The Ebb and Flow of Creativity

The Moon

Emerging from the deep waters of illumination and creativity to trip head over heels into a heap of laundry, a pile of receipts that need to be filed and a dozen and one other day-to-day tasks that I need to catch up with.

It's the ebb and flow of creativity. It's creating from the heart. It's passion. It's believing in what you do. Because there's nothing routine about passion. There are no limits to illumination. There is nothing calculated about intuition. There's nothing moderate about zeal, and desire is not halfhearted.

If you want passion in your life, you have to let the idea of balance take on a different, more long term role. It's not the same sort of balance as the kind you can get in times when your days can be measured and divided up into sensible amounts of time spent in a variety reasonable areas. In times of passion, it's ebb and flow. It's a leap of faith. A deep sense of purpose.

The September Shift

iPhone photography: birch tree and lights    

iPhone photography: birch tree and lights


First the squirrels chase each other across the oak tree and then the pigeons arrive. It's the acorns. It's the end of summer. The scent of apples. A kind of clarity in the air. The last night the party lights are strung up under the birch tree. Harvest time and a shift to a different pace. 

And I'm not painting, which is what I really should be doing in my spare time. Instead I busy myself with things that seem important, or that seem fulfilling but that leave that slight feeling of unease or dissatisfaction... You know that feeling one can get after having indulged in fast food? It kind of wasn't worth it? Busy work. The kind of work that seems productive, but actually just keeps you occupied. (Is it just me or does this happen to you too?)

So I wrote a list of what I need to balance and prioritise in the area of art and design.

  • paint
  • redesign my website (like disappearing down the rabbit hole?)
  • design skins for iPhones and put them up for sale in my shop
  • make an illustrated recipe book or perhaps prints with recipes ("Studio Cooking" perhaps? Quick, fun and easy both for a budget with the odd party thrown in. What do you think?)
  • prepare some new super inspiring interviews with creatives for your reading pleasure
  • open life drawing programmes start soon. I'll be going to draw dancers in motion at the Museum of Dance and perhaps try a new one for the regular life drawing.
  • website maintenance (yawn, and also another rabbit hole)
  • make pixel art mini posters with Hype Hair designs
  • write a micro magazine for members of Club Marmalade Moon. (The next issue will come with a pre-release of a new collection of Vintage Folder Icons)
  • did I mention painting?

Lets see if writing this list puts things into perspective for me and gives you an idea of some of the things you can expect here at Marmalade Moon this autumn. What's your autumn looking like? Got that back to school feeling of energy and clarity? Fresh beginnings? New projects on the go? Or still muddled up like me, with more ideas than time?

Refocusing Creative Life

iPhone Photography: the first winter day

iPhone Photography: the first winter day

Do you feel a need for reflection at this time of year? In between the energising summer and the comforting winter holidays? Before the bustle of holiday preparations and the blank page of a new year?

I do. It's so easy to get caught up in the bustle of everyday chores, and lose sight of the big picture. This feels like a good time to assess what's been working and what hasn't. I'd like to let go of the baggage of the past and be ready for a new beginning. Ease myself into Christmas and find a focus for next year.

My theme for this autumn has been to reevaluate my expenses, energy and time. I seem to constantly be pruning and reinventing my digital life. Reducing stress, clutter, noise to support focus and creative space. This autumn I’ve reclaimed a surprising amount of time, focus and money by cutting back on online activities, subscriptions and participation in various online forums, challenges, blogs, e-courses, business books and so on, in favour of focusing more on being in the present, spending time with family and friends and exploring opportunities of the offline world. So far I’ve:

  1. Taken a course in “Discovering and Creating Patterns” at the National Gallery of my hometown.
  2. Applied for an artist’s grant to go to Paris for a month! (cross your fingers!)
  3. Set aside Friday afternoons in the studio for spontaneous, playful explorations in different media with a focus on letting go of expectations. It's been wonderful to create a space for my own creativity (aside from client work) and to treat that time with the same respect as I would if it was a course or a meeting with other people.

I thought about what I'd like to focus on during the end of the year, and jotted down my thoughts with pen and paper:

  1. A time to commit to your art and illuminate the skills and resources that nurture your talents. Build a stronger foundation.
  2. Inner wealth.
  3. Look at different ways of generating an income.
  4. Keep it simple. Sensuality. Slow life. The cozy comforts of home.
  5. Bloom where you're planted. Sink in where you are, a path to creativity.

What are your reflections for the end of winter? How has your autumn been? Do you like to refocus and reassess now and then?