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Creative intentions for the year ahead

I make big efforts to be kind to myself through the winter which, in England, has been very cold, wet and dark! I get out the house everyday whatever the weather and wander down the lane, up the hill or around the village and have found that even on the dullest of days it really gives me a boost (even if that's the joy of being back in the warm and dry!)

(One of the other things I'm doing to banish the winter blues is being an artist in residence at my local charity shop. All the images in this post are drawn in the shop whilst stuff is going on around me. I really love it!)

Whilst I don't make resolutions I do like snuggling up in January and making plans for the year ahead and get excited at the prospect of a small collection of creative intentions.

Just to clarify, these intentions are definitely NOT resolutions, which tend to be using your resolve to improve yourself in some way. I think intentions can do that but, to me, they feel like a more gentle approach to the year ahead. I have three rules for setting an intention.

They should:

  • make me happy and enrich my life in some way

  • be really easy to start (important if you lack motivation or focus) 

  • not be on that long 'to do' list of things that need to be included in your day/week

Here are my intentions for 2023. Please feel free to use or adapt them yourself...


1. Be less productive and do nothing more often.

I really like this book by Jenny Odell. It's been about for a few years and is a useful read. There's a nice article here where you can get the general gist of it. I have found that, for me, doing nothing means doing something; drawing. I like how it's an active meditation, how it helps my frenetic brain to focus and make connections. If you'd like to have ago at drawing but not sure where to start, why not try one of my drop in and draw classes. I recommend the vintage china workshop where we draw broken bits of plates. It's a favourite of mine and incredibly relaxing. Watch me do a speedy drawing here.

2. Go on picnics

Not posh ones which take ages to prepare, though. A flask, apples, bread, cheese and a bin bag on which to sit is fine by me. The Cotswold Way is nearby and has some perfect picnic spots.

3. Learn a bit more about artists and see a few more exhibitions

Currently, I'm a bit in love with Mary Fedden, Winifred Nicholson, Joan Eardley and Berthe Morisot. I am intensely moved by the images these women have made particularly scenes of domesticity.

4. Create a commonplace book filled with notes, sketches and collage recording my wild garden and all its inhabitants

The majority of my workshops this year will be based on this theme and you are welcome to join me in creating your own commonplace book, scrapbook or illustrated journal. I'll be sending out more information in the next couple of  weeks. First up is binding your own journal/sketchbook more on that in my next newsletter!

5. Explore vintage scrapbooks

I have really enjoyed The History Scrapbook podcast and I love the stories they tell. Grab a cuppa and explore @paperofthepast on Instagram which is fascinating.

6. Create a published book of sketches

To be honest I'm not sure what it will contain but like the idea of it being a culmination of the drawings I'm doing during my artist residency at my local charity shop. I'm enjoying chatting to the volunteers, staff and customers whilst drawing them and the curated piles of bric-a-brac. I'm there one morning a week until the end of February.

2 comentarios

What a lovely post, I really like the idea of intentions too, rather than resolutions. Looking forward to hearing more about your commonplace/journal and binding etc!

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I love the idea of intentions and it makes me consider my own. I didn't pick up a brush for a few months around the holidays and now getting back into a routine is a big intention. I love your idea of the commonplace book and as I anticipate a trip to England this spring, am considering the best of things to take along and what I want to do while I'm there. I always enjoy this spot and am delighted whenever I visit this delightful blog.

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