Today is the darkest (shortest) day of the year, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. I have the twinkle lights turned on in my studio and I've lit a couple candles. My Christmas orders have all been wrapped up and sent out.
I'm in a holiday mood and am ready just to snuggle in and take a bit of time off.
I wasn't going to write a blog post today, but I've been doing a lot of thinking and I'd like to share some of my thoughts with you in the hope that they will inspire and encourage you in your own creativity.
It's partly the winding down of the year that's brought about all this thinking. Reviewing the past year. Planning for the coming year. It's a mixed bag of feelings. Exciting (I love planning for the new year!), but at times a bit uncomfortable. Each of us can be our own worst critic. Sometimes critical thoughts or comparison can make us strive to be and do more. At other times they can cripple us into inaction.
We can't let that happen.
On Monday I shared a photo of a watercolor quilt block I recently painted. I had painted some before, for the 30 Paintings 30 Days challenge. And it's interesting to note that painting quilt blocks has been in the back of my mind for a long time.
I remembered disliking the blocks I'd painted for the challenge, but when I got them out and set them up on my table, I couldn't really see why.
Although I'd been wanting to paint quilt blocks, it hasn't been something I've pursued and as I worked on creating some this time, I listened to my thoughts. They were telling me that this was a waste of time. Of paint. Of paper.
I worked on them anyway, determined to banish the hesitancy I've been feeling around my art lately. I realized how important it is to let ourselves play, to investigate ideas about which we're curious, to make for the sake of making.
In the midst of all these thoughts I read a post on Dana Barbieri's blog that reinforced my thinking. Creative people need to be creative. (And I truly think that all of us are creative). Not everything we make or do will be a "Success". But that isn't the point. Creating is the point. Each bit of creativity leads us to something new. It shapes us and allows us to develop our skills. It brings us joy and lets us be who we truly are.
And so I'm asking you to let your light shine, today on the darkest day of the year, and every day.
Don't listen to your inner critic. Don't listen to exterior critics, either. Doing something creative is never a waste of time (or paint or paper). Trying new things and playing with ideas (no matter what they are) is good for you. In fact, it's essential.
Wishing you a lovely solstice.