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Creative Block and Self Doubt: with Claire Leach

I have followed Claire's work for the past two years on Instagram and she was one of the first artist's I came across on there whose work I could relate to in the terms of process and how she chose to present herself online. She showed progress, and honesty, she shared both the good and the bad days when it came to her work. It is this honesty which made me really connect with her way of working. Her way of drawing is similar to mine in the terms of repetitive mark making. We both share a love of similar books, in particular, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

In recent months we've been speaking about our creative process, both the highs and lows as it seems we are quite similar in how we deal with them.

She says that '"as an artist, I use my creativity to help me sort through every day life. It's my coping mechanism when things in life go awry, it's my peaceful meditation and it's my source of joy. When however, things aren't going well creatively everything can feel like it's falling apart." This is something I very much relate to as a creative person. I am so visually stimulated by everything around me that I can get overwhelmed by what I am actually doing. I think because for me art is an outlet for everything and is so integrated into everything I do It's hard to take a step back sometimes.

I think this mind set comes from being hard on myself and driven in what I do, however this can have a reverse effect when I put myself too hard. I have spoken to Claire about this and I think this is something a lot of other people go through. I'm learning that I don't have to be on the ball 24/7 because that's when you get burnt out. I've found that other things in recent weeks such as cycling, walking and swimming have been a good release but are still influencing my writing and work, I am just learning to step back.

She said to me that there are times where "Everything I put to paper is meaningless and the self-doubt really kicks in, to the point where I wonder why I haven't given up already." I think this is something that I also struggle with but have also learnt that when you feel like this it is more important to push through it. Whether this be taking a step back (which I still find very, very hard).

But, this destructive mindset always passes with time. I step back, reflect and brainstorm. I read through old inspiring notes and look at my art books. I make little marks with ink and scribbles with pencil and I feel better.

I think it's having a determination to push on if you know it is what you want to do. People say to me, how do I have so much energy to make work and write, I think a lot of time I just do it because It's what feels right. Two years on, Claire's work and motivation to push on in times of doubt really inspire me.

You can see more of Claire's work here and follow her adventures on her Instagram  

     Claire Leach, 100 Post cards project, 2016


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