Creative meanderings and Happy New Year!

Winter Hearth

My creativity seems to be hibernating, perhaps it’s the cold and darkness; I always find my self wanting to curl into a dark warm nest at this time of year. I should love to write a long and entertaining post about the importance of giving yourself creative time off, but I’m  too busy curling up by the fire and reading  ‘Wintersmith’ by Terry Pratchett! This is one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, and like all books I love, I can read it again and again and find more and more depth and meaning each time I read it.

Yes, time to sit and dream, poke the slumbering fire and read good books is vital to replenishing creativity. I have always found fire to be restorative and nurturing, and never more so than in the deep dark of winter. Here in the North of Scotland there seems to be an awful lot of dark – the sun doesn’t manage to climb above the southern hills till after 8:00 in the morning and it’s away back down again by 3:30

It’s New Year’s Eve and the sun has gone down and the wind is blowing colder now, my little white Christmas lights are reflecting in the windows as the last of the light drains out of the day. I like to spend some time on New Year’s Eve musing about the past year and weighing up my progress against what I hoped it would be. The tally isn’t too bad this year, I have been pushing myself to grow and learn, trying to leave behind the patterns I have grown out of (or should have grown out of but haven’t!) and learning new tricks as I’m definitely not an old dog yet! As an artist one of the big challenges is organisation and orderliness, and although chaos runs rampant around me on my desk, I do at least know where most things actually are! I am gradually training myself into putting things back where they belong once I have finished with them – it makes life SO MUCH EASIER if tools and materials have a place to belong and are to be found in that place! I think that is my biggest New Year’s Resolution – try and be tidy, put things away! If there is too much chaos in my life I find it clogs my creativity, my joy and my motivation. It takes less time than one would think to put shoes away as you take them off, or put the pens back in their pot once you have finished drawing…. Yes I may wear them or use them tomorrow – or I may not! Either way it’s better now if they are where they belong.

My favourite walk is just two minutes’ stride from my studio

Another resolution – I am going to spend some time outside EVERY DAY. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, I need daylight and fresh air as much as I need to breathe. Some times I get so involved with creativity that I forget to stop and go for a little walk, rest my eyes on the green distances and MOVE! BREATHE! I need to look after my physical self – as I ask such a lot of my body it’s only fair to be a good owner. And after all, you only get one, it’s a precious resource. I have had a habit of ignoring it as much as possible and far more than is sensible – injuring my hands by continuing a job until it’s finished even though I have wrenched something badly; crouching over my work table with my nose 6 inches from what I am doing for so long that I can barely stand up once I have finished 3 or 4 hours later; forgetting to drink any water for a day or two then wondering why I have a head ache… Yes this year I need to learn to take care of my body or it will clap out on my well before I have finished with it! There are just so many interesting things to do that I want to keep my body in as good a working order as I can for as long as I can. I am aware that I want to learn and do more things than I can possibly fit into one life time as it is! This is such a wonderful world and there are so many exciting things to learn!

Now I am going to go and stoke the fire, mull some home made elderberry wine and fish out some bees wax to do an intriguing old bit of fortune telling with! At Midnight we will open all the doors to let the Old Year out and the New Year in – and so we will welcome 2012. I wish you a beautiful New Year yourself, and may it be a blessed and wondrous year for the whole world.

This is Craig Valley – Home – and I hope to re-visit this, my favourite place in the whole world in 2012

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