Thanks to our current social isolation, everyone is slowing down and finding new and interesting ways to create meaning and fun in their day. Creativity doesn't have to be lost as a result of our physical restrictions - in fact, we've seen many people pick up old hobbies and try out new ways to express their creativity in isolation. For those of you needing an extra little push to pick up that old paintbrush, we asked Melbourne Artist and friend of LH Louise Tate to share her thoughts on getting creative at home.
Louise Tate is a Melbourne-based artist, working primarily with watercolour. Her practice explores personal and historical narratives of women, care and the Australian Landscape. Her work weaves a story that is personal, national and fictional, offering up possibilities for new ways of being in the world.
There seems to be a rise in the number of people painting, drawing, knitting and just generally getting their creative juices flowing at this time. What are your thoughts on this trend?
It’s amazing! I hope everyone can continue this wonderful creative use of time into the future when social isolation starts to ease. I think we’re all discovering what our life could be like without long commutes and days spent in the workplace. It’s been so uplifting seeing how people are using their time to cook exciting new meals, think up elaborate Easter egg hunts and commit to a daily drawing or watercolour painting. I love it.
What are the benefits of expressing yourself creatively? What have you seen in yourself but also in those around you?
Using your imagination, your eyes and your hands to form something out of nothing helps me to feel like I’ve accomplished something even if I haven’t left my living room. And when you reach that state of being in the zone where everything sort of just flows out of you and falls into place, it’s like a really good yoga class when you get to that zen-like state. It can also bring so much joy, and I have been really loving seeing the #betweenartandquarantine posts on Instagram of people remaking old masterpieces. There’s a particularly good one of ‘Home Again’ by Frederick McCubbin where someone walks through the front door holding a packet of toilet paper.
What would you say to people who don't think they're talented creatively and are nervous to get started?
There are no rules to being creative, that’s the best thing about it! Just give it a go and let go of all perfectionism.
What are some other ways to "get creative" other than painting or drawing? Ways that might feel less daunting for those who are not skilled artists?
There are so many things in life that involve being creative, such as cooking, gardening, interior design, flower arranging, even problem-solving involves creative thinking! Craft projects with kids are a fun way for everyone to have a go at making something with no judgement attached. But for anyone who does want to have a go at drawing or painting, it really does just take time and practice. Very few people are instantly gifted. Like all things, practice practice practice…and then practice some more.
For those people with young kids, how can they get their kids involved too?
There are lots of fun games to try such as Exquisite Corpse where you draw a segment of a drawing, fold it over until just a tiny bit is showing, and then pass it on to the next person to add to. You end up with some really ridiculous and hilarious finished drawings. You can also write stories using this method, and my friends and I always had so much fun doing this together as kids.
What resources are out there for people to help them get started?
There are also heaps of life drawings classes that have moved online, which is a really unintimidating way to start. Have a look at @novacancygallery for their Stay-In Drawing posts and also @dropinlifedrawing on Instagram. As a kid I also used to love grabbing a sheet of tracing paper and a pencil and tracing my favourite book illustrations and artworks – it helps you to get a sense for line-work and also leaves you with a great drawing to colour-in afterwards!
After the Covid-19 Crisis is over, what is your hope for people creatively or otherwise?
I hope we can all keep this space for creativity, self-care and a slower way of life, even as the world seems to speed up around us.