Friday, 21 November 2014

Art and Courage

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are... 


I was invited to join the a blog hop by the lovely fjord girl . I was excited to join in however with all the house renovation the weeks have just slipped by. So despite being behind and have probably missed the boat on this hopping thing I'll write the post anyway and then point you in the direction of some creative bloggers I love...

Also maybe it will help if I hop while I type...

First a little background. My childhood memories all revolve around being creative and imaginative. In play I was always creating worlds and leading the story line with dramatic plot twists for me and my friends to react to. I couldn't go to sleep without dreaming up an adventure for me to play out in my head. I think 90% of my thoughts were about pretend things. While my early school reports complained that I was too busy daydreaming, I was having fun and probably learning a lot more about what it means to be creative than anyone realised.

I remember the first drawing I did that I thought hey this is pretty good. It was a tiger and I can see it so clearly in my head. My friends teased that I couldn't have drawn it so I must have traced over it. I didn't I thought I really drew it! I liked to spend time copying from comic strips like Snoopy and Garfield. With my friends I liked to draw mermaids and princesses with beautifully detailed dresses. I never kept these drawings which makes me kind of sad now.

When I was older I drew less but I took photos all the time. Mostly of my friends and I filled my bedroom walls with them. I always felt right with a camera in my hand.

But somewhere along the way I stopped being creative. I think it was around secondary school age. I put those things I perceived to be childish away and focused on being a completely different person. As a perfectionist I studied hard trying to overcome all the things that didn't come easy instead of investing my time on the things that came naturally. I wanted to be like my academic brother. I also wanted to make absolutely no mistakes. Ever. Which by the way is the fastest way to block yourself from doing anything creative. Suddenly my school reports praised how hard I worked. I was a model student, the teachers loved me, I got good results and I was miserable.

This continued into my working life where I flitted between various jobs unsuited to my true nature and I hated every clock watching minute of it...

Then my life changed. I became a mum.

And these two little people became my complete focus. I watched them play. And I began to play right along with them. I watched them imagine all kinds of wild and wonderful things. I started to imagine again too. I soon picked up my camera more and more to capture them growing...

And each photo made me see the beauty of each moment. I started a blog. I began taking photos for friends. I started sketching. I took painting lessons. And I realised something...

It all made me feel so happy. 

I was being myself again. 

I have a long way to go and so I'm still figuring out what on earth my creative process looks like.  

But i'll do my best to answer the blog hop questions...

1. What am I working on?

Before children, thinking of what I should take photos of and whether they would be any good made my head hurt. Once my children where born I simply took photos of the things I loved the most. Them. And that's when my photos started to get better. So I am always working on documenting them and the life we lead as a family...

When I started drawing and painting again I was so stuck. Fear of making mistakes prevented me from making much progress. Then I simply watched my children create. I find they bring me back to the basics. Isaac draws animals all the time because that is what he loves. He draws with abandon not worrying about whether it is good or what others may think. It's almost as if by drawing the things he loves, he is right there with those very things. Exploring the jungle with tigers or swimming in the Antarctic with penguins. He is compelled to do it like i'm compelled to take photos all the time. There are pages of pictures he has drawn in this way stuffed in drawers all around the house. I cant throw them out but they are slowly taking over. 

He just. keeps. drawing.  

Creativity wise he is already way ahead of me. 

So I decided each week me, Isaac and Lucas will choose something we love and we all create artwork connected to that. They are learning from me and equally I am learning from them.

Most recently it was penguins as they are Isaac's current obsession. 
Next it will be owls I believe...

The plan is to fill my office walls with our artwork...

I also like the idea of painting gift cards for Christmas and birthdays.

I'd also like to learn to sew so I can make dressing up costumes for the boys.

I'd like to, I 'd like to, I'd like to...

That's my thoughts these days despite there being not enough hours in the day.

Mostly though I'd like to lead my children towards the things they love most so they grow up to become who they really are... 

That I am always working on.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't think I have any idea of that yet.  I just hope it reflects me with honesty.

3. Why do I photograph/create what I do?

The only answer I have is that i'm compelled to do it. Like Isaac and his animal drawings it brings me closer to the things I love right there in that moment. 

4. How does my photography/illustration/creative process work?

I don't know what my artwork process is yet. But I can talk about my photography. When I am photographing something I loose myself in it. I almost can't stop taking more and more photos. Taking a walk somewhere beautiful never fails to lift my mood or get me feeling creative...

I get so inspired constantly searching for small details that are beautiful to me.

Or moments between people. 
Or their reaction to something or someone. 

The next part is to come back to my computer screen and look through all of them. I remove all the photos that aren't good enough. Here is where my school years of self-criticism and perfectionism come in rather handy. 

Photoshopping them is another moment where I can loose yourself. I'm analysing each photo to find things within the photos to highlight. Changing the contrast or cropping it to emphasis something in particular. Sometimes the photos you thought you had nailed aren't as sharp as you hoped. And equally sometimes you get hidden gems. Something beautiful you didn't even know you had captured. Hours can slip by and I realise for the sake of my wrist and eye balls I should probably take a break soon....

Then if I want to use them in a blog I put them together in a way that tells a story. I think I've always liked telling stories. Id like to do that with my artwork too one day. Tell stories.

Paint what you feel.
Paint what you see.
Paint what is real to you.

                            -Robert Henri

I imagine that this applies to all creative art forms. Just change to the word paint to 'write, photograph, build, knit... 

Whatever form it takes as long as it is real and meaningful to you.


I would definitely have chosen Fjord Girl because her photos and words are stunning but she went and chose me first. Which by the way made my day. So go see her if you haven't already. 

Creative bloggers I enjoy and are inspired by are:

Go see them too x


  1. I love how you immerse your entire life in your creative journey. It's such an amazing gift you're giving your children. xoxo

  2. I love this so much. Trying to find the creativity and the time and the YOU again in it all. I love it.

  3. I always love seeing the projects and explorations you take with the boys!

  4. Oh sian this is so heartfelt and so good to read. Wonderful how you write about your childhood and how you experienced school. So glad you are a happy mama and that your boys set you free- it's a beautiful thing. Looking forward to more of your photography wizardry!

  5. awww, thanks for mentioning me in your post Sian! I'm inspired by you too. I can tell how much you love your kids and nature from your photographs and that's what makes you unique. We all have a different take on the world and the things we love and notice say a lot about a person.