After a weekend on the art trail I've realised that I've never really written down answers to questions that I was asked a lot. If you read this and have any other questions then please let me know.
So here we go …. How, when, where, what and why I create; and why I'm uncomfortable selling How? I always used to write poetry by hand, and has scraps of paper all over the place covered with random poems. Since losing my sight I've been writing my poetry digitally; either using speech to text systems, or simply typing them. Since catching Covid all my drawing and painting is digital and it's opened up a world a possibilities. No longer am I constrained by what I can or can't see, having to take endless photos to figure out what I'm drawing or painting; now I can use the built in magnification of my iPad to create. In fact sometimes I create such intricate details that they're invisible to those without the ability to magnify. I like that shift in dynamic. When? It might be easier to tell you when I don't create, which gives you a feel for just how much of my time is spent writing or painting. When I also include writing articles, sermons, prayers and meditations as creative, then I reckon 90% of my waking hours are creative. What? I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't play with words in my head. That can be anything from rewriting song words to creating poems from something I've read; it might be processing an emotion into a poetic form or forming a prayer. I have always rerun conversations over and over in my head, which isn't at all good for my mental health, and playing with words gave me escape from that. I am now able to process these memories and emotions into painting as well which allows me to release them even quicker and deeper. I also get ideas out of nowhere and I have come to realise this is a whisper of God, a spark of inspiration. Sometimes it's words, sometimes it's colour, sometimes it's shapes, sometimes it's all of the above and it just pours out of me. That's what happened with Little Guy and with the Caring for Creation paintings and poems. Where? In bed, on the sofa with my feet up, in the car, over dinner, in the shower, on the toilet, in the garden…. Everywhere and anywhere. Why? If the creativity flows then it flows; it needs to come out and I can't keep it in. That's when I know God is at work. I also create because it's good for my mental health, it's like a valve on a pressure cooker - if I don't let it out then all these emotions build up. Why I feel uncomfortable selling I don't like the idea of selling my creativity. I don't want to make money out of it, not because I don't need money, but because I don't really feel it's "mine" to profit from. Much of it is a gift from God and I feel that it's given to me to share with others freely. I'm a conduit, a way that people can come to find peace and feel love and know acceptance. I want to almost remove myself from the outcome and I don't want to profit from it, especially if it means those who might need to access it can't. As I'm writing this I'm also realising that these are the reasons I'm not comfortable with being "seen" or "celebrated" - because it's not about me, it's about whoever needs to hear or see what I create. But of course I need to be seen and heard wider than my own sphere of influence in order for people to find what I create. It's such a dichotomy and I am trying to find peace in the discomfort.
And finally…. What I do with any money I make from sales All the profit I make is donated to charities. I make sure I cover my costs and then I donate to charities which speak into my creativity or are close to my heart including: The Miscarriage Assocation Mind The Jubilee Centre, Zambia St Nicolas Earley Tearfund Christian Aid FND Hope UK Plus the preschool and schools Rachel has attended. I hope this article has been interesting, a little peak behind the curtain into my creative life. If this raises more questions than it answers then just ask away.