365 days of creating 2018- What I discovered, and would I do it again?

Why?

I honestly have no idea why I have been setting myself a year long challenge for the past 2 years. It might have been to test my commitment, motivation or maybe stubbornness. What I do know though is that they have made a positive impact on me as a person.

My first year long challenge was in 2017, when I decided to only buy 2nd hand clothes, of course with the exception of underwear and socks! Any one who knows me, knows I love clothes and shoes. As a child I used to sleep in my new shoes. However I was fed up of it being dictated to me what I should wear by trends, the increasing prices even in the cheap shops, and the general lack of variety out there.

I’m a mum of 2, 3 really if you include my husband, so fashion and looking good on the school run isn’t high up on the list, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still enjoy clothes.

I succeeded in the challenge, this made me want to test myself again.

My creative spirit started creeping back out in 2017 after my auntie convinced me to take part in a Bristol Art trail, and it evolved from then.. I was working in recruitment at the beginning of 2018 so there was no intention for this challenge to be anything but a personal one.

Motivation

I started to document my creations on Instagram. I had previously seen and incredible daily creator/ artist Erika Lee Sears do the same It was both unexpected nice to get positive comments from strangers. It was perfect me for be able to hide behind this platform, prior to this I would only really share my artwork with friends and family.

In February 2018 I was made redundant from my job of 13 years. Whilst everyone else in the company sought alternative employment, my husband couldn’t have been happier and he had total faith in me that I could do something that I truly enjoy, and still make a living.

So there was no need to question motivation, I had people who believed in me more than I believed in myself and 2 children that I need to feed and keep warm- I would not let anyone down.

I knew that a big part of me becoming an “Artist” would be practice. (I still find it hard to call myself an Artist, I often say painter instead and people assume I’m a painter and decorator).

I needed to find out what I enjoyed painting and how I enjoyed painting, so creating something everyday was now a part of my “job”

flo lee and peggy painting

How?

At the beginning, as I mentioned before, it was a purely personal, I had absolutely no idea I wouldn’t been working in Recruitment a mere 2 months later. I had a basic sketchbook and some pens. I would just create anything I fancied. I wouldn’t draw if people were watching over me, concerned about the expectations people would have about what I would create.

As weeks went by I found it difficult to think of something to create. I would sometimes do a theme week, but slowly I discovered subjects I preferred to paint or draw, such as birds.

When the A4 sketchbook felt a bit limiting, I would use up old canvases and more recently on larger scale paper.

Every night I would paint and I would keep going until I had a completed piece of work, or the clock struck midnight.

By about 6 months, it wasn’t a challenge as such, but a part of my day, routine and life.

First Sketchbook entry January 2018

First Sketchbook entry January 2018

Final daily painting completed on 31st January 2018

Final daily painting completed on 31st January 2018

What I have discovered?

Creating is my passion and my therapy- it’s not easy pursuing my passion with the constant guilt riding over me about being able to provide for my family. I had a fairly tough 18 months with a friend passing away, losing my job and my sister, brother in law, niece and nephew emigrating to Australia.

When I paint, I think about nothing else but painting- my mind is clear and that’s a lovely feeling.

How passion makes it easy…. I recently watched a video on You Tube by Arnold Schwarznegger, I can not believe how much his words resonated with me. I am so passionate about painting that it was easy to set time aside to paint everyday. I am not saying I always painted something I was proud of, I am not saying refining painting skills is easy, but if you can do something you love everyday then do it.

Practice makes perfect, or at least better… I think I have got to a point where I can openly say i think my creative skills are good. Practice not only improves you skill wise, it also helps grow confidence and self belief.

Compare yourself to motivate but remember you are on your own journey… So many times I have thought, I’m not as good as someone else, not getting as many “likes” on social media, not selling as much work, not able to make a career out of this. It has taken me pretty much the entire year to learn to be inspired by others successes and ability and not to beat myself up about my journey being so far behind theirs.

I have big ambitions about how technically able I want to be, and what work I now want to create and what lifestyle I want to achieve for myself and family off of the back of my Art career.

Tomorrow is another creating day when you create everyday… I have discovered the following, but I don’t always listen to my own advice. If once I had finished my daily creating I wasn’t happy with my painting then I would be so miserable, doubt my ability and feel any better artworks were a fluke- look up imposter syndrome! So try to remember, it wasn’t a fluke, you can do this and you will get another chance tomorrow as you are going to create everyday.

It won’t be easy… the creating might be but it’s tough on the emotions… I think of myself as a pretty resilient and calm character. This year has definitely tested my resilience. It’s a funny one, because if I wasn’t trying to carve out an Art career I wouldn’t have experienced some of the toughest days, but then if I didn’t have my Art they would have been a lot harder to get through.

I can do this!!!

Finally after 10 months of self employment I believe in myself.

This mindset would have not been achieved without the support of my amazing family and friends.

Would I do it again?

I am!!! This year my aim is to draw or paint everyday, not necessarily something from start to finish and with a focus on drawing. I have seen how much my painting skills have improved from practice and I have high hopes for my drawing too.

I will be documenting it on Instagram again, so feel free to follow my journey and join in with a challenge of your own….. and let me know if you plan a challenge of your own.

Thank you for reading my first blog post1

Flo x

A selection of my sketches so far in 2019

A selection of my sketches so far in 2019

Flo Lee1 Comment