Side Effects

“When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”

James Clear – Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

With yet another turn of the calendar there aren’t many weeks left in 2017.  17 in fact.  That’s 17 fresh starts.  Or 17 opportunities to choose, act, repeat, if you’re developing a new weekly habit.

And I am.

Every week, I intend to complete one ‘sewing’ task.  They will vary in magnitude, and distance from my current comfort zone.  But by the end of the year I should have 17 more items to wear, and a new set of sewing skills under my belt.  But it’s okay if I only complete one.  As long as I turn up for weekly practice.

Oddly, I feel more comfortable problem-solving with fabric and trying out new (and often complex) sewing techniques, than I am drawing with pencil on paper.  Yet there’s more at stake.  Maybe it’s the way I’m looking at things; I’ll be asking myself about that while I’m mindfully sewing.

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Small Packages of Joy

Sometimes it’s the small things that have the biggest impact.

A few weeks’ ago I rearranged my sock and undies drawers, having borrowed Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy from my local library.  The title intrigued me.  And The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up (also by Kondo) was on loan.

In summary, you decide what to keep, rather than what to part with; then store it away neatly in little rolls or packages of joy.  In my opinion (and depending on the garment), a few choice folds works fine, but if you have time to roll, roll away.  Nevertheless arranging them upright and by colour is genius, and a delight to look at.

Now that the inhabitants of my small items drawers are easy to see and select, I’m more thoughtful about what I wear every day.  Not only have I discovered that I own more pairs of opaque purple tights than I thought I did, my confidence has had an unexpected boost, as has my creative energy.

WordPress Prompt: Inhabit

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Are You Ready to Jump?

“There’s only so much you can learn in one place.  The more that you wait, the more time that you waste.”

Jump by Madonna, Confessions on a Dancefloor

How do you make a decision when you’re indecisive?

Christmas Eve last year, I started a blog. I’d spent months brainstorming names, had my first post written, and a handful of ideas for a few more.  So, I signed up to WordPress, published my thoughts, and duly froze.

I began this New Year in a similar fashion. I had a motley list of creative and developmental goals, and my dormant blog was to be my accountability tool.  But I wasn’t sure I was jumping in the right direction, so my goals got pushed aside until I was ready to move on.

Three months later, I launched Filbert and Smudge. This time I had a clearer purpose for my writing, and fewer less-ambitious goals; just two in fact.  Now I’ve reached the six-month marker for Filbert and Smudge, I’ve been pondering what I really want to accomplish as a “prolific creative”.  This thought has surfaced as I reach Week 9 of the Colette Wardrobe Architect: The Capsule Wardrobe.  The first eight challenges focused on the analysis of evidence.  Facts.  Easy.  But now decisions need to be made, and I feel I’ve reached the same point on my creative path.

I think I’m ready to jump, but first I have to decide on the direction.

WordPress prompt: Jump

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Recharging with Charcoal

Several things I’ve learned this week:

  • You need a good supply of neutrals in your wardrobe to make getting dressed a breeze.
  • Changing your medium can recharge you.
  • Watercolour paper is no good for a charcoal drawing.
  • Autumn is a great time to update your art materials, thanks to Back to School offers.
  • Pencil erasers are great for drawing into charcoal.
  • I don’t know how to draw.

The last one isn’t exactly true, but I’ll write about that soon.

In the meantime, I’m entering the Art Prof September Art Dare, where visual artist and RISD adjunct professor Clara Lieu is challenging people of all ages and artistic abilities to draw a self-portrait in charcoal for a chance to win a prize.  You can read more about the drawing challenge here, and I’ll be posting my final drawing before the deadline on 30 September 2016.  For now, here are my thumbnail sketches and work in progress photos.

Clara and team have put together some helpful charcoal portrait demonstration videos on their YouTube channel, and there’s some useful information on her blog, too.

I hope to see you there!

WordPress prompt: Recharge

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Art Mimics Life

I’ve unearthed my past, defined my core, explored individual shapes, and constructed silhouettes… all completed in order to overhaul my wardrobe. Developing a colour story is next, and this palette courtesy of The Designers Co-op (found via Colette WA week 5) is quite perfect for me.

As I work through the Colette Wardrobe Architect weekly prompts there is an obvious chasm between the person I would like to be and the person I actually portray.  Last time I asked myself whether my stagnation was due to fear, laziness, impatience or boredom, I was considering my recent drawing output.  The truth is I believe my identity as an artist/illustrator is tied into my personal image, so I need to consider the question again so I can understand the solution.

When I’m working from home, I’m conscious that I dress for quickness, comfort and practicality. I suppose I take a similar approach to my artwork.  I default to what I know, what I’m used to.  A familiar approach achieves a familiar outcome.  I fear regret, but I am also impatient – I want things to be accomplished before they’re even started.  Ridiculous, I know!  And maybe we should throw boredom in there too, just for fun.  If I default to the familiar, the boring stuff, I don’t have to acknowledge it, so I can perform in autopilot.  Not lazy, but the other three apply.

There’s an obvious solution to my fear, impatience and boredom, and it’s defined by architecture.

WordPress Prompt: Obvious

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