Posts in Creative Lifestyle
Happy Artists and Living Your Best Creative Life
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There’s this phrase floating around right now which I really love, and it’s often given as a compliment.

Someone will appear looking relaxed, glowy, on their A-game... they’ll be celebrating their latest success, their latest life milestone surrounded by beautiful, happy, loving people... and someone will whisper ‘wow, they’re living their ‘Best Life aren’t they?’ .

Living their Best Life.

Ugh. Love that.

I began thinking about what My Best Life would look like to me. What I’d look like, where I’d live, my career, who’d be around me and of course one thing led to another and I coined a phrase that seemed very powerful to me: ‘Best Creative Life’ #bestcreativelife

The idea that I could combine a Best Life with Creativity sounded beyond intriguing. It asked so many questions.

What would YOUR best creative life look to you? What are you making? Where do you make? Who owns your creations? How does your life and art flow together. Why are you so content? How did you achieve all this?

Very important questions. 

Instinctively, I think, this is what I’ve been trying to decide for myself over the past few years. I’ve been unravelling all the messages about what it means to be an artist, a woman, a mother, a wife and put together some version that fits me best. Many things didn’t work. Many, many, many things. But like with all things of a spiritual nature these lessons came in spirals and once I’d processed pain, or grief, or guilt, a healing would happen and I’d be inspired to try again and see what I could attempt next.

Over time I’ve grown. Not better, but stronger. More decisive. More confident. Over time I’ve begun filtering out the harmful messages thrown our way as creatives, and especially as women, and learning that there IS a place for me in this world, like there is most definitely for you, that is happy, productive, abundant, acknowledged, confident and at peace. And definitely not bored to death, suffering or redundant.

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I guess the key message I want to pass on to other creatives the most is that it’s great that you have passion for your creativity, that’s WONDERFUL, but if it puts your health or even your life at risk, it’s not worth it.

That’s NOT okay.

It never, ever has been okay and anyone who suggests you should suffer for your art, abuse, neglect or harm yourself for ‘inspiration‘, emotionally torment yourself or sacrifice everything you have including your own dignity for creative notoriety is plainly a dangerous person and should be swiftly removed from your social circle. Like, immediately. Even artists who tap into deep painful memories as inspiration for their art use their creativity to HEAL and get better, NOT destroy themselves.

I dont know about you but I don’t think Artists exist to make a few good paintings and then live in misery or die or horrible premature death. It doesn’t even make sense. Sure it was trendy once, but so was smoking. And we can all agree that went down the toilet once we realised it was killing us. Let’s do the same with the starving artist mentality and flush it down the loo for good, where it belongs.

Art is the ice in your drink, the candles on the cake, the salt on your chips. It just makes things better. And in the words of Lilla Rogers- ‘People buy your joy’.

So today I invite you to tap into that joy and start figuring out how to live your own Best Creative Life. Why not download my little workbook below to get you started? Just click the image below.

Happiness, and happy artists, healthy artists, hard working artists, productive artists, friendly, kind artists, strong artists, healing artists, are INFINITELY inspiring and will always find an audience for their work.

This post is a submission for the GESSO: Primed Creatives blogging challenge.

Introducing a new community, GESSO: for primed creatives

THIS IS A CALL FOR CREATIVE BLOGGERS: Artists, Illustrators, Makers, Designers & The Rest

Are you an artist, illustrator, maker, creative? Do you blog about art, creativity or what you make? Do you want to become a more satisfied creative and need accountability and encouragement? Do you want to be a part of something that prioritises being creative over full time blogging or social media (but still fancy exploiting it to our advantage)? Are you looking to collaborate and network with other people like you or at least with some understanding of your world and lifestyle? Would you like support and advice related to our industry or to possibly meet and collaborate with other creatives in your area? To have a laugh and put the fun back into creativity & blogging?

Then let me introduce you to my spanking new community called GESSO

GESSO was created for people just like us. Passionate, fun, enthusiastic, supportive creatives, primed and ready to take action with their work, business or just to become better artists. With a focus on becoming better creatives rather then just growing follower numbers we support happy, healthy art making, whether you're a seasoned illustrator or someone very new and trying to find their way in the world.

I wanted to make a space that encouraged creatives to make more stuff, link up with their passions, find new friends and maybe do a bit of work. I believe that blogging is a fantastic way to connect with other creatives across the world, as well as showcase our work to new clients, but it should never ever take us away from what really matters... our Art. Whether that's painting, drawing, sewing, photography, writing, crafts, embroidery, calligraphy, gardening, design, illustration, collage, pottery WHATEVER. If you're zapped from the current 24/7/365 culture of the internet and have perhaps even considered quitting entirely.... this group might just help heal you a little bit. 

How to join GESSO

Head over to the official website now to find out how to join us. Be sure:

  • That you have a blog (or intend to create a blog or website to showcase your creativity)
  • You want to live your best creative life.
  • Believe in action over words.

Time wasters and those only interested in self promotion need not apply and you will be removed from the group without warning if you are found to be abusing the trust of the group. 

Our group is currently using an program called Slack to chat with each other so you will be required to download this to access the group. There are desktop and app versions, so it's very versatile. It is simply a sophisticated messenger service that's a bit easier to keep track of then WhatsApp! You will also need to provide us with an email address so we can add you to the group. Okay? Okay.

So what are you waiting for?

If GESSO sounds right down your alley why not get in touch?

I hope you'll join us on this new adventure. Who knows where things could end up!


The value in leaving your creative comfort zone
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It all started with a badly made hand-tied bouquet

My husband and children had clubbed together over Christmas and signed me up to do a workshop at our local florist, which just so happens to be not only one of the best in the county, but the same florist that did our own wedding flowers 10 years ago.

To say I was emotionally invested was an understatement.

After months of being cooped up in doors, too pregnant to move and generally feeling isolated, I was champing at the bit and desperate to get back into the real world, stretch my creative muscles and maybe even talk to some adults, for once.

Floristry seemed like an easy way to tick all those boxes and either way, I got to twirl amongst roses and lilies all evening and take home a beautiful bouquet at the end of it. Win. Win.

What I hadn't considered though, despite being a complete and utter beginner, was how much I wanted to be good at it. It wasn't enough to just appreciate the experience and learn, I wanted to be good at it. Really good at it. After years of low confidence I felt like I NEEDED to be good at it. And what was worse was that at no point did my intellect or experience kick in and say 'Hmmm, Lianne, you know things don't work like this. This is gonna hurt you if you keep thinking this way!'

I was blind. I did not see it coming.

So the day comes and I am stood there, struggling with mess of stems, my cheeks burning with shame, as the other students chatted away having a lovely time, feeling completely useless... The instructor has to come over and completely dismantle my attempt and make it for me.

I went home and cried, completely and utterly defeated.

It didn't matter that hand-ties are considered one of the hardest skills to master. That it was my first time ever. I was consumed by a very deep sadness. I hardly slept. I had never felt this way in my life. So the next morning I did the most logical thing:

I emailed my teacher and said, 'I quit'.

I'd like to think I know how my brain works when it came to creativity. I'd like to think I know all my weaknesses, strengths and requirements. That I was predictable and consistent. Brave. That I knew exactly what I needed to do to overcome any obstacle including the fear of being a beginner. But what I took for granted was I knew how to do all that with something I WAS ALREADY GOOD AT. Something I'd already had experience battling with. Something I wasn't afraid of. To confront all these problems in a completely new territory knocked me sideways and kicked me when I was down for good measure.

Of course my instructor wasn't going to listen to my whining though, and after a bit of much needed tough love she convinced me to return and try again.

This was when my true gift, the real magic of creativity, began to kick in.

Reader, I am not a creative person... My gift is that I am persistent. Every single time I make a mistake or get knocked down I WILL pick myself up and keep running at that target. I might kick and scream and sulk and throw all my toys out the pram but once I'm ready, you better get the hell out of my way, because I'm coming for you. 

The following week I march back into the florist and I. Am. Ready. Flowers will not defeat me!

With a new level of determination, and of course everything I learnt from the previous lesson I stand there, focused and waiting to confront my demons.

I choose my stems, some pink roses, a gorgeous green orchid and my foliage and get to work. 

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This time things feel different.

I'm focused but open minded. If I can't do this, then it's okay. I'm a beginner and I am learning. My teacher gives me a tiny bit more support and checks my progress incrementally, with very little correction. I let my muscle memory guide me, feeling the bouquet and carefully, thoughtfully putting it together in a way that pleased me.

It is all new. I am completely out of my creative comfort zone but I am doing okay. I am managing.

Last week was my final workshop and after several weeks exploring country-style jug arrangements, oasis, tropical flowers and fragile peonies I can happily say I feel rewarded.

By leaving my comfort zone and attempting something creative that was completely new for me I was able to examine all the weak points and strengths of my learning process and grow as an artist and person.

It exposed a lot of toxic learning patterns that I'd established as a child- the feeling that if I wasn't perfect at my first attempt, then I was useless and it was not worth reattempting. High pressure, aggressive Grammar school education wrecked my self confidence and during this workshop it all came unravelling. I felt weak. I felt destroyed at times. But finally, as an adult, I was able to pick myself up and go 'No one is judging you anymore. Let's have fun with this'.

I healed a deep, paralysing trauma with a few flowers

I loved my arrangements. I LOVED going to my classes and choosing my flowers and making mistakes and asking for help. I never felt that shame from my first class again. Driven by my curiosity I even visited the shop during the week to buy more flowers and foliage and practised in my own time. I started to find it deeply relaxing.

What a contrast to the previous month.

The value in leaving your comfort zone is that it's the only way you can deepen and heal your existing creative process.

It's like an MOT for your soul. It tests everything you think you know about yourself and your creativity and if you persist, if you forgive yourself, you will be rewarded with extraordinary gifts- confidence, resilience, pride. All those things the books tell you will happen and you continue to say 'yeah, yeah, I know, i'll be fine' but really, you haven't a clue until you do it. Action is more important then words. You've really got to throw yourself in the deep end. You can't learn to swim by reading a book on it. It only takes you so far. You have to live it.

You have to struggle to find a reason to fight back and know you're strength. To believe it.