Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Colouring In Is My New Creative Outlet

There's a frustration when you enjoy being creative, and that is you often end up with too much of what you create, so you either give it away or stop.

Over the years, I've done both. Projects became gifts, or the activity was stopped altogether.  How many tapestries or cross-stitched pillows can you have? My first tapestry was Pierrot, the sad clown, sitting on a crescent moon. I still have it, well MissM does now. Goodness knows where all the others are now. Our neighbour's lounge room was like an art gallery of her daughters tapestries - it was a bit much.

Then came rug-making for a school art project.  The click clack of the hook rug thru the matting, creating designs and seeing the finished rug was great. reward. The lower back pain from sitting on the floor for hours on end was probably the start of my back issues (but that's another chat)

Not mine, but you get the gist. 

As an adult, I dived right back into the creative arena after the break up of a long term relationship. In some ways, it was a form of social hibernation.  The concentration needed to learn new skills and master them helped me forget how I was feeling for a few hours each week. Before I knew it, I was over the relationship (yeah me) and totally into my new love - craft.

A 6 month decorative finishing course at evening college was my first full on 'course' experience.

I sponge painted, crackled, painted folk art, learnt to marble with paint and more, on everything from wooden tissue boxes, to pen holder, to photograph frames, to mirrors. A friend who visited one Saturday night said she was scared to stand still for too long for fear of being painted!

Not mine, but I created a very similar board in folk art class.

Not mine, but marbling eggs for Easter gifts was fun.

MrsH's neighbour taught decoupage. The idea of cutting gift wrapping paper and glueing it onto a wooden tissue box or tray or ceramic plate fascinated me. After a couple of weeks I was hooked.  It was a no-brainer to invest in the right scissors, glue, brushes, paints, sandpaper, glaze I was ready to go. We met every Wednesday night from 7pm til whenever our eyes started to hurt. We talked, cried, shared problems, solved problems and created some stunning pieces.

Decoupage was my Wednesday night appointment. It went on for nearly 3 years. You can only imagine the number of pieces created in that time. Most of my pieces are in our storage unit back home, or given to friends as gifts.

From there, I tried mosaics. I saw a mirror in a shop and loved it but it was very expensive. I thought 'surely I could do that' and started looking for a mosaic course. I found a teacher, and I made the mirror. In fact, I made two.

In Japan I learnt Ikebana. What a wonderful experience!

In the UK I continued by Ikebana and achieved my first 3 certificates of which I'm super proud.  The vases, kenzans (pin beds the flowers are placed on for the designs) and books filled a moving box. It's a skill for life and I love it, using it as often as possible, tho my technique is more freestyle these days.

MissM did pottery at school and was very good at it. I asked her teacher to do two commissions for me, and said 'why don't you come to class on Monday mornings and make them yourself,' so I did.

These past few months my dilemma is quite simply I am desperately missing my creative outlets, but I don't want to do something just for the sake of doing it, and certainly don't want to accumulate more 'stuff'.

While in a local bookshop looking for a birthday gift, I stumbled across COLOURING IN FOR ADULTS.



Intricate, calming designs ready to be coloured in. All I needed was a pack of pencils. How much easier could this be? No huge outlay, no investment in tools, no accumulation of stuff. Perfect!

I colour in for at least half an hour every other day, and clear my mind of all it's thoughts and focus on the colouring in. Choosing the right combinations of colours, making sure the hues are right, learning how to get the best from the pencil nib, pressing harder or lighter creates different depths colour, short/fast strokes are different to long/slow ones on the paper.

The designs are intricate. Some make me go a bit cross eyed as there's so much detail, so I just turn the page and start on something new.

Who knew at my age, colouring in would be my new creative outlet!

You should try it sometime. Love to know how you go.


  1. Not quite so calming when you have a 3 year old. LOL.

    1. You'll have to colour in when she's in bed :)