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Warm Weather Creative Plans

I have been out at our lake property for nine days now. The purpose of the holiday has been to work on our cottage. Since we are at the stage of getting the foundation finished, which requires a lot of leveling and a considerable amount of backfilling done with a wheel barrel, I have found my main contribution has been making and cleaning up after meals. We have had the delight of friends and family visiting and providing physical help to my husband, Larry as he works.

The good part about this is that it has left me with a nice amount of free time to do what I want. I have had some great birding days, with dozens of birds dive-bombing our feeder and giving me another lesson in the aviary pecking order. It was also nice to see two young fledged Bald Eagles along with an adult at the far end of Lake Isle when we found time to go canoeing.

The time has also allowed me the opportunity to do some painting and some writing. I spent the first days here reading and writing out quotes for future use. Some of the books I have been reading have been pretty heavy in subject matter and others, like the short story Runaway by Alice Munro have been riveting.

Just being out here with a limited agenda has allowed me time for the kind of creative thinking that is often squelched when I am too busy. Austen Kleon in his book Steal Like an Artist says “Take time to be bored. One time I heard a coworker say, “When I get busy, I get stupid.”.” He goes on to say, “Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing.”

Interestingly, summer is often the time when those of us who live in northern climates are happily engaged in activities we can’t do at other times of the year. Summer is relatively short here, made up somewhat by the longer daylight hours. Still, many of us want to be outside, enjoying nature, having barbecues, going on family holidays, tending the garden, biking, spending time with friends, anything but sitting down and getting to our creative work. We postpone that for those cold winter days when we can’t do any of this fun stuff. Yet at the same time, getting outside and being in nature can facilitate our creativity.

How do summers work for you? Is summer the time you put your paints away until the days grow shorter and the yard takes up less of your time? Or is summer when you sit in your backyard and write or paint? Is it a time when you schedule plain air painting times with friends or do you retreat to your summer property for solitude? What kind of an impact do the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer have on your creative practise? Why not post a comment and get the discussion going.

Note: Check out this article on tips for plein air painting at Swinton’s Art in Calgary

3 Comments.[ Leave a comment ]

  1. Oh – it was written by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  2. My lazy times lately have been spent listening to recorded books. When travelling I like to borrow two or three from the local library, and I always find I get hooked on them for a few months afterward. Now they are even showing up in the studio, but I have to rewind often, either due to getting in the flow or the normal interruptions in a studio space. I really enjoyed “The Signature of All Things” a wonderfully immersive and convincing novel set in the early to mid 1800’s that manages to paint a vivid picture of the emergence of evolutionary theory and the transition from “natural history” to “science” without becoming dull.

    • Listening to audio books while driving is such a great idea. I have done a lot more traveling on my own in the last few years and I always look forward to listening to a good book on the way. “The Signature of All Things” sounds like a good read. It is set in the time when the transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Louse May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and the psychologists William James and Sigmund Freud all lived. And of course Charles Darwin. There is much history to draw on for a novel set in this time period.

      Thanks for sharing Rick.

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