Painting again – Lessons from creativity

“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself” Maria Montessori

Malachite sunbird on a Kniphofia

“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself”. I came across this beautiful quote the other day by the founder of the Montessori school system – Maria Montessori. It got me thinking once again about the power of creativity and why it is so important to live a creative life. This need not be as a formal ‘painter’, ‘writer’ or ‘sculptor’ as we traditionally like to label creative people. It may be as simple as finding enjoyment in everyday life experiences – cooking, gardening, rearranging the furniture in the living room!

The life lessons learned from the metaphors that present themselves through creativity have become, (and are continually becoming) braided into my being, my identity and the way I confront this thing called ‘life’, with all its tumultuous ups and downs.

Dartanian aka ‘Blacky jack’ contemplating lifes’ tumultuous ‘ups and downs’

It is not the end result in which the fulfillment lies – fulfillment and sustenance are to be found in the actual process of making and creating. First the inspiration, the idea. That is usually the easy part. Getting started is sometimes easy, but often one is confronted by various obstacles – procrastination, a sudden wash of fear and self doubt, a lack of time (sometimes genuine), to name a few. Soldiering on, one might realize that one’s initial plan or idea is not working – then back to the ‘drawing board’ so to speak. Time to reassess and make changes. If I am painting it is usually the composition which suddenly decides, out of the blue, not to work anymore! Problem solving is a huge part of the creative process.

Perseverance and discipline are required too. One has to have a healthy serving of these two essentials. Courage, one can never have too much of. Sometimes it has to be dredged up from the very depths of your being but it is important to dose oneself regularly with it, as it is often unfortunately short lived. The saying “fake it until you make it” is not just some catchy rhyme to say – it is an act of cognitive behavioral therapy!

Of late I have been painting again, and loving it. Painting on to glass has led to other doors opening including a few commissions. These botanical paintings have just been completed and are on their way to their new home in Gauteng.

The Yellow Arum Lilly – ‘Zantedeschia petlandii’ is a joyful sunny yellow arum which is found mainly around the Lydenburg area in Mpumalanga. The numbers of this particular lilly are sadly declining due to it being harvested and sold for horticulture. The attractive yellow swathes of the flowers make it sought after by gardeners and collectors. This for me was a joy to paint.

Zantedeschia petlandii

Agapanthus inerptus or ‘drooping aggie’ was also part of the trio. This lovely South African plant is common in cultivation and there are a few hybrids with beautiful blue and violet hues.

Agapanthus inerptus – drooping agapanthus

Last but not least the indigenous grass orchid – Eulophia ovata. I have come across this lovely orchid whist walking in the Drakensberg, albeit the yellow one. I thoroughly enjoyed painting this beauty.

Eulophia ovata – indigenous grass orchid
Trio complete and ready for their new home

6 thoughts on “Painting again – Lessons from creativity

  1. These are beautiful paintings which will doubtless be treasured in their new home. Do you paint from photographs? I agree with all you say about creativity – similar hoops and barriers snag my creative writing – yet it is an important part of who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anne – I really enjoyed painting them. Yes mainly from photographs and preferably my own if I can. Many of our indigenous plants and flowers cannot be picked or removed so photographs it is. I agree – creative expression is deeply linked to being human and we learn so much from using it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your description of the creative process and I agree that being creative can inhere in many activities not just those formally designated as “art”. Your paintings are great and really convey something of the essence of the flowers and plants.
    Oh and by the way, I also agree that we have a lot to learn from cats. especially those who confront life’s ups and downs with such grace and gracefulness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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