Sunday, 21 August 2011

Creativity Time!

I went to visit my friend, the artist Jeanette House.

Jeanette has a whole room dedicated to the pursuit of her profession. It's a treasure trove of materials and resources - fabrics, paint, canvasses, card, beads, collage materials, books, pens, tools, a sewing machine, a drawing board, stencils ... oh, I don't even know the names of some of the things she had in there!

Jeanette is a prolific and accomplished art journaler. This term is not to be confused with "art journalist", which is something entirely different. Jeanette and I had a conversation to help me find a definition for art journaling that I, a writer and musician, would understand. Art journaling is like writing one's Morning Pages, but with colours and collage too. Effy Wild at Wild Precious Studios called it "Art's version of improvised jazz." And I got that.

"You HAVE to try this!" said Jeanette, her pot lid rattling with the barely-contained steam of enthusiasm. She put a pinny on me (no. Photos do not exist of this.) and sat me next to her. She began thrusting paints and gessos and inks and brushes and pens into my hands one after the other, explaining their properties and functions to me as she went. I felt utterly out of my depth. It took me quite some time to figure out why: after all, I had everything I needed. I was sat next to an expert.  The room was warm and bright and comfortable and safe. I was well equipped and supported by a woman I have known for (mumble-mumble) years - she and I used to sit together in our O-level art class. But in spite of everything seeming to be perfectly aligned for me, at the end of 40 minutes or so of 'happy splashing',  Jeanette had this:

"Freestyling: 'Swircles'" by Jeanette House.
- and I had THIS:

"Um ... er, yes." By Laura Cousins.

So what exactly had been missing from my experience? TIME!

We were pressed for time, you see. I had to be back in Bournemouth for three p.m. This knowledge was holding me back, preventing me from appreciating the array of materials at my fingers. I hadn't time to play with everything. Play is how we discover how to use tools for creativity.

I explained all this to Jeanette. "It's like I plonked you down in front of a piano, or a great selection of instruments, and then didn't give you enough time to figure out what to do with them."

The beauty of a Bournemouth Creative Break is that you have the whole weekend to get to grips with the creative tools you are interested in, plus a well qualified and enthusiastic facilitator. You don't need to worry about food, or work, or the phone interrupting you, or the telly being up too loud, or the dogs needing walking.

Details of the next Bournemouth Creative Break are soon to be released! Register your interest now by contacting the Arlington Hotel.


  1. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. You have a great foundation begun...practice WILL make perfect! I love the colors and the beginning textures. As you layer more, it will seem like you completed a more complicated "jazz song"!!! ;)