“One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you.

One fine day.”

~Recipe for Happiness Khaborovsk or Anyplace by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A while ago I talked about how no one else’s formula or blueprint can truly substitute our own way of doing things, something that works for us in all our uniqueness.

I want to explore that a bit further today by borrowing from the kitchen. And even though I’m not talking about eating a snack while reading this, I totally encourage it. 🙂

Imagine if you had your own unique recipe, something you could follow that would guarantee you creative fulfilment and everything that that entails – satisfaction, feeling ‘full’, fun, play, the pride in creating something you love, the bliss caused by losing yourself in the process, and so on.

If you’re anything like me in the kitchen you take recipes more as guidelines, and that translates well here as I don’t believe any single recipe will net you the same results every time, either with food or paint.

There are too many variables. Your mood, whether you can find your groove, the exact colour mixes, that thing that happened this morning that has thrown you off centre, your concerns about your finances, or a relationship, the fact that in half an hour you have to go and pick up your kid from school.

But even so, knowing yourself and knowing what is good for you in very specific ways is invaluable, both in life and in the studio {or wherever you create}.

You can still create a recipe, one that can be tweaked as necessary, that you can refer to when you forget what helps you best get in the zone for creating.

And perhaps, when you really think about it, it doesn’t include all the things you thought were essentials {and may have been reasons why you’re not just getting on with what you want to make!}.

Things I have not found to be necessary to creative bliss – a dedicated studio, an enormous bank account, great swathes of free time, mad art skills, an ability to draw an accurate likeness, or some sort of magical gift bestowed only upon a chosen few.

Here’s my recipe, today.

1 enormous bowl of self-kindness

a generous sprinkle of non attachment

a large pinch of humour

2 tablespoons of patience

a dash of abandon

some loud and uplifting music {this works in both my kitchen and studio!}

Even if sometimes I don’t include all the ingredients, or I bring in something completely new, having this ‘basic recipe’ helps me recentre, refocus and remember why I want to make art in the first place. It’s like an anchor that holds down the foundation of why I create. It can cut through the noise of the inner critic, the self doubt, the fears, the excuses, just enough to allow me to paint or draw something.

What would your recipe include? It might involve specific tools or materials as well as the more abstract elements.