Doing. Not dreaming of doing.

I was in Eckersleys Arts & Crafts store last week. Not really news, I know. It is one of my favourite places! This time I did really have a reason to be there. I actually did have something I needed to buy. I can’t say that is always the case. I pop in there more times than I’d like to admit to see what new bits and pieces I might be able to pick up, always with the dream of finding the new tool that will turn me into an artist!

Then yesterday I visited our new Ikea store in Canberra (and I did have a valid reason for being there too!). Wandering through Ikea, following the arrows of course, I could dream about the possibilities it evoked. I could have a beautiful, clutter-free home. I could be super organised. I could bake exquisitely presented treats. You know those dreams. I was also paying close attention to the surface and fabric design – as, naturally, I’m fond of doing.

Geometric fabric design loveliness at Ikea
Geometric fabric design loveliness at Ikea

During both of these excursions I actually pondered on the truth of the matter. I could spend my time (and money) in Eckersleys and Ikea or I could be at home working on an actual project that would make my home beautiful, my drawing better and my baked treats more attractive. I could be coming up with more of my own fabric designs. The truth is that I can buy as many art supplies as my budget allows – and then some – but without practice my skills are not going to get any better. And without putting the time in, my projects are not going to finish themselves.

You know that I value creativity. And I am so lucky now to have a creative job. But do I find time every day to be creative? Do I practice my drawing as much as I want to? That would be a big, fat NO!

Realising this, particularly the drawing part, a few weeks ago, I booked myself into a Painting and Drawing class. A birthday present to myself. The discipline of attending a class weekly (if only for 7 weeks) will hopefully give me a good push. Not to mention, I will also learn some new skills! I’m looking forward to doing some painting for the first time in years. I had my first class yesterday and it was so lovely to sit and play with my art for three hours with like-minded people. Doing. Not dreaming of doing.

A tiny snippet of my drawing yesterday which will be worked into a bigger project
A tiny snippet of my drawing yesterday which will be worked into a bigger project

It is elusive, isn’t it? Finding the time to do the things we want to do as well as the things we have to do. And there are also the things we should do – exercise for example. That’s a lot of ‘things’ to fit into our finite time. It has got me thinking about what I could do less of to make more time for the things that might not be as pressing but are still important. The things that make life more joyful and less of a drudge. The things that fill me up rather than the things that empty me.

The obvious one for me is the time I spend on my iPad mindlessly switching between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – oh, and maybe throwing in a game of 7 Little Words (Candy Crush Saga isn’t my thing, although Qwirkle was for quite a while). Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place and I enjoy it but it is such an easy go-to when I’m feeling tired and a bit brain dead. For others television plays the same role.

I find drawing can be quite meditative though. (I even discovered something called a Zentangle the other day – they have probably been around for years and I’m just slow to the party. Wouldn’t be the first time!). Perhaps reaching for my sketchbook instead of the iPad would be a wiser thing to do all round. I find myself thinking “I don’t have time now to start on X”. I’ve finally got the kids in bed (and they have stopped calling out for room service), the kitchen is cleaned up, the dog is fed. And it is 9.30pm. Not time to get stuck into a big project. True. But twenty minutes of doodling, that could be just what my brain needs – with no blue light involved.

Not strictly a 'zentangle' but a doodle on this idea
Not strictly a ‘zentangle’ but a my doodle in a similar vein

Sure, large chunks of time to work on the big ideas is wonderful but, I don’t know about you, for me it just isn’t realistic in my daily life. A three hour art class yesterday was such a treat (and I’m not going to say guilty pleasure – I will not feel guilty about it!) but that is not something that is possible every day. A fifteen minute date with my art journal though. That I might be able to manage.

I’d love to hear how you fit creativity into your life. What are your tips for making time for the important but non-pressing things?

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