I have always had a love of nature, as a child whiling away many hours in the fields behind the house, and throughout my life walking the hills, woodland and seashores near my home. For the last 10 years I’ve been leading mindful walks with Soles & Souls on the South Downs, sharing the sanctuary that is often provided in spending time in Nature.
Mindfully Creative is a synthesis of Creativity, Mindfulness and Nature. I studied Art (printmaking) in Sydney in the 1980’s and have taught a variety of art classes over the years, in particular life drawing. I’ve explored a wide range of media and have an eclectic approach, enjoying the contrast of working on the one hand in a gestural and spontaneous manner with paint and mixed media, and on the other hand working very carefully and precisely in pen and ink to create detailed designs and mandalas.
I see the patterns of interest and engagement that weave in and out of my life. As a child, I loved drawing and making crafty things. I also loved spending time in nature. In my early 20s, I travelled to Australia on a working holiday visa, fell in love and stayed for 7 years. I took the opportunity to go to art college and subsequently set up several community art classes, mainly in life drawing which was my biggest passion. Back in England, art went on the back burner for a few years until I moved to East Sussex, where I set up classes and workshops, and spent time drawing and painting in my garage studio. When my daughter came along in 2001 my creative attention got diverted into raising this wonderful being. Now I find myself drawn back to bringing creativity more fully into my life and sharing the process of how to engage in the creative flow with other people, through classes and workshops. I also practise Buddhist meditation, bringing Mindfulness to all aspects of living and teaching and completed a Mindfulness Teacher Training course in 2016.
I have led mindful walks on the South Downs (Soles & Souls) for the last 10 years and, until recently, I worked three days a week as Manager of a complementary health practice in Lewes. I am now devoting myself fully to Mindfully Creative classes, teaching the Zentangle method and engaging in my own art practice. I am also a qualified life coach.
I believe we are all creative by nature, though sometimes the creative part of us can get surpassed by ‘more important’ endeavours or get thwarted as we grow up. Fortunately it is possible to rediscover the part of us that loves adventure, trying out new things and seeing what curious, unexpected creative outcomes emerge. Young children are innately creative and create new worlds through play. As we grow up creativity can get blocked for one reason or another. Often a childhood experience of having the latest painting or play dismissed by a busy parent can stifle your creativity for a lifetime. The creative part of ourselves is very sensitive and needs nurturing with a gentle, kind heart to grow and flourish. It needs to be given space to try things out, and make mistakes without judgement. The critical voices that arise in response to some of our creative endeavours may try and guide us on a sensible path, but they can get in the way of being spontaneous and open to whatever emerges.
In the west creativity is often seen as a result of great creative personalities and we herald well-known creative people as brilliant. However there is also a different way of viewing creativity as something less personal, as more of a universal process that we can discover ways of tapping in to. So it’s less about ‘our’ creativity and something that ‘we’, the ‘ego’ creates, but more about finding the creative flow that we can meld with. To this end it helps to ‘get ourselves out of the way’! What I mean is finding a way to bypass the critical conscious ego part of the mind that jeopardizes the possibility of allowing creativity to flow.
‘Getting yourself out of the way’ can be achieved by becoming mindfully absorbed with the process of making something, so that the process takes over and the mind becomes calmer and more focused. In the various classes and workshops I run I will introduce different ways to help you become more present moment by moment as the creative process unfolds.
I really enjoyed the small, friendly art space that Louise created. I'm now using zentangle as a kind of adjunct to my mediation practice and also incorporating designs into my personal journal, which feels good. Many thanks, Louise.
Thanks for a wonderful term Louise, you guide the sessions so intuitively and delicately and help us release our creativity. I also love the range of individual and collaborative approaches you offer.
Louise provides a supportive and informal environment, in which to relax and enjoy being skillfully guided towards greater observational skills, and how to translate this onto paper.
I started life drawing with Louise 4 months ago and have enjoyed the weekly challenges she sets for the class. If you are set in your ways this type of training is invaluable. Louise is highly skilled and gently encourages her students to enjoy the process of drawing. The models are skillful professionals.
I am enjoying being in Louise's Mandala group. She is empathetic & skillful in the way she runs the group and provides lovely materials for the creative work we do. She clearly enjoys what she is doing, is well prepared and responds sensitively to the wishes in the group.
The experimental painting and drawing class has really helped me discover new ways of thinking about and making art. Louise is a great teacher and the group has a friendly, relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. It is also a lot of fun.
Working with Louise since autumn '16 I have found increasing freedom of expression and confidence in my drawing skills. She gives care to leading us through short exercises focussing on different aspects of the drawing process and the opportunity, through longer poses, to work things out for ourselves. A highlight of my week! C.G, Lewes
Just to say I totally loved your walk on Sunday. It was so restorative and calming. Thank you so much. I will look out for your summer one.
I really appreciate the chance to walk with others in a mediative silence, appreciating the sounds, sights and scents all around; it's a much fuller experience, somehow, than just strolling along chattering the whole time. (But of course, it's good to talk to other people for some of the time!)
I just wanted to thank you for the glorious walk on Saturday afternoon ... and with such nice people. I really enjoyed myself and it cheered me up no end! I shall look forward to the next one.
I enjoyed my morning out with Louise and the other walkers on a ramble across the South Downs. Louise's gentle presence encouraged us to be aware of our surroundings, and softly suggested some meditation for the walk. I was particularly grateful for the balance of silence and social time - too often hiking with a group means trading silence for companionship; how nice to have both! I look forward to discovering another corner of my neighborhood with Louise.
I just wanted to say what an amazing time I had on the Chailey Trails walk, I've still got beautiful images floating through my mind. I really liked the group too and felt really comfortable with everyone and the poems were lovely. Walking in silence was a treasure for me and I'd love to spend more time out in nature doing this.
I had such a sense of achievement at the end!
It was wonderful to discover as a group that it's possible to appreciate the beauty of nature and feel inner stillness at the end of the walk.
That walk at Isfield was magic. Thank you so much.