Will you make 2016 your most CREATIVE year yet? [+ free printable!]


I want to share with you two things that have been on my mind lately:

  1. Picking a word for the year 2016
  2. Understanding creativity and how to find inspiration (and keep it!)

Word Of The Year

Have you ever done this? You pick a word that you are going to focus on for the whole year. It’s an alternative to having a New Years resolution (because I’m not a fan of having unrealistic expectations and setting myself up to fail. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert: I don’t hate myself that much) and for me it has been truly transformative for the last 2 years that I’ve done it.

Instead of focussing on a goal that you can either succeed at or fail at, you are infusing your life with a consciousness of the word/concept you have chosen. In 2014 my word was journey. In 2015 my word is self-care. Those words have embedded themselves into my life. It was tough! Focussing on the journey after a lifetime of thinking only of goals, results and outcomes was not easy. Practicing self-care after a lifetime of.. not… is tough!

But it’s transformative. It’s amazing. Focussing on what is really important to you is the ultimate gift you can give yourself.

In a moment I will share the word I have picked for 2016 (and I hope you will pick one too and use the free printable!) but first I want to talk about…


Creativity & Inspiration

Getting inspired feels so elusive. Sometimes inspiration strikes! And then sometimes it’s gone for days, weeks, months. What’s up with that? It’s so frustrating, and like me you might struggle with this too. We either keep creating in spite of inspiration’s absence or we stop and wait. Still, the question remains:

How can I invite more inspiration into my life?

There might not be a magical solution, but as with all things in life, I do think that there might be a practical one! Ask yourself this question:

What am I excited about right now?

Sometimes I think the key to inspiration isn’t frantically looking around ourselves trying to uncover where it is hiding (maybe inspiration is scared away by loud noises and sudden movements? Lol!), but instead getting quiet and checking in with our own selves. You can find hundreds of people willing to tell you what you should be working on (which usually says more about them than it does about you), but there is only one person who truly knows: YOU.

So what are you excited about? Is it a certain subject, a feeling, an art supply you want to try? Pursue it! Don’t let it go until it’s ready to be let go. At that point there will be something else you are excited about. Then follow that for a while, and then the next thing. Feeling excited and curious about things is like a spark that attracts inspiration.

Journey to…

My word for 2016 is going to be:


I’m super excited about:

Love Art Happy Life


This is a new art course I’m teaching on, run and thought up by the ever inspiring Marieke Blokland. This course is a bit different from others, in that it is based on producing a feeling of happiness & boundless creativity with art. Maybe a course that is only practical art techniques and tutorials isn’t what you’re looking for at this point, maybe you’re looking for how to get & stay inspired (and make art too of course!). All teachers are going to give you a look into their creative process, how they draw inspiration from their favourite artist and how to transform that into a fun and individual art practice.

My chosen artist is Tamara de Lempicka. Her art is a combination of roaring 20s, decadence, strong feminine, art deco style. I’m SO in love with it! Here is a study of her work that I’ve done. In the first part of my lesson I’m going to show you how to do a study and in the second part of the lesson I will show you how to use this to inform your more personal work and style.


And you?

Are you going to pick a word of the year? I hope you will and here are some free Frida printables that Marieke made for you to use to brighten up your art space and write in your word(s)! Please comment below and share your word with me, I’m so curious to hear what is important to you and what you will pick!

Click here to download

Click here to download

Click here to download

I really hope that you will join me on Love Art Happy Life if it resonates with you. I’m super happy to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to drop me a line or comment below!

PS Early bird pricing for Love Art Happy Life ends this week, sign up now if you’d like to join us and make 2016 your most creative year ever!
PPS When you sign up through my link you are supporting me to keep bringing you art courses & free content, thank you!

Working With Your Inner Critic & Free Printables!

This post was originally sent as a newsletter to my subscribers. I send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month with things such as links to interesting blog articles, tutorial videos, inspirational writing, freebies and much more! To sign up and get the next one straight to your inbox, pop your details in the form below.

Do you ever listen to those voices inside your head? The ones that tell you you’re not good enough. The ones that whisper “that’s crap, you should just pack it in, you think that looks like a nose/cat/person, you must be joking?” The ones that when you listen to them for too long make you want to hide under the covers and never attempt anything creative ever again…

A lot of the time I manage to quieten these voices, I’ve learned coping mechanisms and strategies (more on that below). At other times they are loud, they shout, and I almost give in to them.

These unwelcome opinions inside our own minds, they have a purpose though. When you start listening, really listening to more than just the surface thoughts, their message is actually one of care. It’s the part of our self that doesn’t want to take risks, that wants to be safe in the knowledge we’re not going to be judged or create a situation where we feel badly.

So how can I translate my inner critic’s painful judgements and turn them into something positive?

‘That’s crap’ becomes
‘I want to protect myself from negative opinions. What I create simply is, there is no judgement of what is’

‘You should just pack it in’ becomes
‘I’m scared of what lies ahead, of the unknown. I will keep going so the unknown becomes known’

‘That doesn’t look like a [insert subject]’ becomes
‘This is my interpretation of this subject at this point in time, I am allowed to practice so it will look more and more like what I see in my mind’s eye’

None of this comes easy, all of it is hard work, but in time and with practice it gets easier. I will be really honest with you (and myself) right now: sometimes I listen to the voices because I WANT to listen. It’s easier to feel negative and justified in not creating than to do the work and push through the blocks and difficulties. Sometimes I need to give myself a kick up the backside!

I can’t presume I can do that to you though or that you’d want me to (heehee!) so instead I created a free printable for you! And then I created another one because I couldn’t stop at just one!

Download here

Download here

I hope you find these quotes as inspiring and helpful as I do! These two images are free for you to use and decorate your creative space with, or glue into your scrapbook or stick on your fridge or anything else you can think of! Click each image or link to access the high-res file.

Are there any quotes that you love and go back to again and again for motivation, inspiration or simply a literary hug? I’d love to know what they are, let me know in the comments below!