From TJ Magazine: Cook looks

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Written by Jo Cook on 12 November 2019 in Features

Jo Cook reignites her passion for art and discovers great learning along the way.

Reading time: 2 minutes

I have written about creativity before (TJ December 2016); about how it comes out in all sorts of different ways and we should embrace it. Well I’ve started embracing art, and I’ve been loving the creativity, the messiness and the outcomes, as well as the learning.

People have asked how I’ve got back into it, and it was a number of things. I’d attended Krystyna Gadd’s webinars on using a tablet to draw digitally and use the output in training, and discovered my artistic outputs weren’t too bad.

I interviewed Stephanie Barnes and Doug Shaw for our webinar and got all enthused by what they were doing.

There were a number of other subtle nudges, but the biggest one was me thinking “when I retire I’ll get into painting”. Which is ridiculous, as that could be 20 or 30 years away, and why not do it now!

So I started doing terrible drawings, then following some YouTube channels to improve, and joined some Facebook groups for inspiration and information.

It was about focusing intently on something; what Csíkszentmihályi calls “flow”

I joined a fluid art class, where you literally pour cups of paint over a canvas and tilt it to make patterns and shapes. I was hooked! It was so much fun, so colourful and with delightful patterns.

Mostly it was about focusing intently on something; what Hungarian psychologist Csíkszentmihályi calls “flow”, and was a mindful way of doing something.

It was a great way to handle stress and emotions. And was fun to get covered in paint, too!

Since then I’ve joined an art club and I’m loving experimenting with different styles of painting, using mediums I’ve never used before, like alcohol inks which I’d never heard of, and charcoal, which I loved.

I’ve been sharing most of my pictures on Instagram and some on Twitter with the hashtag #InktoberLnD. The feedback has been so positive, even on the pieces that really aren’t that great.



The point is that people can see you trying something new, being brave enough to share it, and also seeing progress from one week to the next.

#InktoberLnD started on the back of #Inktober, which aims to get people drawing, and I’m proud that I started a small but significant ‘thing’ on Twitter for L&D people.

I’m learning about myself, failure, using YouTube for learning (including how to make sure videos are interesting and to the point, rather than 12 minutes of waffle).

I’m also reminded about the kindness of others when working out loud.

Best of all, I’m learning about art and creating things I love and that I can gift to others, too. What do you need to reignite in yourself ?


About the author

Jo Cook is the deputy editor of TJ and is responsible for TJ webinars


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Submitted on 13 November, 2019 - 15:02
Agree Jo - we don't need to wait until retirement to reignite our forgotten (or just buried in busyness) creative passions. I've recently joined a life drawing group; it's difficult, exasperating, challenging - and wonderful.


Submitted on 13 November, 2019 - 14:39
thanks for the comment Dawn, will reference it on the podcast this week :)

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