How amazing was the weather this weekend?. I don’t think I’ve ever known it to feel like Spring this early in the year, in February no less!
It’s been so beautiful and just makes me realise the huge impact the weather can have on our mood and subsequently our creativity too.
Everyone works differently of course, you may be way more productive in the darker Autumn – Winter months, when you’d prefer to stay home and hunker down until the crazy wind / rain / snow disappears or you may love to work outside in the sunshine of the Spring and Summer months, taking inspiration from the garden shooting up around you and listening to the birds noisily building their nests.
Each year I appreciate and notice the seasons more and more, especially since we’ve had our dog Barley. Now I’m out most days in all they have to offer, come rain or shine, and whilst I sometimes have to gee myself up and wrap up from head to toe like a mummy against the elements, I always feel better for that fresh air walk and a chance to notice what is going on quietly around me.
Of course my walks are the focal source of inspiration for my @soothedbynature Instagram account and I can really see the seasonal effect as I scroll down the page.
The colours change from bright blue skies, deep yellows and lush greens of Summer to the burnt oranges, sludge browns and golden corn colours of Autumn that in-turn morph into calming soft greys, black silhouettes and icy teals of winter and then finally the vibrant hues of purple crocuses, creamy lambs’ coats and violet bluebells push their way forwards to steal the limelight as we are head into Spring.
I love seeing the gradual change on my feed, a mindful collection, capturing all that is special about our seasons. Despite many of us finding fault with the British weather, we are so lucky to have the rich variety of the seasons and besides, what else would we talk about if it wasn’t for the daily conversations about the weather? My mother alone wouldn’t know what to do with herself!
As well as a daily inspiration for my photography, the seasons are a constant source for my writing and art projects too. So many of my short stories or description scenes are connected to my childhood and the catalogue of memories I have from growing up deeply ensconced in nature.
I was an only child and my Dad was a keen bird-watcher and animal lover. I’d been dangled off cliffs by my wrists (for fun?) on steep mountains in Scotland, had hiked in Wales to see puffins and dramatic coastlines and been mackerel fishing on small, sea-sick inducing boats in Cornwall.
I could spot a kestrel, then buzzard, then golden eagle a mile off and had rescued all sorts of wildlife, from mole, to hedgehog to seagull and even a baby rook that became a pet called ‘Rolo’ which when called would land on my arm from 10 houses away.
Looking back, it was all completely normal to me but in hindsight a story-book, magical childhood – it was like living in Dr Dolittle’s house.
Then more animals appeared, when, aged 7, my Dad bought a Pet Shop and our house turned into a mini-zoo as we bred pets for the shop. My best-friends were rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies, cockateels and even rats (which are incredibly intelligent and friendly by the way).
My party trick at Christmas was to come into the house when all the family were there with a rat on each shoulder and one on my head and my Aunty would jump on to the table and scream the house down – fun times.
As I got older and more tom-boy like by the day, living in a street with only boys, (I had to play army and fight for my survival or be teased to death), I practically lived in our local woods, only coming home if I was hungry or soaked from falling into the river off the rope swing.
My daughter reminds me so much of me when she climbs up trees and my son equally loves exploring and leaping between rocks
Those formative years, of living almost feral, tattooed a love of all things nature deep into my skin, scarred my knees as I clambered up tree trunks and filled my soul with belonging – I can’t explain it as it probably makes me seem pretty weird but when I’m in the middle of the woods now, it feels like home, my breathing slows and the trees feel like family – I know that sounds incredibly odd, maybe it’s because I was an only child and had a wild imagination that’s never left me but it’s the place where I feel the most inner calm.
The sea is equally inviting, I can sit, sheltered on dunes and stare for hours and hours at the rolling waves and expanse of the horizon. Again, I think this intense attraction stems from holidays on remote isles seeking out seabirds, crabs and fish in rock-pools and occasionally seals sunbathing on the rocks and of course my love of swimming – there’s nothing like that first sharp shock of a British sea but when you glide through the water and feel weightless and free, it’s just heaven. My ultimate dream when we’re older is to have a beach-hut or shack overlooking the shore, with a desk at the window for me to write, then just stare!
My idea of heaven, as featured in this recent edition of Breathe Magazine, (@justbreathemagazine) , I could literally walk into this picture…
I remember the seasons so well in all of these places; the vast stretch of purple Scottish heather in the Spring bank holidays when we visited, my arms full of bluebells I would collect for my mum’s birthday in May and the tightness of sunburned cheeks and salted lips from crab fishing, perched high on a jetty, all day long in the Summer.
Our memories are the stuff of dreams, that warm feeling of nostalgia, and are a huge pool of inspiration for us to dive into and recreate through poetry, a painting or a sketch to name but a few.
If you’re like me, you’ll still remember them so vividly, in technicolor almost, you’ll feel the scratchiness of the dune grass and the warmth of the sand under your toes or remember the excitement of catching your first crab or collecting delicate shells in a bright red bucket.
Some of my artwork inspired by memories of coastal holidays
There are stories to be told from experiences that are uniquely yours – at the very least to pass on to generation after generation, don’t keep them to yourself, they’re too precious not to share and be brought back to life as you regale them to your family or capture them in a painting. These memories are what sew your years together and enable you to deeply connect with others. We all have these gifts to share and pass along to your friends and family – everyone loves to hear a real, true story.
I could write forever reminiscing through my childhood, and one day I will pen it all down for my children so it doesn’t get lost when my memory fades but for now, with the newness of Spring popping up all around me, it’s time for that renewed energy and vigour to transfer into action! I have new Spring ideas for my art card collection and I want to revisit a Spring poem I wrote a while ago.
At this time of year I start to look around the house too and add new seasonal touches such as brighter cushions for the sofa and little vases of flowers dotted around and of course try to do some much-needed spring-de-cluttering too.
I hope the above has given you some ideas on how you can tap into your memories and feelings about certain seasons as another source of inspiration for your creative work. Please let me know in the comments if it has ignited a little spark and show me what you’ve got up to on Instagram by tagging me @thecuriouscreativeclub.
The birds and bulbs are getting busy, it’s time for us to stretch out of hibernation, flex those creative fingers and get busy too…
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
ps we are on with planning for the next ‘Playing with Writing’ creative writing workshop at the lovely Miriam’s Kitchen Table in the first week of April, date to be confirmed but please fill in the contact form if you are interested in this event, places are limited to 5 so that people get the most out of the workshop.
pps don’t forget to keep checking back to The Curious Cave for more creative resources as I update it regularly.