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Time and Tide…


….wait for no man.

Such a famous quote and so true - nothing is going to stop time moving on around us and life is so short.

I am a very impulsive person. I love nothing more than a very quick decision. My favourite sort of decision involves leaving the house and going out for an adventure or to visit a favourite place. I am good at ticking things off lists as I like getting things done. I’m always telling my children - sort that thing out now, while you think about it, then it’s done and you won’t have it nagging at the back of your mind.

So.

Why is it, then, that I seem to find everything and anything to do first, before I sit down to paint? I am excellent at procrastination when it comes to things that I am not keen on - exercise, for example - but why would I sabotage my creativity?

On reflection, there are a few things going on which I think a lot of people might relate to.

Firstly, creativity in itself is scary. You have to be very brave to make that first mark on a piece of paper, never mind the next 400 marks.

Before even beginning, for me, there is a tedious march through the past 1000 photos in my phone trying to find something I want to paint, or rather, something that fits the brief of whatever I have set myself to do. This can take weeks.

Bear in mind that in this scenario, no one has asked me to paint anything in particular. I just have things in my head that I think I must paint before a particular deadline…. putting pressure on myself, which I then mentally rebel against. I am fully aware that this is ridiculous, as I only have myself to answer to.

If I feel under any time pressure or not in the right mindset in any way, I find it very difficult to fully engage creatively. I revert back to my teenage self, get very stressed and start telling myself I can’t do it; that what I’ve done so far is rubbish - and question why I ever thought I was any good in the first place.

I might feel cross, frustrated and like I’ve wasted my time. I might cry; I might pour myself a large gin. I might give up and throw my work away or if I feel slightly less on the verge of a breakdown, I might put my work to one side to look at another day.

The last time I picked up my paintbrushes, I had put pressure on myself to finish the painting I had started a few weeks before and start another one, for a project I was working on.

I spent about four hours messing it up and rubbing paint back off before I packed it all away and poured some gin. It’s so very frustrating when that happens. The knock on effect of this means that I haven’t had the courage to pick a paintbrush up since as my confidence in my abilities has been knocked.

I made sure I had no pressures to do anything today so that I could paint.

Could I do it? I spent most of the day searching for suitable photos; looking for various other things I wanted to research online; tidying and even resorted to ironing and hoovering up cobwebs. These are not jobs that are usually at the top of my list!

Inevitably I now feel very frustrated at not having used my time effectively.

The thing I should make very clear is to say is that when I sit down to paint and don’t put pressure on myself to create something very beautiful, I really enjoy it. Really enjoy it. And what comes out of those sessions is not always brilliant, but is usually workable with. That is to say that I am usually in the right state of mind to understand that what I’ve done is created a layer in the painting that I will paint over and perfect later on - instead of looking at and judging it as a finished product before it’s anywhere near finished, which is what I tend to do when I’m in a ‘this is all a waste of time and is rubbish’ mood.

I think I’m hoping that others will say ‘oh, this is me, all over’ and that it’s not just me.

I love productive days. I love productive creative days even more.

I just haven’t had one of those for a while and I’m trying to understand my thought processes - it’s fear, I think, mainly. Of wasting time, of not making anything beautiful. Of missing the boat.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Perhaps I’ll just go to the beach.

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