Imagine this: you sit down at your kitchen table with the intention of writing an article, painting a picture, or trying out a new craft. You have a whole morning to yourself to be creative - whether for work, or pleasure - and the possibilities are endless. And that’s precisely the problem.
A blank page is a warning flashing in front of us: I’m not creative, how can I be when I’ve no idea where to start? But it’s not surprising that we struggle to create when our environment doesn’t provide any stimulus, or rather, it provides the same stimulus, day in day out.
So instead, try this: leave the paper, leave the paints, leave the house. Go for a walk and forget all about what you’re supposed to be doing back at the kitchen table; instead, immerse yourself in the natural world.
Bob down and crouch amongst the grass, the wheat field, the hedges - search beneath your feet for what we so often overlook. Yes, it’s green, but what kind of green? And is it really? Isn’t it actually more of a brown, or grey?
Unfurl your fingers and reach out for new sensations; the prickle of a hawthorn branch, the wet tendrils of grass still holding onto the early morning dew, the slightly sticky residue left by the garden snail.
Look up at the sky and see how it’s feeling today - is it angry, melancholy, full of hope?
Pluck a tiny flower from the patch at the end of your garden, and really look at its structure and all its separate parts.
No matter what, it is the rhythm of nature that we can depend upon. Change will come, and there will always be something new to discover. It might arrive in different ways, at unexpected times, or it might creep upon you unnoticed, but it is inevitable. So why not create with it?
Spring is the time of new life and of hope for the year ahead. Notice all the growth in your garden or on the trees that line the streets and try to capture this unfurling. Make note of when these changes are occurring and how quickly life evolves. At the equinox, turn your focus to the animal world and look for new life there as well.
Make sure to observe and think about the colour green and watch it build in vibrancy as the season progresses.
Summer is all about sensations: the warm rain that splatters your cheeks, the heat of late evening sunshine and the pungent smell of strawberries picked and eaten within moments. Try to capture these sensorial experiences.
Make sure to observe and think about the colour blue; the sky, the ocean, the flower beds, the unexpected flashes.
Autumn often hints at an appearance once or twice before it well and truly arrives. This cusp of seasonal change between late summer and early autumn is one of the most evocative times of the year.
Make sure to observe and think about the colour gold. It’s everywhere at this time of year: in that hour before sunset when the light glitters down on everything it touches; on the leaves that crisp and fall and cluster into corners; and on the skins of squashes ripe and ready for storage.
Winter is a time for celebration and looking in hidden places. Frost covers and shrivels the clustered leaves of autumn and the hedgerow berries, leaving just enough for the birds to peck at and forage.
Make sure to observe and think about the lack of colour. Whether it is the first snow of the season that mutes the patchwork fields, the hopeful snowdrops drooping out of their green pouches, or the vast winter skies, look beyond and consider that there is always a hint of green, or grey, beneath a cursory glance.