I have been writing since I was age 27… quite awhile. In 2014, I grew tired of words. Words engage inner patterns and I found myself going in circles with my thinking and writing. I abandoned words…for a few years.
In the place of words, I found intuitive painting. For the first time in my life, I wielded a paintbrush as a tool for self-expression. I was a total beginner! I engaged in a wordless conversation with each new painting. Playing with color, shapes, imagery and symbols, opened inner doorways that words alone had not. I discovered that I had the courage to allow a painting to unfold and become what it wanted to become. I also discovered that the creative process is the creative process regardless of the way it expresses. While I came up against obstacles or blocks as with writing, I made marks on the canvas that moved me through them…and I found the flow.
In these few years of not writing, I realized that I missed words. I enjoy creative writing and considered how I could marry words and images, poetry and paint. I realized, experientially, that one creative expression enhances the other. Often you think of yourself as this or that…writer or painter or crafter. When, in fact, you have access to any creative opening out there at any time. You only have to choose it and then, as with writing, show up and practice it. Today, I plot and write a blog and I make other art. I knit or craft or cook a gourmet meal. It’s summer here–I walk in the forests and beside the lakes and take photos.
You broaden your creative repertoire, not necessarily to become a famous artist or writer. You do this because it expands you (it feeds your hungry, vast and expressive psyche) and your writing. It really is about giving yourself a playground to explore all sorts of other media of self-expression. These days, there are many online art classes…many wonderful teachers. The art journal, mixing words and images, is an interesting and fun way to engage with both words and imagery.
Walking this morning, I encountered a woman I hadn’t met before in this small community. A conversation ensued & suddenly she stopped and beheld a field of flowers. She said “I love the way the light and shadow are enhancing the colors. Isn’t that beautiful!” My response was “It is beautiful. Are you a photographer?” It turns out that she is a photographer.
When you draw (or paint or use color or sculpt or take photos), you notice things in a deeper way. This way of noticing makes you privy to nuances of color, light, shade, line, form, texture, etc….these are translated into descriptive elements for the writer or poet. This can only improve your writing.
What other creative activities inspire, expand and enhance your writing? Gardening, cooking, sewing, crafting, knitting, pottery, playing a musical instrument, woodworking, jewelry-making, doodling?
In your WRITING journal, draw something. Sit down in front of an object of your choice and draw it. Use a graphite pencil and draw the lines–no judgment. Don’t erase. If it’s not quite right, play with it until it feels complete to you. Then write about your process of drawing…your feelings, comfort or discomfort, the lines and shapes, the object itself, whatever you discover as you draw.
Drawing develops your focusing ability as it challenges you to render what you see. Drawing helps you to really see something and notice things that you might otherwise overlook.
*The first online art class I took, BRAVE INTUITIVE PAINTING, was taught by Flora Bowley.