New Years Resolutions Update : 1 Month On

So today is the very last day of January and for what seems like the first time ever, I am NOT saying it flew by. In honesty, time seemed to be in slow motion this month and I for one won't be sad to see the back of January. However, as I mentioned my original new years resolutions post, this year is pretty much the first time I've ever set a list of serious resolutions, so I'm quite eager to make them happen. So, before we wave the most hated month out for another year, I thought I'd review my 2015 goals and resolutions list and see how I'm getting on with them so far as a way of (fingers crossed) motivating myself to keep going!

1. Draw LOTS more (starting with a drawing a day in January)
Ah.. so...hopefully I can start on a low here and work my way upwards. The good news is, I did draw a fair bit this month. The not so good news is that I didn't stick to my drawing a day. I made it 2 weeks in and after one long, busy day I forgot to draw and it all went downhill from there. So we'll call this one a half success, after all, new years resolutions aren't supposed to be fully achieved within the first month.

2. Learn how to better deal with anxiety and depression 
This is a big one and I know this will take time, most likely longer than the year ahead but I'm hoping to have a good crack at it in the coming months. I chose to research into mental health issues for my current art project which has opened me up to a wealth of information which I think is a good start but I still have a way to go with dealing with my personal issues. 

3. Stop wasting time by worrying about time all the time
Ok, so this is a big personal problem of mine and it stems back to my issues with anxiety. I panic about wasting time to the degree that if I've wasted 10 minutes of time, I will waste a further 2 or 3 hours panicking about those lost 10 minutes. I don't exactly know how I'm going to solve this yet and I have had a few episodes this month, but I've found that simply having this in my conscious mind as one of my resolutions has at least helped me to accept that this is an issue. 

4. Update my wardrobe 
This was my superficial resolution for 2015. I seem to have landed myself with a wardrobe that's stuffed full of clothes I don't wear. I've half-heartedly cleared it out several times over the past few years and now I think enough is really enough. This month I found Unfancy, a minimalist fashion blog and I fell in love with the idea of a 'capsule wardrobe'. Now, I haven't completely overhauled my wardrobe yet but I did make one small step - I was given a jumper for christmas which just didn't fit right, so instead of doing what I would usually do and keep it out of guilt, I exchanged it for something I really love. Feeling guilty about returning a gift that you won't use just doesn't make sense - my mum was much happier knowing I'd swapped it for something that won't end up gathering dust. 

5. Shoot in film
As you can see from this blog post's image, I got a long way with this resolution in just one month. I will probably do a separate post about my experience shooting in film but it was just by chance there was an opportunity to be induced into the dark room at my art school mid way through January and I grabbed it with both hands!

6. Blog (just do it!)
Hurrah! I think I can call this one a triumph so far. This post will be the 6th this month which I am more than happy with considering how on/off I have been in the past. I've decided to really have a good go at blogging and so far I am loving it! I'd like to say thank you to anybody who has looked at/followed/commented/supported my blog so far this year and I can't wait to see what the future brings.

How have your new years resolutions been going? Have you stuck to them so far?


Why I'm Obsessed With Libraries (You Should Be Too!)

I think most of us probably visited the library as a child. I know I used to make regular visits to my local library, searching through what seemed to be endless tales of far away places, it seemed like a magical place where I could go anywhere I liked. But how many of us continue this childhood fascination with libraries as we grow older? Well, until a few years ago, I can't say I did. Now I've fallen back in love with them, and I thought I'd tell you why!

I currently have 3 library cards to my name, which give me access to a total of 43 different libraries in my surrounding area. Some of these libraries hold well over a million books inside including the second largest public lending library in Britain (Manchester Central Library). Firstly, I cannot even begin to imagine the staggering number of books I have at my fingertips. How could anybody find this anything other than completely mesmerising? There's more books available to all of us in our local libraries than anybody could possibly hope to read in a lifetime. The wealth of free information available to us is astonishing and this is why I have become so obsessed with the things!

Something you may not know is that most libraries these days have a website which allows you to login, track your loans, renew books, reserve books and search the library catalogue. This has become an invaluable tool for me, especially as a student. Say I see a book I want to read, or there's a specific subject I'm researching into, the very first thing I'll do is search the library catalogues from home to check if anywhere has what I'm looking for. If they do, I'll either reserve it or just go down and find it on the shelves myself. Because of the sheer number of books combined in the 43 libraries available to me, 95% of the time one of them has what I'm looking for. Usually, libraries within a given area will also ship books between themselves so you can pick it up wherever is most convenient. It's like Amazon - except it's free! As an art student, it simply isn't feasible for me to buy all of the books I want, but there really is no need to when I can get access to almost any book at no cost. There's also something quite wonderful about leafing through a book that has a borrowed stamp inside the cover dated from before I was even born.

Of course, there are some books that we'd just like to own for ourselves. That's fine - I still buy the odd book here and there. Maybe I like the design of it or I want to keep it on my shelf for reference, but how often do we buy a book that we read once and then never pick up again? It's refreshing to be able to borrow a book and hand it back once I'm finished so they don't just end up gathering dust on my shelves. I know I haven't been the first to read that book, and I know I won't be the last.

So maybe I sound a bit of an old fashioned, but I'm completely sold on libraries. What do you think? Do you use your local library? Why, or why not?

A Look Inside My Art Foundation Sketchbook

It is a very stressful time of the year for me at the moment, UCAS, digital portfolios, portfolio mounting and interviews seem to be taking up a huge chunk of my time and are obviously rather important. This week I have been busy running around trying to get all my work photographed and ready to be sent off to various universities. 

In the process of this however I have managed to get some images of pages from inside my foundation sketchbook which I thought would be nice to share here. I personally adore looking through other peoples sketchbooks and I find it incredibly inspiring to see different creative processes. So I thought it was about time I brought something to the party!

My sketchbook throughout the foundation course has become something of a visual diary. I try to add to it every day to show the entire process of all of my projects from start to finish. Photographs, samples and little explanations all tell the story of how I get from A to B. Hope you enjoy!

(P.S. I'm thinking about doing more posts about my experience doing an foundation course. Please let me know if you would be interested in this!)

15 Things To Do Every Day To Stay Creative In 2015

Staying creative is a bit like an athlete keeping themselves in shape. If you stop training, like an athletes fitness level, your creativity will gradually slump back to square one. Maintaining your creativity takes work and requires a conscious effort. So I thought I would devise a list of 15 things you should do every day try and have a go at doing every day in 2015 to keep your creative juices flowing throughout the year ahead.

 1. Stop trying to please everyone
2. Write on non-lined paper
3. Check for new upcoming exhibitions and events (and arrange to go!) 
4. Walk a different route 
5. Join forces 
6. Drop everything and sketch right now
7. Stop trying to be a great artist
8. Make lots of mistakes
9. Take praise well
10. Take criticism well
11. Stop scrolling
12. Read the news
13. Watch a documentary about something you know nothing about
14. Go outside
15. Never stick with what you know


2015 Goals and Resolutions

Wishing everybody a very Happy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful festive period. 

To me it feels very strange that it isn't 2012 anymore, let alone 2015. 2014 has been a mixture of ups and downs for me but I've spent it with people I love and care about so I'm still very lucky and have some great memories from the past 12 months. 

In the past I have never really made proper goals for the year ahead. But last year I made just one - to read more. I still may not be a massive book worm and I still have a problem with being ridiculously slow at finishing any book, but the bottom line is I HAVE read more this year than the previous 5 years combined. I've gotten through a handful of great books in 2014 and I hope to continue this into the new year. I feel like there is so much negativity and pessimism surrounding new years resolutions, but in my opinion it can work! Just one tip from me though if you want to make it happen: try to be somewhat specific with your goals. Nothing too broad if you  can help it. For example, if you want to get fit, try not to write "1. Get Fit" on your 2015 resolutions list. Swap it for something like "1. Do at least one run a week". If you achieve this easily, then great! Keep the original ones up, set some new ones and keep going. 

I really want to start the blogging year ahead by sharing the goals I have set myself for 2015. I've actaully ended up with a few more than I had planned to but I still think they're easily manageable for me (some being harder than others!) Hopefully I'll be able to look back on this post at the end of the year and at least say I've had a real good go at all of these.

So, here are my six goals/resolutions for 2015:

  • Draw LOTS more (starting with a drawing a day in January)
  • Stop wasting time by worrying about time all the time
  • Blog (just do it!)
  • Update my wardrobe 
  • Shoot in film
  • Learn how to better deal with anxiety and depression 

Wish me luck! I hope this year is a safe, happy and exciting one for you.