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Joyful Creative Life Blog Articles
Written & Illustrated by: Tanya J. de Wet

Play, a creative outlet for fun

As a little encouragement or permission to be creative is in order. You have my full support when it comes to carving out time from your busy day to play on a page in your Sketchbook.

Does this mean we neglect the rest of our lives by only spending time on one, two or even three pages? Or what about a whole day on one thing...

I would say that it depends on a few guidelines, but first figure out your why?

If you are learning, then yes.

Repeat the subject on multiple levels by incorporate different tools & supplies to elaborate on one subject and of course maintain balance.

When you are prepping for a larger project, it is wise to spend enough time in the planning phases to make sure you have a clear direction to follow in order to save time and of course maintain balance.

What about the reason that trips people into guilt?

How much time can you spend on a creative pursuit that allows your mental wellbeing? To that I would say: “Spend more time than you think you need because you probably need it more that you realise you do."

To give you some perspective on this topic, keep your eye on the outcome of this option, which is mental wellbeing. And isn't your mental wellbeing important enough for the purpose of spending more time in a relaxed state simply to balance out all the stress? Of course it is & the very reason why I continue to be an advocate for creative play as an outlet for many aspects of our physical, mental & emotional triggers.

To fully engage your total mind & become absorbed into a creative practice that leads to mental wellbeing, we need to escape into a longer session. It will enable the mind to relax, switch gears & become refocused on a little distraction instead of the things that brought you to the practice in the first place. Afterall, escaping form the thought patterns & worrisome aspects are the reasons you may want to continue to pursue a creative practice or some kind of escapism in the place of another less appealing bad habit.

"With any creative practice, it’s the formation of newly chosen habits that allow us to engage in the desire to come to the table, to sit down with the Sketchbook or Journal & just be in the moment where nothing else matters but what we are feeling."

- Tanya J. de Wet

It’s the perfect time to disengage from what’s going on in our lives & then spend the first few minutes or so to bring our full awareness to the blank page. Now, this is not the time to think about the scary blank page, instead begin to reflect on your feelings, the sensations in your body & your tumbling mind. Grab hold of those turning thoughts & bring them towards a slower pace at the very least.

Things we can look out for:

- Am I thinking myself into a frenzy over some past event?

- Am I doing something to my mind that projects my thoughts way into the future?

- Am I present with myself?

By the time you’ve realised that your thoughts pushed you into these troubling situations, you are more present already. Your ability to see those runaway thoughts for what they are… just runaway thoughts. So, at this moment you become more focused & pronounced in the direction of finding a solution to what going on inside of your head by bringing those running thoughts to one focused point on a page.

So, every time a thought runs off with your mind, bring it back & begin to play with it to see how you can regain control of all that is happening in the train of thoughts before & after something pops up in your mind.

How do we bring ourselves back to focus, you may ask? Well, you can ask yourself a question out loud & it can be as simple as: “What am I thinking now?”

Being clear about what stresses you out is an indication of understanding your inner workings & what you can expect to resolve in those first few moments you do have some clarity.

Now, before you begin to think that this is going to be hard, just remember that it is only a few minutes before you can completely let go & be with the truest version of yourself. You know, the one without the hang-ups & shizz. It takes a minute or two to become super focused & then the rest of those wondering thoughts melt away as you step into the spaces where your heart can sing.

Now you have the Sketchbook open, you are ready to paint something... now what?

That's okay, the next step is to choose a few colours. Choose the ones you love. They can be your favourites as always, but they can also be something out of the ordinary & unique combination or something you haven't tried before. How about a colour that matches to the current situation you may want to attract into your life? Like for instance the blues can relate to feelings of calm. While pink tend to be used to embody softness or peace & yellow generally indicates utter joy!

Its well worth looking into a little colour therapy or chromotherapy for health benefits when it comes to a creative practice that focus on inner bliss, like today's play on a page article. I promise to tell you more about it in next weeks Blog, but for now, let’s get back to playing in your Sketchbooks.

Okay, so you’ve grabbed your favourite colours & you have your Sketchbook, tools & supplies ready… now what?

My easy way to begin is with an object in hand & the shadow it casts on the Sketchbook page.

To give you a better understanding of how this works, let’s look at today’s video. In it I’ll show you how to hold your object to give you a good shadow to work from & then using watercolours to place the colours into the watery puddle. This is so much fun & a great start for beginners, a wonderful practice for students & certainly adaptable for the advanced artist too.

Here we saw that the focus is never on the results, but rather on the process of making the marks while watching the water play with the colours. This result is based on the paper you use, yet, so many interesting effects can be achieved with a variety of papers, but the most rewarding ones come from the use of the 300gsm 100% cotton watercolour paper. It is made for the movement of water & pigment across the surface & very few other surfaces have the same satisfying effect. Although the Moleskine watercolour Sketchbooks are amazing, I often make my own Sketchbooks from high quality Artist Grade Watercolour cotton paper. There are a few options for Sketchbooks inside the Sketchbook Lovers Membership already where you can learn more about that process of making your own Sketchbooks.

Much like the water plays with the pigments on the pages, so do our thought wonder in the sea of mixed emotions. While you allow the creative process to take you where it needs to go, the need to control the outcome dissipates just as the water evaporates from the pages. It is the perfect amalgamation between relaxation & the wonder of discovering something new with each sitting. You are literally getting to know yourself a little better every time. Leading up to self-mastery over years, there is something great to be said about discovering so many aspects of your inner workings & knowing who you are becoming on a Soul level.

If you haven't taken to a Sketchbook with your paint yet, then I would nudge you towards it & when you have... congratulations! You’ve just proved to yourself that playing is an integral part of the creative process & that you can absolutely allow it to become part of an every day process where you’ll learn a little something new about your own abilities & how your supplies can surprise you along the way. Within each session a new discovery, not just about creativity, but also about your thinking can reveal itself as you take responsibility for your wellbeing.

By now, I’m hoping that you’ll feel inspired to revisit the Sketchbook Retreat again or discover it for the first time. With today's video & insights it will be easier than ever to actually start the process or complete the short lessons if you've signed up for it before.

Go ahead & make some time for yourself every day, you are worth it!

As a reminder to play in your Sketchbook, you can download & print the Art Print at home. As always, just right click & save it to your device.

Play in your Sketchbook Art Print

A short session inside a Sketchbook is a truly playful way to ease your worries, relieve stress, discover playfulness & to have a creative outlet for some fun in your life.

Wasn’t this too easy?

Let me know how you found some interesting colour combo’s & tell me all about the pages you filled with those beautiful shadows. To share your Sketchbook pages online, use the hashtags #andsocreative & #sketchbooklovers

Until next time



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