Making Progresss by Working Slower

CathrynWorrell_slowandsteady

My main piece of creative work over the past few weeks has been a single drawing. I originally estimated that it would take me 2 weeks to complete but it’s actually taken 3 weeks from start to finish and sometimes that’s felt a bit frustrating.

During this year’s 100 Day Project I often spent hours each day working on a single illustration. It wasn’t good for me but it became a habit and finding a balance again is trickier than I expected.

Because I’m trying to work at a slower, steadier pace again, I’ve been quite strict about how much time I’ve spent working on this drawing each day. This probably skewed my judgement about how long I’d take to get it finished but luckily there wasn’t a hard deadline.

Mouse Timer

To help keep myself in check, I’ve got back to following the example of my friend, Michael Nobbs, and setting my timer for 20 minutes at a time, with my goal being to spend 20 minutes each day working on the drawing.

Sometimes I’ve done 2 or 3 short work sessions in a day, but more often than not I’ve just spent 20 minutes each day on this piece of work. Not only has this meant that the paint can dry between layers but it’s also allowed me to come back to it each day with fresh eyes, which has probably helped me to avoid making mistakes. It also helps me to keep a gentle sense of momentum with my work so that I can see progress without falling into the unhealthy cycle of boom and bust with my energy that I have a tendency towards.

It can feel really satisfying to work on a piece of work from start to finish in one day. What I’m now realising, though, is that the work I made earlier this year would probably have turned out better if I hadn’t tried to produce quite so much of it, or if I’d at least done what I’ve done in the past and set some sort of boundary in terms of the pace or size of my work.

I’ve now reached a point with my current drawing where I’m feeling ready to start a new piece of work and I’m pleased with the way I’ve approached this one. I think it’s been good for me and also good for the person who will own this drawing.

Now the challenge is to maintain this pace and not slip back into unhelpful habits!

 

By | November 24th, 2017|Creativity|0 Comments

How I’m Experimenting With Scheduled Rest

Planner

Over the past few months my energy levels have been quite up and down. Every so often I feel like they’ve stabilised but after a week or two I have another slump. Earlier in the year I realised that one reason for this was my 100 Days of Hand Lettering project.

I worked on 100 Days of Patterns last year with no problems but this year I didn’t set any boundaries for my project, which resulted in me trying to create a finished (often digitised) piece of work every single day.

That would have been exhausting for anyone but it’s a really bad thing to do when you live with a chronic illness that limits your energy. I was planning my weeks and making sure I only did 1-3 things each day but sometimes just one of those things would take hours to complete and I wasn’t taking that into account.

So from this week I’m doing 2 new things:

  1. Planning my days in 1 hours chunks of time
  2. Including rest time in my plan

One hour chunks seem like an easy way to divide up the day, and it might be that some things that I do don’t take a full hour. But it creates a bit of breathing space so my plan doesn’t feel too regimented. So I might put ‘drawing’ into one chunk of my day but only spend 20 minutes drawing, giving me the rest of that hour to potter or pack my art materials away. I’m working on the assumption that things will take much longer than I might assume and creating room for that.

Something that I’m not very good about including in my days is rest. Now and again when I feel tired I’ll decide on the spur of the moment to take a nap but I don’t take pre-emptive rest. In other words, I don’t rest as a way to avoid overdoing things, but only when I feel like I’ve already done too much.

So my focus this week is to schedule (and take) one hour of rest every single day. That might be a nap, sitting down with my feet up, doing some very gentle restorative yoga (lying down) or something else that allows me to take a break and relax. 2 boundaries I’ve set for myself with this are:

  1. My rest has to be for at least 1 hour
  2. It cannot involve any screen time – so no watching Netflix, or scrolling through stuff on my phone.

I’ll re-assess things at the end of this week and see what worked well and what could be improved. Right now I don’t have a planner so I wrote down all the things I want to do in my notebook and then created a wall chart for the week.

Scheduled rests feel like a good way to take better care of myself right now. Rather than trying to produce as much work as I possibly can, I’m focusing on trying to keep myself as well as I possibly can so that I’m able to live and produce work in a healthier, more sustainable way.

What could you do to take better care of yourself this week?

By | October 30th, 2017|Life, M.E|0 Comments

New Greeting Card in the Shop

CathrynWorrell_LinoPrintHat_Card

I’m excited to let you know today that there is a new greeting card available to purchase in my Etsy shop. I designed this one with Christmas in mind but it is blank inside so can be used for lots of different occasions.

Unlike the other cards in my shop, each of these cards will be printed by hand using a lino block that I carved. That means that no two cards will be 100% identical.

I also have a special offer available now on ALL cards in my shop so make sure you take advantage of that with the holiday season fast approaching.

Find my new card, the special offer and all my other cards, prints, notebooks and original works in my shop.

 

By | October 23rd, 2017|Design, Shop|0 Comments

Nordic Travels

Gothenburg

Last week I got back from a trip to Scandinavia. We travelled between Sweden, Denmark and the Faroe Islands over 11 days. It was fun but totally exhausting – thankfully this was the pared down version of the trip we’d originally planned, otherwise I might not have made it home in one piece!

Gothenburg

Travelling around so much when you have M.E is hard work (I’ve still not recovered from it) so I’d anticipated not being able to see and do as much as I would have liked, but I did get a little bit of a taste of each place we visited and would like to go back to some of them some time.

Gothenburg

We flew to Gothenburg on the Sunday evening and spent 3 days pottering around the city before we caught a train down to Copenhagen airport. I enjoyed seeing some of Sweden by train and after the 3 hour journey we caught a flight to the Faroe Islands.

Faroe

This was probably our longest day of travel and it was a bit of an adventure. The landing at Vagar airport was one of the rockiest I’ve ever experienced but we landed safely and then caught the bus to Torshavn. By this time it wasn’t too late but it was pitch dark and we were the only 2 passengers on the airport bus travelling 49 km to the capital city.

Faroe

We spent 5 days in Torshavn, which is one of the world’s smallest capital cities, so it feels more like a small town than a city.

Faroe

The weather here was typically Faroese, which meant lots of rain but some glimpses of sunshine. We plodded around the town quite a bit and saw some of the traditional turf-roofed buildings in an area called Tinganes, which is where most of the parliament buildings and the Prime Minister’s house are.

Faroe

The bus journey back to the airport was in the morning so we were able to see where we were going, and we weren’t the only people on the bus either! The airport is on a different island from the capital so getting there involves travelling through an under sea tunnel and the airport is so small that once we arrived there were no planes to be seen at all. There was only ever one plane there at a time – it would land, drop people off, collect some more passengers and leave again before the next one arrived.

Copenhagen

From Faroe we flew to Copenhagen and I loved what I saw of this city, which unfortunately wasn’t very much because by this point I was completely exhausted. We were there for 2 full days, one of which we spent indoors resting and avoiding the heavy rain.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen is definitely somewhere I want to go back to. It’s a very pretty, laid back  and friendly city and the place we stayed was very quiet but central so it was easy and quick to get to and from the airport too.

Copenhagen

I’m really glad to be home again and settling back into a normal routine. While I was on holiday my Etsy shop stayed open but shipping times were increased. They’re back to normal now and this week I’ll be sending out the orders that were placed while I was away. I did lots of drawing on holiday too so I’ll also share some of those with you soon.

By | October 11th, 2017|Life, Travel|0 Comments

Urban Sketching in Highgate

CathrynWorrell_KarlMarx_Grave

Earlier this month I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers, London and we sketched in Highgate, in north London. Almost everyone seemed to spend most of the day in Highgate Cemetery, which is where I sketched Karl Marx’s grave, probably one of the most famous there.

CathrynWorrell_Highgate_Cemetery

I also managed to get in another quick sketch from a spot that’s not on the main ‘trail’ in the cemetery and it was very peaceful. This was in my Hahnemuhle grey sketchbook using an HB pencil and a 0.3 Unipin pen.

There’s not much shelter from the elements in Highgate cemetery but we were really lucky with the weather. There was a thunder storm but that held off until the end of the day, by which time most of us were under the shelter outside a cafe back in Waterlow Park.

CathrynWorrell_Pond_Square_Highgate

After lunch and before the rain started I made a start an a third sketch. I ran out of time, and although part of me would like to finish it off at home using a photo for reference, I quite like leaving some of my urban sketches unfinished because they tell the story of the day.

Our next outing’s planned for Spitalfields Market on 14 October so come and join us!

By | September 27th, 2017|Drawing|0 Comments