Month: July 2019

Can Feng Shui Improve Creativity?

A conversation over lunch with a friend recently turned to the subject of Feng Shui and creativity in the workroom. Although I’ve heard of this Chinese pseudoscience, it’s not something I’ve ever delved into other than to understand it is all about the placement of things in the home to create good vibes, the ying and yang of life, complementary forces that flow between everything. When one considers the “art” has been around for centuries, I have to admit there must be something to it. And possessing an inquisitive mind, I’m always open to suggestions.

Apparently, to create the correct atmosphere in which to keep the creative juices flowing, be it art, writing, pastry making or building model aeroplanes, the idea is that your workstation should ideally face the door. If you sit with your back to it the energy spilling in through the doorway (whether it needs to be open or closed for it to work, is a matter for further investigation!), hits your back and bounces straight back out of the room.

This hypothesis resonated with me as my writing desk is in a corner of the room against a wall opposite the door, so when I sit there my back is to the door. Since making this move, I’ve never felt truly comfortable and my writing has taken a huge plummet: an observation I have mentioned to friends and fellow writers on numerous occasions. Before this necessary rearrangement of furniture, my desk faced the window, the door to my left and I was prolific in my writing and business there. Since the relocation, I’ve always maintained it was because I faced the wall and couldn’t see out of the window, invariably working with a lamp on that caused my problem. Such was my concern at the drop in my output, last year I purchased another computer which sits on my art table in front of the window. When working there, be it painting or writing, I am more relaxed and my work flows.

“So why don’t I move my desk back where it was?” I hear you ask. My office is also my art studio, which has to serve as my spare bedroom. Whenever I had guests, it was an absolute pain in the proverbial to reshuffle and rearrange the furniture every time, particularly when needing access to the tuck-under bed stored beneath the spare bed. My worktable had to be moved to the landing, cupboards and bedside table humped about the room in order for my guests to be comfortable, and items stashed away in boxes. All to be unpacked and restored after guests had left.  Moving the desk to the corner where the spare beds used to be was a much better option. So I thought.

It transpires in Feng Shui, if a mirror is placed on the wall or desk facing the door, this can elevate the negative energy by reflecting the positive back onto you. But it has to be a round mirror, it mustn’t have any corners. I remembered I had such a mirror stored away, so decided to put it use and see if this would work, such is my desperation to get back into the productive writing mode I used to have.

So the mirror is now in place. If it works, I shall buy a larger one and hang it on the wall in front of me.

Meanwhile, I shall be researching further into the world of Feng Shui to see what else I can achieve. After all, I’ve nothing to lose by giving it a try, and if the practice is to be believed, it could also bring me good fortune. I could certainly do with some of that!

Watch this space.

Spotlight On: JEAN PEEL

Today’s spotlight falls on a fellow artist and recently published children’s author Jean Peel. Born in Glasgow, she emigrated to Australia at the age of 24, choosing to fly rather than sail!

Being an avid reader all her life, Jean has always been a casual writer, and only recently finished her ninth Aunt Sally manuscript. At the request of her sons, and perhaps for the benefit of her grandchildren, Jean is currently documenting her own memories and those of her mother; at least the ones that she can remember.

Opening herself to the world of creativity, Jean has also become addicted to card making, and more recently painting with oils and acrylics. She continues to bring more of her Aunt Sally stories to life, whilst working on a novel she’s had sitting on her writing desk for some time; that is, when she’s not overcome with writer’s block.

Aunty Sally

Aunt Sally is a delightful cat who intends to live all nine lives to the fullest by exploring the world and creating mayhem on route. She’ll stop at nothing to have fun and find adventure. The stories are told in poetry form and are delighting children.

So, if you have young children or grandchildren, I’m sure they’ll find delight in these stories and with Christmas not so far away now, this might be the perfect time to start buying those gifts.

You can find out more about Jean and Aunt Sally by visiting her website: JeanPeel.com, where you will also find links to purchase her books, which are also available on Amazon.

 

 

 

In A Roundabout Way

Since becoming an artist, I’ve found myself observing the world through different eyes, eyes that are now wide open, seeing shade and shadow and colour contrast where I never had before. Every season, every building, tree or field takes on a new meaning, none more so than when I am driving. Take the humble roundabout, for instance. How many of us, when in a vehicle, whether driving or not, actually takes notice of what is there? Most of us see it as just a means of keeping traffic flowing, without ever taking in what’s in the middle. It took several trips abroad before I began to look at roundabouts in greater detail.

For example, coming out of Mahon airport on Menorca, is a well-kept one with several large boulders and gravel well placed, accentuated by planting. A sight that now says welcome home to me whenever I visit the island. Over in Barbados, there’s Freedom Roundabout, with a large bronze statue of a man lifting up broken chains around his wrists, celebrating the end of slavery.

In Benalmadena, Spain, a town I regularly visit, each roundabout has a different piece of street art, each one forming a landmark people use to find their way around. One has a lovely sculpture of lots of windmills that whirl around in the breeze, another a bronze hulk of a boat, another a gigantic copper ball… the list goes on.

But one there in particular piqued my interest, taking me several days to work out what it represented.

Near to my apartment, I had only seen it at night. Always lit up in changing colour colours, from red to green, to blue to white, it was a white structure I couldn’t make sense of. Located on the main road through the resort, the large roundabout is odd-shaped, with one road leading to marina, the other to the upper part of town. Occasionally, I saw cars drive up to it and then disappear, never coming around it. It had me perplexed. Several days later I had cause to walk by it, and finally it became obvious: it was a sailing ship! Of course, because the road off it led straight down to the marina. At night, the sails would light up. And the cars disappearing? It was also the entrance to an underground car park. It was the car-park domes to the left of the sails that changed colour. Ingenious.

Seeing all the wonderful street art and creations abroad prompted me to take a closer look at roundabouts in England. Here, it is often just a patch of long grass and weeds, perhaps some wild flowers. A few trees maybe. Shrubbery – often overgrown and obscuring views of what is coming around it. Admittedly, that isn’t true for all of them. Some are well manicured, neatly trimmed, pretty flowerbeds.

Near where I live, is a large, modern business park called Aztec, meaning A to Z Technology, the entrance to which is a roundabout. When first created, the roundabout was grassed and planted up with saplings and thousands of daffodils bulbs which when in flower spelt out A to Z – something which could only be seen from the air. The trees have since grown large and the bulbs multiplied so the meaning is lost.

Close by too is a large shopping mall and leisure complex with busy roads and several roundabouts. Each has a different “sculpture”, all meant to mean something. The first simply has a large upright standing stone, known locally as “Patchway Tombstone,” as the building of the mall meant death to our small local shops and loss of peace in the area for residents. Apparently, the stone is meant to represent Avebury and/or Stonehenge – neither of which is nearby, let alone in the county. Another is a large round grassy hillock chopped in half, a gorge going through it. Some say it represents Cheddar Gorge – again, nowhere near here or in the same county. Others say it’s meant to represent Brunel and the GWR railway network here. At a push it could be Avon Gorge. The next roundabout has a tall grass mound with a metal cap on the top, said to represent Silbury Hill – again not even in the county. Whoever designed these obviously didn’t know their geography or history!

It would have been far more in keeping and more meaningful to have a model of Concorde on one, considering the Rolls Royce factory where the plane was built and now houses the Concorde museum is right on the doorstep. Why didn’t they choose some other landmark relevant and local to the county rather than obscure or obtuse edifices? But still, I suppose grassy hillocks with bits cut out and an upright stone that is possibly man-made, is better than nothing. And they are a talking point. But it would be so much better if the designers took a look at how roundabouts are designed and built abroad, and used a little bit more imagination to make more of a feature of out of these necessary traffic management measures.

However, there is one small roundabout locally on a road I often travel which always makes me smile. The roundabout is small, in the middle of a housing development and consists of nothing more than grass, which is always well trimmed, in the middle of which is planted with lavender bushes. At its centre is a white beehive (I don’t think it’s a real one!) and, before they were stolen, had large ornamental bees on wires that twirled around. A simple concept yet pleasing to the eye. Well done to whoever thought of it!

Would love to hear about any good or bad ones near you!

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