We all need down time to give us space to grow and I've discovered that for me that also needs to be some form of creative outlet 
Being a photographer, you can get onto a bit of a hamster wheel...you know what works, you can make it happen, people like the results....BUT it is essentially a creative job, not a technical one, and so having a creative spark is really important to me. Generating ideas and visual stories is inherent in what I do when I'm creating photos for business, even for headshot photography, so if I lose my creative energy I'm not doing my job to the best of my potential, and therefore letting my clients down. 
 
I've discovered that I have a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic, which isn't great for doing all this...so I've charged myself with finding things to do that will take me away from my desk in the evenings. 
First of all I tried just sketching things that were around me and this proved fruitful until I ran out of objects! 
 
Still life is an observational skill so it was developing my eye. Essentially being a monotone it was a learning curve how to acheive tonal detail. 
Then I saw a recommendation on FaceBook for the book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse. I loved the illustrations - they are simply beautiful - so I started to copy them. 
 
Colour is so emotive, which I love. And I was pretty pleased with them. 
 
But copying is one thing, I really wanted to start stretching myself and so I took the idea of simple lines and started to play with them. 
 
I have found this really quite challenging and have had some disasters, but this is one that I'd consider a success! 
So now I've joined an art class (I thought it was going to be drawing but it turns out it is watercolours!), and I'm experimenting. Playing and having fun, not worrying about whether the end result is good or bad, just learning and growing. I think it is probably good practice for life, and it will certainly inform my photographic eye! 
 
I'd love to hear how you keep your creativity alive and how it influences what you do. 
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