Say ‘Yes’!

The blog has been quiet.

I’ve written few words.

Instead, I’ve used a brush (and other odd tools).

Flora Bowley and Whitney Freya have been my inspiration. “Just go to the canvas and paint whatever comes up.”

But what if nothing is coming up? This is the problem I had with writing. Now it was happening with painting.

I went to the canvas anyway and started with a colour I liked, just putting the brush to paint to canvas.

Sometimes I inspired myself — colours and brushstrokes coalesced and magic happened. The only way I could replicate this was by not thinking. Just feeling.

What did colour did I feel like using next?

What shape did I feel like making?

What tool felt right to use?

Did I feel I need to wait and let things settle and dry, or continue on?

After doing this for a few months, I wanted to expand a bit and do something different on the canvas. I wanted to poke or explore other corners of my mind. Maybe even develop some technique. (Gasp!)

I ordered a couple of Flora’s books and roamed Pinterest for inspiration. I even did a couple of free Bold School videos.

Thanks Bold School!

Then, when I tried to achieve something on canvas I saw elsewhere, of course it never turned out the way I wanted it to.

My expectations were dashed, my inspiration shrivelled.

Nothing was coming up inside me and I couldn’t achieve what was outside of me.


Prior to following the The Bold School videos, I’d never painted a face. After following the videos, I was amazed the faces looked human.

Why did this work and other things not?

I trusted that by following the video and Charla’s expert hand, everything I was doing on the canvas would work out eventually. I had released my expectations.

Lo and behold, it worked.

So what was happening when I tried to emulate other artists? Expectations set in. I heard my inside voice saying, “No, that’s not what she’s doing there. I need to do this instead.”

I was saying, “no”.

I was making a judgement.

With the Bold School videos, I was trusting, reserving judgement. I was going along for the ride. I was saying, “yes”.

And this is exactly what was happening with the paintings I had done that ‘worked’. I had put my brain on hold and just listened to what I felt. I stopped thinking and just played.

When I took a breather yesterday and just sat and looked at the trees, I discovered this also applied to my life. I am an expert at saying “no”.

“No, I shouldn’t do that.”

“No, I shouldn’t buy that.”

“No, I shouldn’t eat that.”

When did I say “yes”? Not often.

I had put so many restrictions on my life that there wasn’t a whole lot I felt I could do. Had this impacted my writing? Maybe. Was this impacting my painting? I decided to find out.

The desire to paint certain shapes, use certain colours was haunting me. But, I thought, no, Flora does this, Whitney does that. So I was saying ‘no’ to what I wanted to do.

Fuck that.

Who cares what I paint? I’m painting for me. I’ll paint what I want.

So I started to say “yes”.

YES! (not yet finished….)

And suddenly I saw things begin to change.

The results I started to see were approaching what I wanted, only they were with my style, my voice.

I can now see that saying ‘no’ likely had an impact on my writing. I was saying ‘no’ to plot lines or events that didn’t seem to fit an overall plan in my head. I was forcing character arcs into my own vision. Of course, this overall plan or vision was based on the traditional view of a novel-based story. I wasn’t listening to what my characters wanted to do, what the story wanted to do, and what felt good.

I was thinking way too much.

I needed to just go along for the ride. But most of all, I needed to write what felt right. Who cares if it’s fit for an audience, if it does or doesn’t sell? The reason I started writing (and painting) was for me and me alone. And that’s when writing and painting felt good.

Will I ever get back to creative writing? I honestly don’t know.

I do know that painting is helping me reclaim my sense of self. If that leads to creative writing, all the better. If it doesn’t, then I’m learning to enjoy the ride, right here, right now.

Further exploration

Flora Bowley: Creative Revolution and The Art of Aliveness


Bold School

Jacob Nordby: The Creativity Cure

Lauren Sapala: The INFJ Writer

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