Given The Chance

Strey creativity has taken an interesting turn in the past couple of weeks. This could be put down to astrology, numerology, or the new cookies & cream Kit Kat – which has nothin on the dark chocolate Kit Kat they recently discontinued (bring it back, please!!)
Whatever the case, there’s been a lot more arty-experimenting and a lot less writing.

Alright, so the real reason is that I spotted a long-held dream on the horizon.
It’s one of those dreams I thought had run so far away that I’d never catch it. You know the kind, an idea or intention you might secretly hold because it’s unimpressive to those around you? Or you feel it’s unreachable because you’ve built barriers out of as many excuses as you can find, over many years of telling yourself you can’t/shouldn’t/better not.
You both go into hiding – the dream scampers off into hills and valleys far away, while you stay in the city of distraction.
Time passes.

Then one day, somehow, life conspires to reintroduce dream and dreamer once more.

And so it was with me recently. A friend who I hadn’t talked to in ages sent me a link for a publisher that’s opening up for new illustrators and writers until the end of Feb. She knew about my illustrator dream from a few years back, and thought she’d pass the info along in case I was interested.

I picture my expression as something like this:

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Something encompassing surprise, joy, excitement, fear, and doubt. (While surrounded by the mess of everything else.)
I’d already started considering other little artsy opportunities here and there, and subsequently started experimenting.

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But this suggested a whole new level – a style, a professional finish, and a portfolio of work.

Am I ready for this?
Where do I start?
Is there enough time?

The questions tease me while I launch into a new round of scribbling and pushing myself to expand in style and experience. I’m still very much in the thick of this space now. It’s that age-old wrestle with self about worthiness, avoiding comparing yourself with others and, at the heart of it, just taking that courageous step and saying Yes to your dream. There’s that feeling that if I don’t try, I’ll regret it. Even if it goes nowhere for now.
So my awareness of time is a little more heightened while I decide just what I’ll do (while squeezing in as many creative hours as I can!) What’s the minimum I’ll need to submit? What skills will I showcase? Does it matter that I’m self-taught?
And can I fit in this chance for Dream Career #1 while I’m living and getting deeper into Dream Career #2 (which is veeeeery different)?

Can you live 2 Dreams at once?
I sure hope so.

A thought came to me while scribbling the other night, kind of in response to a lot of the motivational quotes you see talking about ‘chasing’ your dreams.

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Maybe the ‘chase’ is what makes it run away.
What if we simply relaxed & had fun along the way? Took the pressure off ourselves? We might find that one day, much sooner than we’d ever thought, we not only ‘catch’ our dream, but we’re already living and enjoying it.

Well, for now, I have a week. We’ll see what happens 😉

Building Blocks for Creativity

No, really.
Look at them. A whole basket full of fun. Thank you, local church op shop for this fantastic $4 find. (And you should have seen their excitement that someone was taking this stuff off their hands! Almost too excited…)
So here they are.

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(WTF do I do now? Where did those glorious artistic visions go? Where’s that meteor shower of ideas that burst through my mind when I was considering buying this pile of rejected wood!?)
Well, I guess I could – oh, hey Arbie.

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Trust you to come out of the proverbial woodwork to check out the literal woodwork. Don’t you go making any webs tho…
Now, where there’s an Arbie, there’s bound to be a Nut close by…

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Yep. There he is.
Alright, jump in. Let’s have a look at these outside.

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Having fun?

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Well it looks like Arbie’s got dibs on the treasure chest.
Ok what else have we got?

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Squares, rectangles, cylinders, curvy bits. All with nicely finished edges. Dunno what they were for in their past life. Roads for toy cars? Basic building blocks? (At least I had different coloured ones as a kid.) Maybe just off cuts? (Though the neat edges suggest otherwise.)

Hmmm…

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WTF is this?

That’s clearly a ring-in. Might just toss it aside coz I don’t think I’ll be using it.

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Now, how many of each of these do we – oh.

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Thanks, Nut.
I guess you’ve found the piece you want then. Jolly good.

[45mins later.] Do dogs never tire of this game?!

Right, well, I’d say I’ve got a pretty good stash for some alternative rustic wood signs. Yes, I know I’m still finishing the others I started months ago – stop judging me! The stars weren’t aligned, ok?
They mustn’t be quite aligned yet either coz otherwise this morning’s coat of varnish wouldn’t have stuck to the newspaper causing an emergency sand-and-patch up job!
Phew.

Anyway, here’s my first experiment with ink and acrylic (see below). Ink, my recently discovered BFF, decided to bleed on this particular surface, I noticed with horror. (Sorry ink, no longer BFF.) So I turned to my old faithful mate, acrylic paint.
It was getting rather late, so under the influence of chocolate I eventually got it to a look I was happy with. (Couldn’t leave it in its current mess, midnight or no midnight.) This was despite the Blue having gone to shit in its tube as well. I shook it and though, ‘allo, that’s not right…’ Paint should never sound like a Milo milkshake being made.
But, improviser that I am, I made it mix, so this little strey character got her blue tunic after all. (Thus far I’ve only sketched these little characters I call ‘streys’, so this was a double experiment of painting surface and ‘colouring in’ with paint!)

One more swoop with the black ink gets us to… A happy place 🙂

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So the verdict? I think there’s much fun to be had with this lot. And moving out of your comfort zone is good for the creative soul too.
Often the most rewarding projects are the ones where you’re forced to rescue or innovate or think quick because the materials don’t behave according to your neat, ideal plan. I’d call that a real ‘building block’ to creativity. What can you do when things go wrong or play unexpected games with you?

And a funny thing happens when you resign yourself to a project being ‘stuffed’. Suddenly you free yourself to experiment, coz ‘it’s messed up anyway’, so you take more risks. You extend your skills. You grow. You learn. And hopefully you become a better artist because of it.
In other words, never give up. 😉

Happy creating!

For more Nut & Arbie fun, check out their blog here: http://www.nutandarbie.wordpress.com