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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Creative Challenge

I'm a firm believer in the restorative power of creative ventures. I believe that everyone possesses creative flair, although it can often be stamped out during our school years and take a lifetime to re-discover. When I was growing up, one of my favourite things was to draw. In my teens, when time seemed to stretch in every direction, I spent hours drawing and painting. It helped me to see the world in a different way. It helps you to marvel at the ordinary - a little like that feeling when you are first in love. Even when my children were young I found time to go to a watercolour class or to pick up my paints from time to time. Over the last few years I have promised myself repeatedly that I'll return to sketching but it hasn't happened. It's partly fear I think, that feeling that I won't be any good, that any small skill I possessed will have disappeared.

Last week we had one of our monthly reading group meetings. We are all children's writers except for Sue, who is a talented artist. On her walls are stunning, colourful pictures of daffodils, lilies and poppies. She got out her sketchbooks which contained studies of snails, sea shells and delicate traceries of leaves. It's all beautiful and inspiring. No wonder that we all marvelled at her skills.

Sometimes it's possible for one creative venture to take over to the exclusion of others. My writing fulfils a creative need but there should still be room for other, old creative friends. Sue has set us a task before the next reading group meeting. We are all to produce something artistic to take along and share with the group.

So yesterday, with a combination of misgiving and excitement, I bought a large sheet of paper for drawing. The next stage is to take out the brand new pencils and chalk pastels which my daughter bought for me a whole year ago. I have to accept that it's going to be a bit frustrating, that I'm probably not going to be at all happy with what I produce. But at least I'm going to do it. I've got to now. I can't turn up to our next meeting empty handed. Sometimes it takes a good friend to recognise what we need and give us a nudge. Hopefully this challenge will re-kindle my love affair with drawing and hopefully it will, once again, help me to see things in a slightly different way, to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Who knows, maybe there'll be a knock-on effect and my writing will benefit too.

Have a good week and I hope you find time for something creative too. Thank-you for reading.


  1. Alex, how exciting! I do hope you set aside some time and find inspiration with your shiny new pencils. I used to draw and paint a little bit when I was a child, but I come from a long line of artists. My daughter has got the gene and is doing a foundation in art at Loughborough.

    Like you I think everyone has some creativeness with them.

  2. Thanks Maria! Coming from a long line of artists you too should definitely dust off your paints. How lovely that your daughter is following in the family tradition. Mine was put off art at school but is enjoying it again now I'm thrilled to say. It's such a shame to lose the things we love.