New Years Thoughts

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Every New Year I feel the urge to re-invent myself just a little. To become better in some way. That unblemished new leaf, an opportunity to put mistakes behind, step forth into the brave new day, in a new pair of shoes.

I make lists, promises, tidy things. I buy pens, order my shelves. Clean cupboards. Wipe away cat fluff. It is all so hopeful.

And then, as the year rolls by, life happens. Pens get chewed, promises fall by with a blush, more stuff fills those perfectly arranged shelves. More fur drops, everywhere. Unexpected things always happen, good and bad, things fly at you and you have to change track. And mistakes? Well, lets not count.

But still again, like a fresh Spring breeze, January 1st will arrive and I will take my breath, climb up and reach the summit of good intentions once more, and love that view – clear, clean, new. Forget the rocks back down just for a second.

And isn’t this just how it goes? We all have our circles and lines in which we move, we all have old skins that sometimes we need to shed. I need this sense of renewal each year. But I should expect mistakes. Mistakes are human. I want to be kinder to myself and allow them. Because, maybe each time we do grow just a little wiser, maybe imperceptibly, somehow we do learn something from every mis-step. Maybe each new skin that I grow is just slightly more formed, just that little more me.

I’ve been reflecting a lot over the holidays on creativity, and my relationship to it. Sometimes I am comfortable with it, sometimes I am achingly not. I struggle hugely with maintaining a balance between a huge onslaught of ideas and creative impulses and a strictly over organised framework where I get things done but become too narrow and judgemental, and don’t allow myself time to breathe and explore. More balance is needed. I read a great quote on the fabulous blog by Elsa Mora – “Art is a Way“. She quoted Henri Matisse thus:

“There is the heart and the mind, the Puritan idea is that the mind must be master. I think that the heart should be master and the mind should be the tool and servant of the heart. As it is, we give too much attention to laws and not enough to principles. The man who wants to produce art must have the emotional side first, and this must be reinforced by the practical.” – Robert Henry.

He says of an artist:

“He must have an excellent mind which he must command and use as a tool for the expression of his emotions”

I really like this idea, of the heart and mind working in balance.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot this past few months through my photography and posting here..but..I am missing other areas of my creative life too and I’d like to reach out a little and explore some more. I feel like maybe photography might be part of what I do, not the whole, like maybe there is more to go with it..I miss my handmade work too, it would be fun to try and incorporate both.

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I am also very excited to finally have a little room of my own to work in! I have been working on it over the holidays and it is feeling like a very exciting, invigorating, and reflective space. It’s on a hill and overlooks some of the town and countryside – with a teeny view of the estuary if you lean out the window a bit…!  I have printed some of my work and put it on the wall – it’s been great to do that and take an overview of things. I must allow myself the luxury of printing more – I like to hold things in my hands, it feels like part of me more somehow.

Hope and light, and the promise of a brand new day. My resolution this year is to be brave and honest both in my work and my life. Let my heart speak.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Old Friends

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I found this paint splashed, battered old photograph in an old box recently – I took it of some friends many years ago, and it really brought back memories. What I remember was particularly amazing to me in this photograph is that Janet (right) was smiling. I had never seen Janet smile! So I always felt that there was something special about the moment. And I remember trugging about in my old boots, just looking and catching moments as they flew by…I don’t know if I romanticise, but somehow it felt like that old, inexpensive, heavy camera was closer to my body, more connected to the experience..

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