From Chaos to Order - how to build a sustainable creative life that fits you perfectly

{This is one of my long ‘inside view’ posts! There’s a little story, a big idea, and a gift for you if you actually make it to the end! I would love it if you did; this is a turning point in my work and it’s all about you. Even if it takes me a while to get there. :)}

There’s a point during almost every painting where you look at the canvas and all you see is an unholy mess of things that don’t relate to each other. What’s more, you can’t see how to just freaking make them. It can be a very daunting time, and it’s not uncommon for it to happen repeatedly as a painting develops.

Every new mark you make can throw the others out of balance or start to bring them together. A lot of the time, if you’re an expressive, freestyle sort of painter like me, a large part of the painting process is adding and removing experimental marks and trying to get them to play nicely together.

I both love it and fight with it. I love the problem solving nature of it, and I sometimes feel like I’m going slightly insane when I see what looks like an endless vista of possibilities with no cohesive end in sight.

So a painting goes through these cycles – chaos, order, chaos, order. Our job as artists is to resolve the painting to a sense of order. {Which, by the way, is not the same as saying it needs to look neat and tidy.}

And of course we don’t ‘make it’ happen, we are part of a dance with creative source {or whatever your preferred name}, and the resolution comes while we dance.

My Tai Chi teacher has been saying to me for years, when the shit hits the fan and I’m freaking out about something, chaos precedes order. It’s intended as a reassuring reminder, although let’s face it, when you’re in the middle of the chaos and can’t find any order whatsoever, it can just feel frustrating.

The point is, no matter how much unimaginable chaos we’re experiencing in any given moment, it will be succeeded by order. It’s a law of the universe.

I’ve recently come to a very personal understanding of order succeeding chaos, and it’s basically all about you. {One of those strange and wonderful life paradoxes.}

For the past eight years or so I’ve been taking step after step back into my art, after many years without it. You might know I spent a large chunk of my younger years in and out of depressive episodes of varying severity. That’s its own kind of chaos.

So I started to take my art back – which is a bit like saying I started to take myself back – and bit by bit it grew and evolved, sometimes chaotic, sometimes in order, until about three years ago when I took the {terrifying} step of seeing if I could make it my work, and created my first ecourse.

I actually spent quite a while right before that sitting in chaos, certain I could no way teach, could no way create a course, didn’t know enough, wasn’t good enough, just didn’t have what it would take.

And in the end I looked at the road ahead and I thought, I want to know where this leads.

So I stepped onto it, and now I have six ecourses under my belt, a book, and a kind of behemoth of a blog. It turns out I can teach, I can create a course, I do know enough, I am good enough, and I do have what it takes. {So far!} Who knew. {Not me, that’s for sure.}

And let’s not leave anything undisclosed here – a lot of that time I’ve been surrounded by chaos. The chaos of not knowing, the chaos of trying to wear all the hats and learn everything quickly, the chaos of dealing with tech hiccups and disgruntled people, the chaos of not knowing where and when to invest and having to take risk after risk, the chaos of working and working and not knowing why it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

So what does this have to do with you?

I’ve had a course percolating in me for about two years; I knew the name of it from the start, but it’s taken that long for the chaos to start resolving itself into enough order that I now have some raw material to work with.

Partly I wasn’t ready, partly the idea wasn’t ready. At first I thought it was going to be a membership site. Then I realised I’d hate that because I’d be tied to creating to a regular schedule. So no, that wasn’t going to work. I noodled about with it, played with logos and colour palettes for a thing that didn’t even have a form yet, and then I left it for a while since it seemed happy to stay in the chaos for the time being and I know better than to force things.

And now, suddenly, boom. It’s coming together. It’s called Touchstone, and it’s the course that all my other courses – and all my work and all my living – have been preparing the way for, although of course I didn’t know that at the time. It’s the course I wish I’d had access to when I was trying to resolve the chaos of my own creative life.

All that time I was worrying about finding my artistic style, or how to make my creativity the most prominent thing in my life, trying to become a better artist, wondering whether I could earn a living doing it, feeling afraid and unsure, and learning learning learning how to use the technology and what makes a good teacher and and and….

That was all essential. Every moment of chaos was essential to get me to this current place of order.  And I have to tell you guys, it’s a game changer. If you devote yourself to the thing that feels meaningful and true to you, and you hang in there long enough, no matter how chaotic it gets, it’s inevitable that you will get to a point where a beautiful order starts to arise and suddenly an awful lot of things start to make sense.

I want this for you. I want this for you so much I can hardly stand it! Perhaps because I know it from the inside now. So I’m making a course which will be full to the brim with everything I know that can help to bring order from the chaos.

  • If you’re struggling to make space for your art in your life.
  • If you’re finding it impossible to settle on something because everything looks so interesting.
  • If you’re longing to make art that is unique to you but don’t know how to find out what that is.
  • If you can’t seem to establish a practice that sticks.
  • If you’re longing to understand the nuances of your own process better.
  • If you’re constantly stymied by fear, self doubt, procrastination, impostor syndrome, and all those good things that come with the artist journey.
  • If you’re struggling with meaning.
  • If you’re swinging between terror of being visible and longing to share.
  • If the inner mean voices are preventing you making your best creative work.

Essentially, if you’re struggling with the chaos of the what, the why and the how of your art, that’s what this course is for. I’m not going to pretend I know all the answers. {I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe me anyway!} But I do know a lot about this artist life, and I’m longing to share it because I know it helps.

It can mean the difference between a seemingly endless chaos and the deep bedrock of calm confidence that this is what it’s about for you. 

And when you know that, everything becomes so much easier. It’s not a quick fix or a one size fits all, but that’s the beauty of it; it’s deeply personal and infinitely universal, and it grows with you. We can tailor your creative life to your unique, quirky, glorious, busy, creative self, to your life and your needs and desires.

This post has gone on long enough already, so I’ll finish by directing you to the page where you can find out more information. {I’m in course creation mode right now so that page will evolve as I bring more order to things! 😉 }