Tag Archives: Be your own hero

Inspiration Monday: Creativity is Catching

Top.BMPToday we had the pleasure of attending the opening of an art exhibition by a friend, Martin Battye FRSA.

Martin is a pal of my husband’s from the cricket club, but he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, and his paintings are vibrant, vigorous and exciting.  It is always a delight to get to see his work, and today’s opening was no exception.  Martin is using oil colours on paper at the moment, and his pure pigments, textures and abstract designs are fascinating.  Scattered around the gallery were also a selection of his recent sketchbooks, and for all the wonder of the major pieces, I found these the most inspiring.  They show an artist’s process, the act of creativity itself, caught as if in aspic.  They contain the genus of the bigger paintings, as well as scribbled thoughts, poignant quotes and articles cut from newspapers and magazines.

I came away aching.

I want to do that, my heart said.

It’s been so long since I used my paints, since I dared to draw.

Lately, I have been remembering the two years of my art ‘A’ level course, when I started discovering other artists, the revelation of abstract art, the earthquake of Modernist artists, architects and designers like Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, Matisse and Rothko.  I felt so excited, so fascinated by their ideas and the pared-down beauty they created.  I was never able to liberate myself from the tyranny of the figurative, though, as they had, nor from my own self-abusive perfectionism.  I couldn’t, and still can’t, make a mess, try things out, paint outside the lines.

But what would happen if I DARED?

What would happen if I could BE MY OWN HERO?

The truth is that I want to create abstract art.  I want to make paintings that please me as much as Martin’s do.  I want to have his exuberance, his extravagant variety and colour, his sense of fun.

I keep thinking of Jamie Ridler’s exhortation to not judge the art you are called upon to make.  To just do it.

So I have decided to try and find out if I can recover that sense of adventure I had went I was 18 and reading about Modern Art for the first time.  I want to know if I can finally overcome the Nigel voice in my head that says I can’t get messy or paint outside the lines.  I want to find out, one tiny baby step at a time, if I can be the artist who lives inside me, safe in the knowledge that that artist will feed the writer, and vice versa.

Inspired by Martin’s creative process, EXPLORATION is my word for March.  I’m going to explore my creativity and have some fun.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

(If you are in Norwich, do visit Mandell’s Gallery in Elm Hill to enjoy Martin Battye’s wonderful work, open Mon – Sat, 10am to 5pm.)

Happy Creating,


Developing Superpowers

I was reading a post at Rightbrain Planner this morning, and these words jumped out at me:

“Planning habits are part of personal assessment for me.  Part of knowing what my skills are and being my own hero.”


Those words blew me away.  How is this even possible?  Can I be my own hero?  Can anybody?  And if I were, how would it feel?  Would it feel as incredibly freeing as it sounds?

Blogger and artist Andrea Sher often asks: what is your superpower?

Or as the ancient nun Jiko puts it in Ruth Ozeki’s transcendent novel, A Tale for the Time Being:

“‘Nattchan, I think it would be best for you to have some true power.  I think it would be best for you to have a superpower.’

She was talking in Japanese, but she used the English word, superpower, only when she said it, it sounded like supah-pawah.  Really fast. Supapawa.  Or more like SUPAPAWA-!”

Page 176.

I’d like to have a SUPAPAWA.  I’d like to be my own hero.

Old Jiko teaches her great-granddaughter Nao how to find her SUPAPAWA through sitting Zazen, a Zen Buddhist meditation.  Obviously thats one way to go.  The other seems to be to follow the words painted above the entrance to the sanctuary of the legendary Oracle of Apollo at Delphi:

Know Thyself

I truly believe that the only way to do that is to ruthlessly explore ourselves through creativity.  Through writing and painting, journalling and making, through dance, music, theatre and the culinary arts, and whatever else we can create out of the raw materials of our souls.  That way, by fearlessly adventuring into our creativity, maybe we really can become our own heroes.

If i had to say what my SUPAPAWAs are, I would probably mention two:  the knack I have of making people smile, and writing.

Oh, and I make a really mean gluten-free chocolate brownie!

What are your SUPAPAWAs?  Could you be your own hero?

Happy Creating,