Start Off Small

Hello friends,

Yesterday me and Carys were painting some little pendants we had made from air drying clay.  And not for the first time I noticed the completely unconcious way my little girl used the paint, happily daubing her creations with turquoise, pink and blue.  She wasn’t afraid to ask how to mix the colours, and what would happen if we mixed them all together.  There was no hesitation in her experimenting, no element of self conciousness, no fear, and no shame in what she was creating.  Carys made art from her happy little soul, she didn’t care a bit what anyone else might think, that didn’t even come into it – she was happy with paint on her hands, making something that she thought was fabulous.



Once upon a time, I went through a phase of being afraid of creating stuff.  I would sit in panic looking at my art pad, paralysed by fear that I couldn’t do it – I mean, what if someone laughed at what I’d done or critiscised it?  And, shock of shocks, what if I made a mess on the paper and ruined it!!!  I was horrified that my work wouldn’t look as good as the artists that I admired, and I felt awkwardness and shame because I didn’t think I wasn’t good enough.

happy, painty hands!

Taking the first steps in art can be a scary process – and it’s because creating something that comes from deep within us is a personal expression, whether it’s painting, knitting or sculpture.  To lay that bare for people to see, for even ourselves to see, can be a big deal; especially if we’ve been listening to those Little Voices.

Ah yes.  Those.

You might be familiar with them; they’re the ones that whisper that we’re no good, and tell us our work sucks.  They’re the ones who make us feel hopeless.

Children don’t hear those voices – they create stuff because it feels good to them.  They don’t care.  Children shine their little lights and everything they do is wonderful, the best part about this is that they know it too; nobody has told them otherwise yet.


Start off Small.  That is, think like a small person – ignore the critical voices, whether they be in your mind or for real and create something just for fun.  Let your guard down, be brave, don’t be afraid to make a mark on the paper now.  Try something new, a medium you’ve never worked with but secretly always wanted to.  Do something that feels outrageous to you, life is very short and it’s vital that we believe that we are able to do what we enjoy, whether as a new part time hobby or a full scale venture that we hope to turn into a business someday.

Find yourself a scoop of inner courage and think Small.  Do it.  If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sat  here writing this to you today.

Much love to you, and thanks for visiting today
Julia x

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21 thoughts on “Start Off Small

  1. I love these "inspirational" posts that you are doing Julia – very wise and true. It took me 50 years to do what I really wanted to do and believe that I could but I love evry minute of my work now.

  2. It's very scary to see how soon children are stifled into the 'norm' mould. There should be a lot more mould smashers out there! I'm going to go and do something really icky now, not sure what but I just want to be icky.

  3. Yes. Those voices. I've been hearing them quite a bit recently. I'm going to shut my ears to them next time I get out the magicbean box, thank you. Ax

  4. Thank you so much for this lovely post and thank you for reminding us not to listen to "those voices"! It feels so good to shut our ears and believe in what we love to make :)Angie

  5. Another timely reminder for me Julia, thank you.Your daughter is such a little sweetie and because you are her Mother I don't think she'll have all the 'angst'.

  6. Very true a blank page always scares me, so vast and plain. Kids just don't care which is great. Thanks for the inspirational post.

  7. Lovely to see your little girl with her happy painty hands! It's great to be able to access the child in ourselves when we create, so we really enjoy what we do and put our heart into it.Helen x

  8. Hello Julia! Wonderful post again! Your sweet girl looks so happy with her hands in paint! She is so lucky to have a mom to support and give materials to try everything! Happy Easter! xxx Teje

  9. I can remember being a kid and finding out that plasticine and paint turned brown when everything got mixed together! I think it was then that I endeavored to be more careful mixing colours..I didn't like brown!

  10. I think you get back to not thinking too deeply or caring much what others think of you or what you do, be that creative or otherwise, when you reach a certain age. Self-consciousness seems to go, and you feel like a free spirit having stopped caring what others think. I am in that happy phase.

  11. Your posts have really hit the nail on the head. To just have the time to create is so important in whatevermedium we aspire to. Thank you!

  12. She looks so very happy and content, it must be wonderful to watch her just playing and creating her masterpieces! Have a wonderful Easter Julia xx

  13. Happy Easter Julia!!!hope you have much fun over the bank holidays xXxMillie

  14. Thank you for this posting Julia. Inspirational stuff. You've put into words, far better than I could, that we should all try to revert to a younger mindset when faced with a blank canvas!

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