a little bird that adheres to the ever changing seasons.
For all my friends during this holiday season.
“People say that what we’re all seeking is the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s what we’re seeking. I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell 1904-1987
watercolour/gouache – magical hummingbird I will be painting, writing, celebrating life and enjoying the company of dear friends during the next few weeks……
watercolourOnce again I have been reminded through the untimely death of a good friend of the importance of making the very best of every moment we have.
watercolourNot to put off what we really want to do….but rather to take on life’s new adventures with a sense of excitement.
watercolourNot to wait for the perfect time to do…
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The following is a true story about my Mother’s traditional English Christmas Cake…and how it saved my life and helped to sustain others….:and at the same time enhanced international relations………:)
In 1960 when I was 16 years old, my parents sent me to Holland for the summer. Travelling by ferry and train, I was to stay with friends who lived in the countryside outside of Eindhoven.
Before leaving my Mother made sure to pack some of her traditional Christmas Cake into my suitcase. No matter where I went this always happened. It was my Mother’s theory that if I got lost, or ran out of food, her cake would sustain me.
A traditional English Christmas Cake For those who are not familiar with traditional English Christmas Cakes – a little more information.
My Mother made the cake months before Christmas every year. All manner of fruits and spices were mixed and liberally doused with brandy in order to preserve the cake.
During the several month standing process the cake would be fed with more alcohol during two week intervals…..then wrapped in a cheese cloth and put into our north facing pantry to settle. About two weeks before Christmas the cake would be covered in marzipan along with a thick white icing resembling snow….and then Christmas decorations added.
Given that the cake was very rich….there was always quite a lot left over….plus my Mother would make two cakes at a time….leaving one un-iced, filled with booze, waiting for any natural or man made disasters to occur!After a wonderful summer in Holland…swimming in canals with local children, riding bicycles around the countryside – stopping at farms where we were given the most delicious fresh cheese and milk straight from the cow, and of course sketching…..even back then I carried a sketch book with me. Alas, it was time to return home.
This was the sort of canal we swam in…I was put on a train heading towards the Ferry port at Calais France.
I am not sure when I realised that something was wrong…..I suppose when I arrived in Germany!!
In those days it was quite normal for trains to split – one end gong to one country and the other to another, and this is what had happened. I got on the wrong end of the train.
This meant getting back on the right train, and then arriving at the Calais Ferry Terminal far too late to catch the ferry that my parents would be meeting me from at the Dover Ferry Terminal – which in turn meant a long wait.
And this is where Mother’s Traditional English Christmas Cake came into its own.
Calais France Ferry Terminal – just 29.4 miles from Dover UK. When I arrived at the Calais Terminal I joined many other young people from all around Europe sitting on the floor waiting for ferries.
Remember this was many years before fast food, mobile phones, and of course the Euro Star train.
I was hungry as were many of my fellow travellers. I removed the tin containing Mother’s English Christmas Cake from my suit case and shared it with young people from around Europe. The Christmas cake brought us together.
Ferry docking at Dover Ferry Terminal After docking at the Dover Ferry Terminal, I found a policeman waiting for me. Clearly alerts had been sent out…..
The policeman took me and a young German boy I had befriended to the Dover Police Station. There we were given a slap up breakfast while we waited for my parents to arrive. I had assured the German boy that my parents would give him a lift to Canterbury and then he could hitch hike on to London. The German boy and I kept in touch for many years.
So what’s the moral of this story?
Be Prepared and always carry extra food – especially traditional English Christmas Cake.
(I was reminded of my story when recently a 100 year old fruit cake was found in Antarctica – perfectly preserved. I rest my case. )
As always magical hummingbirds were with me – watercolour. I am away with good friends for the holidays which means that this will be my last post until the new year.
I wish everyone a beautiful holiday season filled with peace and love…..and of course magical hummingbirds. Janet