Overcoming creative block

It’s quite strange whenever I’m having one of those days feeling ambivalent regarding my art. Those are the days when in my heart I wanted to paint but my mind seems uncooperative and picking up my brush seems too much work as though the magic is all gone. A lot of artists call this as the ‘creative block’, which I believe happens to everyone without any exception (it’s only a matter of when). These are the moments when I feel stuck. And the challenge, of course, is how to get unstuck and be productive. I tried different strategies over the years and here are five of those that I found helpful:

1. Just pick up your brush

A lot of times all I need to do is start that very first brush stroke and the rest follows. It’s like a domino effect– you only need to do one thing that will jumpstart your creative process. This is particularly helpful when you have a deadline for a show (or a commission) and you won’t have time to procrastinate.

2. Review your workspace and reorganize if necessary

I normally work on multiple paintings and chaos is inevitable. I realized that one of the reasons why I couldn’t execute my process easily is because my workspace is not set up ergonomically. What I mean by this is my paint tubes could be scattered everywhere I may have trouble finding the color I wanted. I have limited space in my art room and when the space feels too tight it affects my ability to be totally free in creating the brushstrokes essential for my pieces. Little things could add up and I start telling myself that I couldn’t be “creative”.

3. Step away

Your creativity could be stifled if you have been working non-stop or procrastinating for too long. You need to break it and do something different to defibrillate your negative creative rhythm. Physically stepping away from your work either briefly to have a shower or going out for a walk in the beach can make a significant difference in developing new ideas or making you feel refreshed to be creative. 

4. Perform your ritual if you have one

If you are like me who likes my cup of coffee and good breakfast before starting a painting session, then have your coffee and eat your breakfast. If meditation is what you do to go into the “creative zone” then meditate. Some artists have certain attire they need to wear, and some make sure they have brushed their teeth. It may be the only things that’s missing and needs to be done before you go deep in questioning what happened to your creative genius. 

5. Write it down. 

Journaling my thoughts and frustrations is quite cathartic for me. Sometimes the answers of those hard questions reveal themselves after I have written a few pages of reflection. Other times I just feel better after writing and feel free again to execute my passion.

How about you? What do you do to overcome your creative block?

This article was reblogged from Kris’s website. Click here to view the original post.

We Support Plant Parenthood

Me and my Monstera

Have you ever had the same kind of problem like me whenever I see delicious looking plants on sale?

I swear Kris and I never comes home empty handed whenever we go out for a ‘window’ plant shopping.

That sort of “must have that plant” feeling is real especially when it’s rare and on sale!

There was a time when Kris and I saw a small banana tree in Bunnings Warehouse. We were so surprised to see a banana tree in New Zealand! We didn’t think it was possible. We love the thought of owning a banana tree and got excited about the idea of growing it in our place but our trolley was full so we thought of coming back for it.

By the time we returned the following week they’ve already sold the last banana tree. If only we bought it the first time we saw it! I think our plant gang would have look amazing!

Since then, we never let any chance to pass by. We’ve bought and grown plants we really desired to have. Plants are such a joy to have in the house. They are a good investment and they bring in a lot of health benefits such as improving air quality by increasing oxygen supply and decreasing air pollution, reduce stress by making people calm and happier. They turn your place into a safe oasis where you can enjoy it together with your family and friends.

Our “plant gang”

Our plants are like our babies and we are proud to be ‘plant parents’. But just like having real kids I think we just have to save more for our “Plant Fund”.

How about you? What plant babies do you have?

Follow our plant parenthood journey via Instagram @theplant_kingdom

Taking Yourself Out For Coffee

Last Friday , Kris was at work and I was on my day off. I went to our favourite Cafe to enjoy a good cup of coffee.

I felt guilty going there alone and not waiting for Kris to be free so we can have coffee together. I really love my husband’s company that going there alone is a bit weird. I stopped myself from thinking that way and said out loud that going out on solo is not an entirely bad idea.

I placed my phone on silent mode and placed it inside my bag. I opened my journal and started writing in my thoughts and think about my life and our life together. It has been 6 months since we have moved to Australia. Moving on with our lives meant leaving but not forgetting our past. New Zealand will always be home to us but we are meant to move forward and continue with our adventure. It felt good to know that each chapter of our lives is authored by God and that there are no mistakes in His book as long as we walk according to His will.

We can easily become busy in our jobs and in social media that we sometimes forget to pause, reflect and meditate.

Life can become a routine at times. It can be tiring but giving yourself a break to observe everything happening around you from a different perspective can give you a fresh start. It can also be a powerful opportunity to be reminded of God’s never ending faithfulness in our lives.

I believe that having your “me time” is not selfish but rather a special of way giving yourself that kindness and love so you can have the capacity to be kind and loving to those important to you.

How about you? How do you spend time alone to recharge?

To all the plants I’ve loved before…but died!

A love letter to all the plants who died under my care.

It was love at first sight when I saw you at the plant shop. I took you home with the hopes of a lasting green and colourful relationship. I was so excited when I got you that I posted about us in my social community. I’ve researched and joined plant lovers group who share the same passion of looking after plants as their own. A lot of my friends like you.

We were both so happy. I feed you everyday and talk to you like a real friend. You know my ups and downs. You just stood there watching over me with your effortless beauty.

I saw you grow. I remember the day I saw your first baby leaf. I was so excited that I just stood staring at you for the longest time. You did it! We both did it! You thrived and I felt accomplished.

As time goes by, I got busy and barely have time to look after you. There were a few days I forgot to water you and your leaves started to turn yellow and fall. I didn’t realise it till I saw you from the corner of my eye as I rush on my way to work. Gave you a quick wash and drink.

That evening I returned home to see you barely living. Like a dying patient needing a resuscitation. I felt sad and don’t know what to do. I am just so tired from work and won’t have time to look after you.

The scorching sun woke me up late in the morning. I felt not coming back to work as I was just busy and tired the whole week. I forgot to check on you.

Went home and saw you have already died. A part of me wanted to die as well.

We used to be happy but now you’ve left me.

I am so sorry that I have abandoned you plant. I hope you can forgive me. I’ve given my best but I lacked commitment. It cost your life.

I hope that someday you will come back to me.

And by that time I will be a better carer.

Lovingly,

Your Sad Ex-Plant Owner

Australia is literally on fire!

Yesterday, I asked someone how was their New Year and have they spent it at home. She said they lost their house by the fire and have to live on a camper van with a sick child. For a moment I was speechless and the only word that came from my mouth was ” Sorry”. I felt the pain in an instant. It felt surreal. That encounter made me reflect on the lives and properties lost by the bushfires.

Australia has been battling the worst bushfires ever that has claimed the lives of thousands of animals, killed residents and firefighters, burnt houses and farms leaving a number of people without their homes to stay this new year.

I have seen news updates in facebook, television news. I have seen a weird looking brown sky and a sun looking like a giant orange fireball reflecting the large fires happening around New South Wales.

Kris and I just moved to Australia last year and haven’t experienced summer in this country yet. We’ve heard that it can really get super hot as 45 degrees.

Why do bushfires happen in Australia?

There are plenty of reasons but the topmost one I could think of (and have heard) is the extremely hot weather. Australia is about as big as United States of America but majority of the land is dry and uninhabited. Fires in dried grasslands may start naturally by lightning strikes. Australia has also got lots of Eucalyptus trees (that provide food for the Koalas) that can be a very good source of oil and can burn fast. The wind may cause the fires to spread quickly in any direction.

There is no way we can stop bushfires from happening but a lot of people think it has gotten worse than ever.

Does global climate change have to do with this?

I think it has created a significant difference to what we are experiencing right now. Not only in Australia but in Amazon and Indonesia. It’s all over the world.

What can we do to help?

Here is a link that provides direct help to the families and communities affected. You can donate online and can make a difference wherever you are.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

For those living in dry areas please spare a bucket of water as a refreshment for our wild animals.

Thanks for your help everyone. Remember to say a prayer for our brave firefighters, people battling the fires in the frontline, families, koalas, kangaroos and the wildlife.

Much love from the land down under.

Kris and Aileen

Kris’ Art Room

Hi Everyone!

Come follow me. Let’s have a peek at Kris’ art room and see what’s in there.

I feel like I have the key to the secret garden if you remember that famous children’s novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was one of my favourite books when I was a kid.

Kris had just finished cleaning up this room and I am just curious to see how it looks like.

He could spend an entire day painting while listening to his favourite classical music playlist. I am just in awe on how he could produce such beautiful art pieces and lay them all piece by piece in the living room in preparation for his Art Shows. I remember asking him one day on how he managed to create all of those artworks. He said he enters into a “zone” (perhaps a different kind of dimension) so he could express his thoughts and emotions and let them flow into the empty canvas.

Since then I wondered what kind of dimension it is.. Hmmm..

He is away today so I tried to sneak in to his room and wondered if I could also get in to that “dimension” LOL! then maybe I can be creative as Kris!

As soon as I opened the door I could feel goosebumps all over me just watching at his unfinished artworks. My goodness! Is there some kind of spirit in here? I do believe in ghosts but I think it’s not the ghost spirit for sure!

I just watched in wonder how amazing Kris is. I just stood there inspired of how one’s talent could create such a positive energy that could speak to my soul! Char kaayo! 🙂 but it’s sooo true!

If you want to see more of his artworks, visit krisancog.com and follow his Instagram @krisancog