Creativity, Confidence & Kindness

paint-1273070_1920I made a commitment to myself to make more art. It’s been a round-about path to where I am at right now, but as things often do, I seem to have come full circle; as I am back on the blog. Lately, I’ve taken a step back from the blog. Simply because I was getting a low-grade buzzing in my ear that was making it feel like a bit of chore.

This, combined with some real nastiness on the internet, led me to think it’s not really a place I want to hang out. The online blogging community can be incredibly warm and embracing, full of people who want to engage and connect. But it can sometimes be crowded out by acidic, ambitious people who behave poorly; just like real life I guess.

So it’s probably safe to say that I was feeling a bit jaded by it all. I decided to scale back. I went to Twitter as a source for interesting and new articles, and I’ve revisited Instagram, which I am newly enamoured with. Things have a changed a bit on Instagram in the last year, and I’m quite liking the way it rolls. I reduced my visits to Facebook, and am still contemplating disengaging from it entirely.

But I also made a commitment to make time for more art. The lovely Rebecca Johnston – a Scotland-based artist and writer, who is behind Dainty Dora’s Inspiration Emporium, regularly inspires me with her beautiful art work, but also her willingness to experiment and take a risk with her creativity. Have a look at her site, I’m sure she will have the same affect on you.

As part of this commitment to creative time, not just for me, but for the entire family, I have plans to convert our outdoor room into an art space. (In Australia, this room is known as a Bungalow – but not wanting to mislead UK readers, it is more of a freestanding room, like a studio). So very soon we will have a family art studio with all our art supplies out, and available to just wander in and use, without the palaver of setting up and packing away.

In anticipation of this I’ve been trying to be more mindful about creating art, trying to make it a regular part of my week. Here are a few of my dabblings.  img_1729

I read an inspiring article on Brain Pickings (by Maria Popova) this week, on John Cleese and living a creative life. What really resonated was this quote

“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of living.”

Cleese is telling us a very simple truth – creativity is open to everyone – not just a select few who are gifted with artistic talent. Popova’s article details the five factors that Cleese speaks of that can help you become more creative, and of those, confidence is one.


Cleese says

“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”

This little nugget of truth has without a doubt been behind my creative arrested development. I know it, like I know that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is an innate truth.


For my birthday in February, my husband bought me a huge canvas for me to paint on, knowing that I want to paint. But the canvas lies blank and tucked up behind a chair in my bedroom. It lies bare for one reason.


Fear of making a mistake. Of producing something crappy. But safety does not produce great work. Safety, for me, has actually produced nothing.

So in a effort to unshackle the creative fear, I have enrolled in an acrylics workshop at local art studio, Le Studio Art Space. It’s a full day workshop with a focus on abstract acrylics. I have no expectations of what will come of it, but I’ve enrolled with experimentation in mind, and a commitment to having fun with it and finding more confidence, and less fear. All I need to bring is a pallet knife. I don’t own a pallet knife, but the fact that I will very shortly, not only own one of these, but be using one of these, is an exciting prospect.


So with all this pondering on creative living, choosing to live more intentionally, disengaging with those that make me feel cynical about the world, and embracing those that who are kind and make the world a bit more shiny, I’ll throw it out to you.

On this long weekend in Melbourne with time on your side, will you do something lovely, scary and joyful? 


  1. anne Caughey says

    Excellent article Collette…..feel I should be throwing paint at a canvas as I write this. However, I am actually in the middle of painting our old bath….hardly creative but very satisfying I must say. X

    • collette says

      The house jobs are always very satisfying, and painting a bath would be like getting a whole new bathroom! Still definitely worth throwing some paint at a canvas when the bath is done. xx

  2. says

    I absolutely am with you! Doing something creative every day is as important to me as breathing. I miss it when I don’t get a chance. I read that John Cleese article on brain pickings too (how good is Brain Pickings btw?!). Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? Such great insights. One of my fave books about living a creative life.

    • collette says

      Brain Pickings is so great! I do love it, there is always something quality to read on the site. I have read Big Magic – my husband gave it to me for my birthday in February. I might have to revisit it. But I’m finding my overall quality of life improves when I am regularly making art. For so long, I let is disappear from my life, it was only when our Mum was gravely ill (with only days left to live) and my brother bought me some Derwent pencils and and a sketch book, and said to me that I needed to do some art to get through this time, and he remembers how much it used to help me find my equilibrium. A good reminder in the midst of a terrible time.

  3. says

    How inspiring Collette! A reminder of the capacity of fear to stop action for months, years and sometimes a lifetime. I really like the sketch of the chook! I will try and take up your suggestion of doing something (lovely/scary/joyful) over coming couple of days. Thanks.

    • collette says

      Thanks Jo. It is amazing how powerful fear can be! But feeling it and forging on is liberating! Glad you like the chook. Did you get to do something lovely,scary or joyful? I hope so. xx

    • collette says

      Once the studio is set up, it will be great. No barriers – not even fear! I am excited about the development for the kids too. In our busy lives they also get distracted by the busy lives we lead.

  4. Martine says

    Your chook is my favourite. You’ve taken the most brave step. Sharing your art. Nothing stopping you now. Grab it and convert that space. Need any help in setting it up for open ended stuff, I’m here. Nothing would make me happier. Go you xx

    • collette says

      Aww, thanks Martine, you’re lovely. Yep, sharing is a risk, but also liberating. I do love my chook too. I love birds, I’ll keep sharing so you’ll probably see more birds appearing. What’s your favourite bird – I’ll have a crack at drawing it for you. xx

  5. simone ramage says

    Beautiful thanks for sharing Collette xx As a teacher we talk about intentional teaching. I like your notion of actually ‘choosing to live more intentionally’! Sim

  6. says

    Aw Collette – I had bookmarked this to read & what a lovely surprise to see my name appear – thanks so much for the creative plug and I love your latest art, esp the dreamcatcher as that has come up recently in the Get Messy art journal ‘Season of Dreams’. I think paying attention to your dreams is another way to tap into yourself and figure out what you need to do. When is the acrylic workshop? So excited for you & wish I could come along too! Thanks also for the reminder about Brain Pickings – so many emails waiting to be read – and who knew John Cleese had so much good advice?! xxx PS have you listened to Liz G’s ‘Magic Lessons’ podcast? So good & I think you would enjoy them too!

    • collette says

      The acrylics workshop is on November 19th. I can’t wait. I like the idea of paying attention to dreams. I’m loving Brain Pickings, there is always something new and interesting to read on there. I’ve listened to some of the Magic Lessons podcasts, but got a bit distracted by a true crime podcast, so will have to revisit.xx

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