creativity is a journey

creativity is a journey

Hello again. I can’t believe we are now into October and the leaves are changing colour once again. We’ve had some fantastic weather here in the UK, colder nights, misty mornings and bright sunny days where you just cannot believe the beautiful colours nature has on display for us! Autumn has always been one of my favourite times of the year, the bright colours of the trees and hedgerows, the delicious smells of bonfires, cosy evenings in front of the fire, time for making soups and hearty casseroles, picking sloes, damsons and blackberries and spending more time at home as our nomadic summer in our caravan sadly comes to an end. This summer has been a truly lovely one, we have spent lots of time away in our caravan enjoying our beautiful countryside, doing lots of walking and lots of reading. I’ve been getting very inspired by the landscape, and have been enjoying a more regular sketchbook habit, trying out lots of different technique, materials and new approaches to my work and I have to say I’m really enjoying the process.

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If you’ve been following me on social media recently you will know I’ve been working my way through an e-course recently. It’s called Unearth Gather Create and is the creation of the wonderful Gillian Lee Smith, who I’m proud to say is a friend of mine. At the beginning of this journey back in early 2014 I was really struggling to find a new creative direction as I felt I was becoming a little bored and stale and I have been really interested in bringing colour into my work for a while now. This course has been the perfect antidote to my creative confusion and it has really helped me to uncover what I really want to do. I am doing this course just for ‘me’ and will still spend time on the commercial side of my business but this has been a present to myself and I feel I’m truly connecting with my creativity again as I’m discovering what kind of art I really love to make. My time spent on the course has been somewhat sporadic, occurring in fits and starts, nothing for weeks then a flurry of lessons and experimentation as I work through the course assignments, but I’ve come to expect and embrace the creative highs and lows that I go through, they are part of the process.

So I thought I’d share this next part my journey with you, where I am now and how I got here, taking you through the different steps of my creative process and what I’m learning about myself and my work as I go. I feel I haven’t had very much to share with you over the past couple of years. The initial novelty of running my own business, and all the things that entailed, such as my first trade fair, first selling shows and exhibitions had worn off a little, and I began to question why I was pursuing this creative path and why I didn’t feel like blogging any more. I’d shared all of the things I’d learned along the way via my blog, which had felt the right thing to do at the time, if people could benefit from what I had learned and I could help others then that was great. But over the last couple of years I felt as though I was floundering a little in my enthusiasm and motivation. Who wants to blog about that and who wants to read about it? I’d been overthinking things, dwelling on criticisms and this was actually hampering any further progress.

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When I blogged last in July I hadn’t picked up a sketchbook in ages and I knew, after a lovely evening out with three creative friends, that I just needed to get started again. I needed to get over myself, stop being scared of what people think and stop letting things other people said to me stop me from making the work I knew I wanted to make. I found a sketchbook that I hadn’t started and just began by doing a sketch several days a week. I then started to listen to the Unearth Gather Create lessons again, re-reading my previous notes and journal entries I’d made, and as if by magic, things started to happen again, ideas started to flow and by using the lesson prompts and the fantastic advice from Gillian I started filling up my sketchbook pages. I’ve revisited some of my old sketchbooks to look at my old landscape ideas, drawing on old inspiration from when I was on my foundation course, reconnecting them to what I  want to do now. I’ve also booked back at my old textile landscapes that I used to make pre-2010 and have enjoyed seeing the similarities (and differences) in what I feel I want to portray now. I’ve enjoyed trying out new media, acrylic paints and inks, pastels, oil bars, new pencils and I’m loving the process.

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I’ve also cleared out the clutter of my social media feeds, so I’m not distracted by what the rest of the world is doing. I don’t care about that I just want to concentrate on what I’m doing. I’m spending this precious time, just me, my ecourse and my studio full of materials, and the stack of photos and material I’ve gathered over the summer. I’m immersing myself in experimentation and am spending time in the studio most days, finding that is leaving me feeling more creatively fulfilled than I have in a long time and excited about tomorrow and the possibilities it could bring.

Here are some of the images from my sketchbook pages I thought I’d like to share with you….

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