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Seeking the flow

In addition to creating work for my upcoming group exhibition 'Wetland Stories', I'm working on a piece for an exhibition opening at Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah in September titled 'Stillness'. This work will be very different from any of my previous works, incorporating technologies new to me. It is inspired by my personal response to water and recent scientific research results concluding that human physical and mental health is fundamentally intertwined wit the health of our natural environment.

With a trillion ideas, tasks, lists & deadlines running around in my head, sometimes it's hard to find my creative flow. For me there are multiple steps in the creative process.

The first step usually takes a lot of thinking time and brain space. There's not a lot of tangible evidence of work. When I've got an idea, I spend a lot of time thinking and refining it in my head before I put anything on paper. I've found this process can't be hurried. While most of my works use similar materials, each one presents its own challenges that are unique as the idea. I often spend weeks visualising the finished work, working out which techniques will give the desired look and effect.

If there are too many distractions, interruptions, life dramas or external draws on my time, I find it very hard to find the quiet my mind needs for this part of my creative process.

I've found that walking down the hill from my house, to stand on the estuary foreshore helps me find some of the inner peace I need. I stand on the sand as the water gently laps the shore. When I do this, it seems like a weight is lifted off my shoulders, I take deep breaths and feel the tension, stress and worry wash away.

Ironically, for a while I was struggling to get into the zone, to find the 'stillness' to tap into the skills I needed to create the work for the 'Stillness' exhibition. The research was done, I'd collected most of the elements, yet there was chaos and panic in my head. This level of stress was affecting my sleep, my efficacy during the day and even my physical health. Last week with the onset of a diverticulitis flare-up triggered by stress, I decided enough was enough!

Self-care needed to go back on the agenda.... daily walks, looking at the water of the estuary or the waves at the beach. Take time to breathe.....

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