Thursday, April 30, 2015


Some more antidotes to excessive worrying (which is ongoing, but I have decided to stop whinging):

|  Painting. I am finally back at the easel painting for myself. What took me so long? Also, why do I always end up with the same colour combinations? I am determined to have at least one painting without berry colours by the end of next month.

|  Spring was here in the form of a mini-heatwave, then disappeared briefly, and now it's back. This was a note I came home to last week. It turns out it is safe to swim down at the shoreline that is a three-minute walk from my house. That only took me six-and-a-half years to figure out (simply ask a local).

|  A pink flower sans stem spotted on the ground by a neighbour I hadn't seen in a while and handed to me through my car window as a spontaneous gift. I put it in a glass of water, and it brightened my window sill (and mood) all week.

| Baby feet and cat-in-armchair. Whenever I visit it is like stepping into a quirky picture book, which of course is a completely rose-tinted view that ignores the sleep deprivation and other realities...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cake for calm


I would like to think that when I am quiet here it means life is just so full there is no time to document it, but the opposite is true: I find that when things are good, I have more energy and can do all the living and creating and blog about it all, and there is a nice flow to it. The more you do, the more you do.

At the moment I am so stressed about money, health, work, deadlines, problems with the car and the house that I haven't had the headspace for much else, apart from certain commissions and some passive planning and researching (i.e. listening to podcasts - this is a treasure trove for creative people). As a result of being stressed my energy levels dip even lower than usual, and I neglect my relationships with others and cancel or avoid social situations, which stresses me out more because I feel I cannot function and that I am a terrible friend/partner/daughter/sister/... I just about manage to pour energy into my relationship, but almost every other area of my life seems to be suffering.  And so goes the vicious cycle.

People close to me would point out that I have a tendency to catastrophise, and I am aware that in the grand scheme of things, my current situation is trivial, and I certainly don't want to turn into a hypochondriac, analysing each physical complaint when most likely the majority of my health issues are psychosomatic. But I am just so aches-and-pains-cannot-face-the-world tired.

As usual I am not doing an awful lot of the things that I know would make it all better (I am still convinced I would be a much better person if I meditated every day...), though I did get a run in this morning - as part of my attempt to make my working-from-home days more productive, I am implementing little tricks such as pretend-commutes, and it does help to get the exercise and fresh air and sunshine first thing. But somehow my 35-min jog (and some yoga) ended up taking up most of my morning, or so it seemed.

Our exhibition in August is suddenly panic-inducingly close, and I still can't get myself to work towards it.

Sometimes I try to have more compassion towards myself and remind myself that all the work stuff doesn't matter that much at the end of the day, and that I place too much value on doing, but the fact is that my sense of self is inextricably linked to my work as an artist and illustrator, and it is important to me. And that exhibition is a real deadline, one of many. And I love what I do and made this choice. And of course while I am working on something, I am in the zone and that begets energy.

So I am rereading Art and Fear, though I already know the reasons I am stuck.

And I am adding more of the things that help me calm my mind and feel energised (see photos):

|  I made another cake from this book - this one has butternut squash in it, and I used coconut sugar instead of caster sugar. It is so good.

|  Fresh flowers and finishing illustrations.

|  Being with dogs and cats and babies.