Productive Flourishing

Productive Flourishing

To say that in the past I have had difficulties with time-management and getting stuff done would be a vast understatement. The last couple of years have seen a great improvement in planning my weeks and days but I am still the ultimate to-do-list maker and when there are some weekends closing in and I have tackled only a tiny fraction of that to-do list I am easily disheartened.

I guess in my imagination I am living a life where all I need to do is show up to the studio and get to work, the days are long and full of potential and I have all the time in the world. Hmm well that would be bliss but the reality is somewhat different. Such a shame. I am definitely a girl trying to live another life hampered by modern living.

A peer recommended me this ‘planner for creatives‘ and I have been using it for a month and really, it is helping me to change the way I work and prioritise my week. When you are constantly adding to that daily or weekly list it is really difficult to keep seeing the bigger picture and your longer term goals and it is all to easy (for me anyway) to let dreams slide and get too caught up in the distractions of things that take longer than they need to.

With a few big projects planned for next year (e-course, solo show, more teaching, trying to cut work hours to focus more on my art) I need all the help I can get. It really isn’t rocket science and I am not using all of the Productive Flourishing as there is some overlap and I still really like writing in my diary every week but the parts that I am using are great! For instance I have not printed out the ‘daily planner’ as for me it is enough to have the annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planner and then transfer the weeks tasks into my moleskine diary and colour highlight according to the project.

It is teaching me how to choose my goals wisely, not to over-reach, how to break down the scariness of a looming New Year into manageable tasks and it is encouraging me to get stuff done in ways that don’t seem overwhelming. For instance have you noticed that I have blogged more in the past few weeks than I probably have all year?? Progress indeed  So far I have been using the Action Planners more than the Project Planners but I can see me using both equally as each project becomes more imminent.

Take a look. It might not be for you but it also seems very flexible in that you can choose the parts that make more sense.  It is very affordable and I really would recommend it – plus their blog is full of handy tips and info too.

PS I am not being paid in any way for this – just passing on something I have found works for me : )

x x x

A New Adventure

Imagine… a weeklong creative retreat in a peaceful hideaway on the East Coast of Scotland. Stunning views, walks on the beach, time to learn, time to relax, time to create to your heart’s content. Days spent exploring the area and working in a bright and airy studio with spectacular views and then evenings by the fireside in the company of other students

Well I have been imagining and dreaming about this for a wee while and wondering how I could make it a reality. With my new’ish venture into teaching art classes I have been seeking new opportunities and one of those has always been the idea that I would like to teach at an art retreat some-day. A few weeks ago, I began thinking ‘so why don’t I just organise one myself’ and that is just what I did!

http://www.discovergardenstown.co.uk/

With the encouragement and support of a couple of friends the wheels were put in motion and the location (Gardenstown) and venue (cottages and art studio)  are booked, the dates set (October 2014), the theme imagined and many of the finer details settled …. and one more thing… all 10 places are sold out. Unbelievably. I dared not dream that there would be any interest at all far less sell out all 10 places practically overnight and even more amazingly without me having to publicise or advertise or to beg for folks to look – the interest was already there. If I was surprised by folks coming from Leicester, Cheshire and Oxford for my last day workshop I am absolutely bowled over by the fact that I have 6 ladies coming from over the pond from different areas of the US – all to come over to attend a week long art retreat taught by me. Unbelievable.

So now I am interested to know if this is something that any of my blog readers or fellow creatives would be interested in if I tentatively organised another version of this event for Spring 2015. It is something that I would love to do annually or perhaps more so.  If the idea of a week in a tiny harbour community creating and chatting and sharing is something you can imagine doing then let me know either here or via my workshop page.

You can find out about the retreat happening next year here.

So of the three exciting bits of upcoming news that I have been promising to tell you about, in terms of a timeline it is the furthest away but is the one that has been at the forefront of my mind in the last 2 weeks.

If you can imagine something you can make it real in some way and the things that only a few short years ago I thought were a dream are now ahead of me and closer than I ever thought possible.

xxx

Following a different path.

A while ago I made a decision.

For the last 3 years or so I have been painting and sculpting.

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Painting and sculpting. Sculpting a lot and not painting enough. Sculpting for hours and hours on end and painting when I had a spare moment. I love sculpting, I love my wee creatures, I love painting, I love creating painted narratives. I work from studio and I also have a part time job. I have never counted the hours in a week I work (many many many), it does not matter to me. My artwork is a part of my life that is not counted in hours spent – more in how it makes me feel, how I express myself, how I live.

At the end of last year after a particularly gruelling few months preparing for the 5 large contemporary craft shows I exhibited at and the various exhibitions I took part in, the hours and hours of sculpting were causing problems in my hand and as it turns out I have damaged the ligaments in the palm of my hand – nothing that rest will help, scar tissue has now formed and sculpting causes me great pain.

Gillian Iphone pics 105

It should have been devastating.  Those wee creatures are my pride and joy, they are created from my hands and I love when people see them for the first time, I love the response they get even from those who do not love them as I do. BUT this hand injury has brought about the biggest sense of relief that I could never have foreseen. It has caused me to make a decision that I would have perhaps not made otherwise. In all the months of preparation for shows the sculpting took over and the painting was put to the side and it never really felt right. I was starting to focus on the making and selling rather than the creating and expressing and storytelling.

Soooooo!! At the beginning of this year I made the decision to focus entirely on my painting (alongside my part time job) and explore avenues for teaching art and to put the sculpting aside (perhaps not forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future). A change of path indeed. I pulled out of a show I had been wanting to attend for years, I did not apply for any of the brilliant contemporary craft shows I normally attend and I have been painting and drawing since the new year.  It feels great. It feels like the right thing to do. It feels as if I am on the right path. It is scary and freeing and exciting all at the same time.

Gathered at the shore

Now that we are half way through the year and I have not sculpted for more than 6 months I have no regrets (although I do miss them too) Perhaps someday the half finished sculptures on the tray in my studio will be finished but for now the ideas for new paintings are flowing, boards are waiting to become works of art, sketches are waiting to be developed. I could not be in a better place.

 

Postcard from London

People watching at kings cross, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Dear blog/blog readers

I wish you had been here with me last week.

I had a wonderful time with my dad in London. He got the train down from Edinburgh and I got the coach from Nottingham. We walked till our legs and feet ached and we talked till were hoarse. We plotted and planned and were ridiculously excited to be in London for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I am sorry it is all a bit secretive but I promise (hand on heart) I will let you know more as soon as I can. The weather was mixed but it was ok and the food was great. We went to the Portrait Gallery and spent a lot of time at the Mall Galleries. We got to meet some lovely people and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

Lots of Love

Gillian

x x x

PS – life is a little crazy right now but I will try to keep you updated!!