Friday 28 August 2015

What a visit with a Fake Famous Artist Taught Me About My Creative Dragons

Hello lovelies
So I know I’ve been a bit awol from here, and anywhere online for that matter, for the past few weeks. It started with a roadtrip to the Lake District (pictures at bottom of post, it is such a beautiful place) but won’t be ended with being described here…perhaps I’ll do that in this months newsletter which is due to go out in a few days, but right here right now this post will be long enough without it so I just want to drive straight into a really crazy world and what it can teach you.

Last night I dreamt that I visited a famous artist in his mega huge studio. The space looked suspiciously like Picasso’s studio from a picture I once saw when a young Bridgette Bardot visited it, but the man himself was not recognisable in any way. He was certainly not modelled of off any real famous artist I know, the nearest he came to being identifiable to me was that he had the same stature as a friend I had when I worked in the construction industry (yep, I worked in construction, aren’t I just full of surprises?), the only real difference was that the dream didn’t really give him any facial features and he was in a wheelchair.

The studio itself was higgledy piggledy in a way only a really old building can be due to extensions and renovations being added here and there over the centuries. To make up for this wheelchair ramps where obviously purchased in bulk to accommodate the different floor levels. Long Persian rugs were placed on the stone floor between his different work areas for him to travel across smoothly. He was quite pleased to see me and the first area he took me to was a place where he did his metal art. There were wooden bases (imagine apple crates) on tables containing a great deal of beautiful metal art, which had the same kind of shape as road signage (one sign held up by two poles, one at each end). They were standing up like folding chairs would if they were folded and lined up with the back of one chair to the front of another, so that you could almost flip through them like you can art prints on a stand in a shop. It defies physics of course to be able to have lots of top heavy metal signage standing upright with only a shallow wooden base holding them so but obviously the dream world laughs in the face of silly things like the law of physics.

The faces of the metal art were beautiful; multi-coloured, textured and they had huge patches of glitter which were ran through in the middle, which I determined was where he put huge lines of glorious glitter paint (that unfortunately isn’t available in real life – not even the best glitter paint could touch it) and went over it with his wheelchair, so that the paint oozed out either side of the wheel tracks to add even more texture. But there were crates upon crates upon crates of the stuff, so I asked him ‘what are you going to do with all these?’. He shrugged. For some reason in dream land there was not an opinion for him to sell or trade or exhibit them, there was only an option to ‘do’ something with them – like turn them into one larger installation piece or something, which he didn’t want to do. As he made them daily and they were just stacking up doing nothing I asked ‘shouldn’t you stop doing them then, and work on something else instead?’ He simply said ‘they make me happy’ as if this answered it utterly and completely.

The next area he moved me onto was a group of chairs where he stood holding a small notebook. Notice I say stood, there was no wheelchair anymore and he carried on as if there never had been. He started to explain to me that the notebook was filled over and over again with just one word – ‘Scarborough’ (I’ve still no idea why that one word) and when I asked why he said ‘my mate looked at it then exclaimed ‘well, at least I know you’re consistent’’, again as if that confusing and frustrating response answered the question.

It became increasingly clear to me that I had come to visit this man because he had written a hugely successful musical film, in that way dreams can totally change their direction/storyline without you being any the wiser, and he took me to the computer/music studio area where he wrote the score. There was absolutely no question in the dream as to why he shouldn’t be a famous producer of musical films, as well as famous artist in the painterly fashion…he was perhaps a famous photographer, a celebrity chef and a host of his own reality show too. But then the dream took on a different feel and suddenly I was no longer wanted. The artist turned his back on me and waved his hand for me to exit. To leave without any kind of ceremony of goodbyes hurt my feelings but then I woke, and I realised what it was all about and how this dream had tackled several hidden dragons that have been coming up for me lately around my creativity.

For instance my recent lack of online communications has, in part, been due to me not knowing what I should be posting while dealing with a recent creative block. The block itself wasn’t a traditional one, where I stopped creating altogether, it was one where I didn’t know what I ‘should’ be doing or posting to the wider world when all I really wanted to do was lock the door and paint a rock (…I’ve been painting pebbles) or box (and junk journaling) without the requirement of thought, pictures or social media. The artists opinion of his metal art & the stacks of ‘surplus’ metal art in this dream were there to slay that dragon and tell me that creating for the sake of creating is enough.

painting pebbles

Another dragon, which I just discussed with a friend today, is a fear or a block I’ve created around consistency – as my recent absence may show. People often ask me when my next video, zine or whatever is, which makes me feel great that people care but also when I feel like I have to be consistent it clams me up, and makes inspiration a scarce thing. The artists notebook that filled with a single word over and over is slaying the dragon that says consistency has to be hard, or pressure filled. It’s telling me tiny consistent actions add up. My job is not to fill up the whole notebook straight away, my job right here, right now is just that next word.

The artist becoming a famous musical producer addressed a dragon I’ve been thinking a lot about very recently. This past week I have started creatively writing again. It is something I used to do quite a lot, but my sudden immersion into it seemed to come out of nowhere and while I was feeling so creatively up in the air I wondered if I shouldn’t be dedicating that time to something ‘better’. ‘This is frivolous’ the dragon said ‘you don’t know what you want to do in your art right now so you just sit staring at a word document? You’re wasting precious time get on with something useful!’ The sudden appearance of this musical film in the middle of the dream I am sure was telling me DIVERSITY IS GOOD! It is required. That working on one creative output, even if totally nothing to do with any others, can actually help fuel those others. It can keep you fresh and more fulfilled to follow those routes that make your heart sing, so shut up dragon this is for the good of both of us!

The ending of the dream, the way I was so very wounded by how he turned his back on me, instantly registered what dragon that was slaying as soon as I woke up. It represented how much it hurts me when I turn my back on my art. When I allow fear, or blocks (which I think are just fear/resistance at their root) to dictate to my artist path it is a painful smack in the face, or creative gut (whichever hurts more!). My creative consistency of doing every word at a time will be the true slaying of this dragon.

Finally the meaning the wheelchair/the wheelchair disappearing represented I figured out last. It was a comical light bulb moment when I recognised the wheelchair disappearing was representing the actual act of me realising what all those above things mean - and how recognising all this was giving me the strength to stop impairing myself creatively. More literally I think the wheelchair may have been a dragon itself, meaning when you can identify a dragon then you can work on making it disappear. Unfortunately it doesn't mean once you've identified it it will just go poof, a lot of our dragons are very deep rooted and it can take a lot of work. Sometimes you will even think you have slayed your dragon and be totally unsuspecting that it has spouted another head and is just lying in wait to get you another time. So I don’t think that I have slayed all these dragons for good, but for now I have done the best I can. I have acknowledged them, found solutions for dealing with them or found room for them at my table if they haven’t got a solution yet. Knowing your dragons means you can have more power to control them, rather than the other way around.

So what would your non-existent famous dreamland artist show you about your dragons?

If you have read this whole post God Bless you! I don’t think I have ever written a longer one, thank you!

PS As promised here are pics of the my recent surroundings:
Derwent Pencil Museum 
isn't it gorgeous???

PPS My new Art Challenge Video is going to be created over the weekend, it'll be live on the first in our fabulous Monthly Challenge Group:

Click the image below to join the group and access a year and a half's worth of archived goodies waiting for you:

See you there, paintbrush in hand!!


  1. Love how you consistently love yourself through your struggling issues - even in your dreams, Jenny. (((hugs))) for you and Sweepie :-) And YES - I read the whole thing and loved seeing your photos.

  2. Jennie, so glad to see you are back. I enjoyed your post, and found new ideas to think about from your dream, and your interpretation of it.
    You are doing what you need to do at this time -- and that's fine. Painting, writing, anything you do can be a creative act. You don't need to churn out a particular number of finished art works to be an artist. We're out here cheering for you, and exploring the paths of art as well.
    Lynn in Missouri

  3. hi jenny. what a powerful and inspiring post. thank you for sharing. i'm glad to hear you are getting back into your creative writing. the pictures of where you went are beautiful. (Derwent Pencil Museum!) and i love the one of you painting pebbles! that's something i've always wanted to do-but never have. i think the dragons in my dreams would just be laughing at me because i have SO many things i want to do and some days it feels like i'm not making any progress. i shall be encouraged by what you've shared and hold my sword high in the air! even a baby step is progress! let them laugh-i will continue my artful quest :) hugs and much love, jenny :) xo

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience Jenny. One of the reasons I have never had a blog is that I would be totally inconsistent I can understand entirely the feeling of not knowing what to write when you haveso much on your mind. Art is a spontaneous affair and it cannot be done to a strict regime. Even though there may be times when you can keep creating for a long time, there are bound to be times when you need to stand back and take time to think about what you want to do next. As a blog follower I don't always want to read them at the moment they arrive so I wouldn't expect that a blog writer provide content unless they have something they want to share.

  5. Well written and inspirational! Love the pics, wish I was at the Derwent Museum with you...LOL!

  6. wow - thanks for sharing both your amazing dream and your realizations after you woke up. As a wanna-be blogger and someone with WAY too many pursuits that seem so unconnected (music, art, crochet) I felt your words were powerfully validating and supportive - wow! and thank you again!

  7. I read THE WHOLE THING and I loved that your dreams answered so many of your questions/conundrums. I believe the dream state is sublime and given to us to help us navigate life. Loved your insight Jenny. You are a rare and wonderful human!

  8. We all have dragons to slay. I know I have been struggling with mine lately as well. Thank you for the reminder that its ok if we don't have all of the answers right now and its nice knowing that I am not alone.

  9. Oh wow! Derwent. How cool that is!

    I think everyone needs to unplug at times and look at all the beautiful inspiration around you on your holiday. I find that as inspiring as making a piece of art.

    My dragon would be time, as funny as that sounds considering I am semi retired but when you are everyone knows it and wants something if you are nice and don't yell at people. Giggle

  10. Hi Jenny, I read the whole thing and loved it. I could see how every aspect of your dream related to what you were dealing with in real life. Thanks for writing this. Very inspiring. <3 and also... glad you are back (not that you ever REALLY left)... but, you know what I mean. Hugs :)


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