I blinked and there went January and February, pretty much all of summer.  And I just realised I haven’t blogged since December.  I’ve been somewhat.. I won’t say the “B” word… Let’s just say that I have been absorbed.  

After a lovely summer, I’ve thrown myself into working on a novel, a chapter book, some picture books and some poetry.  I’ll be attending a conference in May and have booked manuscript assessments with two publishers and had to submit these manuscripts last week. Plus I’ve entered a writing competition and submitted a poem for an anthology called Celebrations which will be published later this year.  

It’s all been a lot of fun playing with words while the children are at school but I’ve also been playing with visual arts – drawing, painting and collage.  These have been amazing for stimulating my creativity and almost a form of meditation, so calming.  So much so that I started sneaking into my “office” on the weekend to do a quick sketch or watercolour painting and ended up with my boys following me out and joining me.  And by “joining”, I mean taking over my desk.

As you can see, not a wholly un-strategic thing for me to do…

Now it’s become a usual part of our week, sometimes daily (though while the warmer weather still lasts, we get outside as much as we can).

Over time we’ve used books, YouTube videos, online courses and some free resources to give us ideas and starting points.  

Part of the focus has been to “just do it”. – to quiet the inner critic, that nagging little voice (I call mine Mabel) that says “It’s not right. You made a mistake.  It’s not ART.” Forget about being perfect. Experiment.  See what works.  Copy things but then make them our own.

What I’ve found is that I feel looser, more adventurous, more creative.  And so have my kids.  Not only with art but also with words.

Here is an example of some fun I had with Mr 5.

 

I’m beginning to think this is the perfect complement for writers – before you sit down to write, get out the crayons or paints or fine point pens.

If you are looking for some starting points, either for yourself or children, try this series of books:

We’ve also tried some courses on Skillshare, some of the free exercises on Carla Sonheim’s website and just googled things like “draw like Quentin Blake”, “beginner watercolour”.

If you want to see more of our art play, keep an eye out on my Instagram feed.

Till next time, have fun!