Logo Logic: Breathing Space

I began this series explaining how my long-standing self-doubt almost triggered creative freeze.

The leap from brief to beginning can be huge, ginormous, even.  I might pretend I’m researching a project, kidding myself that this constitutes Step 1 when I’m really hunting hypotheses instead of conducting the experiment.  However, when I feel my faith resurface, the leap to Step 2 can be sooooo much easier.

With this particular project, once I’d got the creative cogs turning in my brain my journey looked a little more achievable.  And researching the topic of diversity and inclusion rather than the logo design process was a better use of my time.

I spent four nights working on my idea, fiddling with it to make sure it was just right.  But even after I’d entered it into the competition I continued to worry about it, and sought the opinion of others.  Past experience left me doubting my own judgement, and I was back in limbo.  Now I’ve had a chance to step back from it I can celebrate making a start and finishing it too.  Whether or not I won isn’t so important.

Lesson 2: Give yourself and your creative project space to breathe, from beginning to end.  You’ll learn to trust your own judgement rather than relying on the opinions of others.

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Logo Logic: Creative Freeze

I’ve just spent the best part of a week wondering whether my outside-the-box logo design was a winner, having entered a staff competition to design one for my employer’s Diversity and Inclusion network.  The winner should have been announced on Friday, but wasn’t.

At this point I feel like I’m in limbo, unwilling to move onto another project and so facing another pause in my prolific creativeness.  On the flip side, this is a great time to reflect on what I’m feeling and where I go from here, and I’ll write about these insights over the next few posts.

Most work competitions involve a quiz or a guess the quantity of something, so a logo challenge excited me, closely followed by my well-rehearsed feelings of self-doubt – “five days isn’t long enough / what am I going to do? / will anyone like it? / my last one was terrible…” and so on.

When I was 15 I designed the winning logo for a local charity competition, and received lots of publicity, with my photo in the local press, and an interview on local radio.  I even met charity patron Kathy Botham (wife of Ian), and the Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, who was appearing at the local theatre.  I’d won prizes in several school art competitions before and after then, and decided my future was in art.  However, another attempt at logo design was disastrous, prompting my sixth form art teacher to suggest I specialise in fine art instead of graphics.  It felt like I’d gone over the highest peak of my artistic potential and had started the slow descent.

You can imagine why it’s often easier to walk away from a challenge, if only to quieten the critical conversation you’re having in your head.  But I didn’t want to make up a pitiful excuse for not bothering (“my colleagues know I’m creative, they’ll expect me to enter”).  My only choice was to try.

Lesson 1: Acknowledge your fear, and coax it forward, or it will hold you back.

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Dream Believer (2)

Have you ever asked the universe for advice, or taken guidance from a dream?

It’s not something I’d ever thought of doing until I learned that ‘it’ had guided successful watercolourist Anna Mason back into art after a long hiatus.  And last week I justified my own reasons for asking for myself.

I was sceptical at first, conscious that I might inadvertently seek out the ‘answers’ I was hoping for.  But with nothing to lose, on two consecutive nights I asked the universe to shine a light on my future path.  And on two consecutive days, it did.

For example, on day one, the model for my weekly life-drawing class was the life-model I drew at art college over ten years’ ago, but haven’t seen since.  Maybe it was just a coincidence.  Yet it was the first time he’d been booked by that class, and I myself had missed loads of them (including the previous three weeks).  There were other hints, and I’m still receiving encouragement.  However, they all were, and still are, pointing me in the same direction.  And who am I to argue with the universe?

It seems I am on the right path, but I may need to adjust my compass.

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Dream Believer (1)

Have you ever asked the universe for advice, or taken guidance from a dream?

You know when you get that niggly feeling in the back of your mind, wondering whether you made a mistake taking art at college instead of physics, or some other ‘sensible’ subject, but no-one had a crystal ball so you had to go with your gut feelings at the time, and now your gut isn’t playing the same symphony that was so familiar to your younger self, and you look back and try to remember when it happened, whatever it was that happened, when you weren’t so sure anymore, when you just wanted to know if you made the right decision, only now you’re on a precipice and you have to choose your next move.

With my studio and its contents almost settled, I really needed to know whether I was pursuing the correct path.  I mean, you don’t have to be a creative to be creative, but you need to know which it should be.  So, I decided to ask the universe for guidance.  And it (kind of) replied…

WordPress prompt: Precipice

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From Chaos to Calm

Three things I’ve learned this week:

  • Feng Shui helps you plan your creative space more creatively
  • Decluttering is much easier when you take things out of context
  • Completely rethinking how you use large and small spaces is re-energising

Over the last two weeks I have rearranged my studio space twice.  Well, most of it.

I hadn’t stepped into my studio for weeks, except to open/close the curtains and dump stuff on my desk, and I didn’t have the energy or drive to do anything about it.  My headspace felt cluttered too, and I started to question what life would feel like if I gave up my art altogether.

Then this blog post from Anna Mason popped into my inbox. And a little research into Feng Shui for creative spaces took me to this gem of a post on Rogue Habits.  It’s a work in progress, but here’s my new studio layout:

Studio Calm

I was unsure about pushing my desk up to a wall, but the move to Abundance and Prosperity promised more of an adventure than infinite self-discovery in Wisdom and Self-Awareness.  Plus, the view of our back garden was a distraction when my desk was in the middle of the floor.  I’m now sitting in the most Eastern (and auspicious) point of our home, and there’s a mirror on my desk so I can see opportunity (and Mr C) approach.  There’s still lots of clutter to deal with (currently residing in our living room) but I’m already feeling brighter and creative ideas keep popping into my head.

I’m still not sure whether I believe in Feng Shui, but if it works, who am I to judge?

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