It may come as no surprise to hear me say that my creativity seems to have plummeted since giving birth. Some days I feel like it was torn out of me when they extracted my placenta. I find it a real struggle to balance being a mother and being an artist, a challenge I'm sure many mamas identify with. And while I'm not really all that surprised at the revelation that it's difficult to maintain all of these compartmentalized parts of oneself whilst rearing a child, I am sort of shocked that it's taken me nearly two years to understand why: I've neglected creativity. Duh.
I took Maisie for a walk down a familiar path and, as usual, was busy filling silences with "Look at that birdie!" and "What colors do you see?". Then we had to change course unexpectedly and along the way I found some treasures (trash) that I thought would be great to incorporate into a collage at some point. I picked them up and put them in the basket under the stroller. It was as if the simple act of picking this stuff up made me mute. Immediately, I stopped filling the silences; I allowed my mind to think of how I might use these found objects, which had been wonderfully distressed by nature. I could imagine how I'd attach them to them to a surface and how I would build layers on top of the objects and then how I'd sand those layers back and add more layers and sand them back and what objects I'd put on top of those layers and...
I was lost in creative thought for at least half an hour. Which, let me tell you, feels like an eternity when you're not used to it! It felt so invigorating to allow my mind to create artwork while my toddler was happily and quietly enjoying nature. It was then that I realized that this is how my ideas for projects have always been born: by walking quietly in nature and allowing my mind to wander. Oftentimes, I'll have created a complete piece of art in my head from the ground up, so to speak. I'll have come home so inspired that I'll either jot my ideas down in a sketchbook or immediately sit down to my table and start working. But in my attempt to help my child discover the world around her, I fill silences which inhibits my own creative thought and possibly hers.
Having this revelation was much needed and I feel so grateful that I stumbled it upon it. But now comes the challenge of finding the time to actualize these thoughts in the studio. Maybe it will be like my notion of lost thinking time: it's just sitting there waiting for me to use it.