Taking time and making time

How many of us blame our lack of time for our lack of creative output?

Drawing of house behind fence in rainy weather

I started this drawing last week while waiting under a café awning for a rainstorm to break. I chipped away at it bit by bit during the week, and finished it today during my lunchbreak.

In a few minutes here and there, I got something accomplished. Now I have to remind myself: large projects can be tackled this way!

In her wonderful book about writing, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott quotes EL Doctorow:

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

And I agree with Anne when she continues: “This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” If we refuse to start making things for lack of time, nothing gets done at all.

If you’re still stuck for time, here are some helpful ideas from the also wonderful website Tiny Buddha: 10 Tips to Nurture Your Creative Life: Making Time and Space.

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She feels as if she’s in a play

I was drawing at a sidewalk cafe table during lunch yesterday and suddenly realised I was in Penny Lane. Or the Truman Show, I’m not sure which.

pencil and texta street scene drawing in small sketchbook

Lamppost on Gawler St, Mt Barker, hot & windy day

I was up in the Adelaide Hills, in a small town where my work has an office. I love going there — I can walk to any of a few small cafés for a decent coffee or some cheap / good lunch.

Yesterday there was a video crew filming from the sidewalk near the cafe. I looked around to see what they were shooting, and it was nothing, as far as I could see.

I mean, it’s a idyllic little main street. But then I realised how busy the place is for a small town. People are always out walking, eating, walking dogs. Pretty trees shade the one-way street, and the parking spots are always full. Traffic moves calmly. The fireman rushes in from the pouring rain, yadda yadda.

It’s eerily close to perfect.

Not long after this crossed my mind, a busker wandered up and politely offered some other sidewalk diners a choice from his “song menu” (what a good idea!). He played The ABC Song for a toddler at the table and Paul Kelly for the parents.

I finished lunch (and sketching) before I had a chance, but he caught up with me a few minutes later over the road at my favourite local coffee spot. So, I picked out a tune (but restrained myself from adding harmonies) and read his pleasant personal manifesto while he played:

A desire to find balance on the tightrope of ego and expression led him to forgo normalcy for the nomadic. Roaming throughout Australia he chooses transformation and expression over possessions and attachment.

You can’t escape the idyll here. Very strange.

Nerve

I had a request today for a selfie…

A nude selfie! The NOIVE!

Here’s something I prepared earlier.

Texta self-portrait in sketchbook

Crooked selfie

I like “searching” lines and don’t try to get it perfect. I’d rather draw and re-draw–interesting things happen while you are looking for the right line.

It does take a bit of nerve to draw selfies. Also the ability to sit awkwardly still for a fairly long period of time.

The relic

I didn’t draw today but I did uncover a relic in an old sketchbook.

pencil drawing of derelict building

The Relic, 15 October 1997
Kermode Street, North Adelaide

I drew this old house two months after moving to Adelaide, a few weeks after Princess Di’s car crash, a month after the city’s only newspaper (the Murdoch family’s first) went from broadsheet to tabloid, and several weeks before the building got knocked down.

While I was drawing, an elderly woman with a small shaggy dog stopped to peer over my shoulder. “Oh, you’re drawing The Relic,” she said, in a beautifully drawly English accent. Her name was Molly, her dog was Chou-Chou (short for “Petite Chou-Fleur”, aka “My Little Cauliflower), and they lived just across the road from me.

We chatted for a bit before she and Chou-Chou headed off up the street, and later that day she brought me some lemons from her backyard tree. I took them back a day later in the form of lemon squares. She was my first friend in my new neighbourhood.

pencil sketch of figure walking dog

Molly and Chou-Chou

A brief beginning

I have had very little time to play music this week. Or draw. I did both, though.

Tonight my soul was feeling like this:

sunset over water

Evening pinkness in the west

And I drew this picture of two lovey-dovey pencil pine trees in my neighborhood that are always deeply engaged in conversation:

pencil drawing on post-it note

Pencil pines shooting the breeze

They are totally lovey dovey lovey dovey all of the time.