'The Tanglewood' by Amber Caspian

'The Tanglewood' by Amber Caspian

Sunday 29 January 2012

Creativity Entwined

For many years I would try and give myself a week off work to concentrate on my painting - a week to get up early, walk and breathe deep for a couple of hours, come back ready to paint and pour out all the ideas stored up during the busy working weeks onto canvas and paper. Instead, to my dismay, I would encounter every possible distraction - unexpected visitors lovely as they are, every time-suckage creating problem imaginable and invitations to be elsewhere that were hard to turn down. Nothing painted and nothing created except disappointment in myself!

'Spinning the Dream' by Amber Caspian
In 2004 I embarked on training to become a Counsellor with a view to eventually becoming an Art Therapist. For three years I worked full time, went to college one day a week, andspent every evening either giving or receiving counselling, having supervision or writing essays. It was as if a part of me had wanted to throw myself into something interesting and forget about being an artist for awhile. However at the end of the course while gathering my notes, essays and journals together, to my surprise I also found that I had an large collection of poems, drawings, prints, quotes on creativity and one painting - begun and finished through the life of the course. I've posted the picture up before; originally called 'My Fear' it later changed as I let go of some of the fear that stopped me painting. I see it as a representation of my magical self spinning dreams of creating.

I realised that through the busiest and most stressful time of my life my creativity had founda way through. The ultimate distraction forced me to (unconsciously) fit little windows of creative time in. Literally 10 minutes here and there to jot down a line of a poem, coming back to it later to add to or finish it. Twenty minutes painting or printing on a Sunday afternoon, when I couldn't write another word or talk to anyone, was the greatest therapy I could have.

Eventually the work finishes itself because I'm not fretting about it or setting aside unrealistic amounts of time to start and complete something. A little bit at a time, step by small step, no pressure, no goals, simply doing...

So creativity doesn't necessarily need to have days and weeks put aside for it although it would be nice, or for us to give up work before we can do it or be it. Life can be lived and 'real' jobs can be done, all the while gently entwined with the fulfilment of our creative yearnings.


  1. You've captured the 'excuse' I tell my creative soul why I've not given space. It is not about external restrictions. It is an internal battle. How to allow that desire to sprout up from the soil? I am not sure because for me it appears to be an unconscious process. So if that desire had a voice or I could find where it resided...maybe in my heart. Maybe I could ask it's advice on how better to allow...

  2. Yes the internal battle and the journey is to meet it and make it conscious. That way the voice gets a chance to speak and the fear named and heard. For me it's a dance with and around my fears, also Trickster self plays a part. How to be cunning and meet the creative soul on the other side of fear without fear catching you. Also making fear an allie and using it's energy to power the dance toward creative exploration.