Let's Make a Creative Mess!

Hi Fellow Art Friends,

Apologies for not writing on my blog in recent months. I have been taking a sabbatical from writing and concentrating on family/work/life balance. Some days I just focus on breathing to get through the juggling act! I’m sure many of you feel the same? Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, they teach me so many wonderful life lessons but they are active boys who require my total attention at times.

Delicous Margan veg

Delicous Margan veg

Various sketchbooks in process

Various sketchbooks in process

Last week I posted an image of my cache of sketchbooks which I’ve collected from my recent collaboration with Margan Family Wines. It’s been lovely drawing weekly in their garden; documenting the plethora of organic veg and fruit. It’s a visual feast for the eyes. It it a nice reminder of my "In Season" series too.

A Facebook friend commented that her daughter fills her sketchbooks with drawings too. It made me realise how special childhood is to our artistic freedom and a particular life lesson my kids have taught me.

I encourage my boys to draw outside the lines. Experiment with shapes, colours and marks. Play with the layering of colours and show the journey of the work. All the time simply having fun with the process.

It’s important to celebrate the process of making art and be present in the moment. Try not to have a fixed attachment to a goal or to make the work resemble something figurative. I feel young kids love this style of working. We were all a Picasso or Van Gogh in our childhood.

Our home office with the boys artworks displayed on the wall.

Our home office with the boys artworks displayed on the wall.

It’s when kids reach high school that they can give up. When their drawings don’t “look real” they tend to stop trying. This is when we should really encourage our kids to keep going. Keep looking. Keep experimenting, especially with sketchbooks. Try not to be tied to a fixed outcome, just let go and be free.

Celebrate their imperfections and the fact that they are making a creative mess. It’s such a valuable life lesson. I love how the act of art making can teach us many life lessons.

Let’s face it, none of us are perfect! (Eek, did I say that out loud!)

I love reading your comments. If you like this post please comment/ like below or even share with friends.

Yours in art,

Bec x

Work can be seen at Margan Restaurant at Margan Family Wines, Milbrodale Rd Broke, Hunter Valley,

Keeping my sanity!

Juggling family life can be a challenge especially when you are creative. Sometimes when the need arises and the creative urge is calling, you are mid-flight on the school run or helping with homework. The school holidays are the most challenging - play dates, bored children and Mum’s café always open.

The summer before last I was determined not to surrender to the humdrum off domestic life and amble about in creative frustration but find a way to paint/draw if I had a few minutes of ‘me’ time.

As a result I organised a quick go-to kit which I could whip out at a moment’s notice and paint straight away. A kit which could fit into a bag and I could carry anywhere – hassle free and discrete. Invention out of necessity. Necessity for my sanity!

So I ‘invented’ my plein air pencil case. Borrowing my son’s pencil case I sought out my essential art equipment which could fit easily inside. Quality of products wasn’t a priority. My purpose was compact and quick access. After a few trials of my plein air pencil case, I found I kept including the following things:

What is in my current pencil case.

Pencil case
2B Pencil
Stanley knife/ or pencil sharpener
Small watercolour sketchbook (300gsm)
Small set of watercolours
3 small brushes
Felt-tip pen
Small cardboard view finder

Since my invention I have completed 5 small sketchbooks and found my sanity has returned. I only need 10-15 minutes to draw. I draw anything from landscape to still life. Labouring away at a work isn’t the goal. Capturing a moment is the purpose. I keep all the works. Even the not successful ones, as they serve as the most important learning tool.

My method is to draw a QUICK pencil outline, then I use watercolour in a relaxed approach. Once dry, I draw over the top with a black marker. The marker is great as each line is a commitment. You can’t rub it out! If you have been a student you will know how much I dislike erasures, so I only use it under extreme situations. I like to see the journey of all the marks made. These marks make the work more interesting.


I will be including this kit in my suitcase when I go to Italy in June.

I hope this helps any frustrated creative soul!  Keep the pencil case in your bag and take it out when the urge arises. You could be on the train on the way to work or waiting for the kids while they do sport. The possibilities are endless.

I’d love to hear about your successes with your little kit. Please feel free to drop me a line.

Yours in art,

Bec x