Emma Howell

The Recap: Redefining an Adventure

Emma Howell
18 January, 2018


Happy New Year, Everybody! – I know, it’s a bit late into January to be saying that.. but oh well.

It’s now 2018, and I’m super excited to be writing again.

Let’s Recap

At the beginning of last year, I bit the bullet and decided to get back into painting as a way to deal with the loss of my Dad. Translating my emotions onto paper and canvas enabled me to get back in touch with reality; it genuinely made me feel a lot happier. So, I continued to paint a variety of abstract art collections and also maintained this blog, writing about life as an artist and ways to maintain a happy mind.

September came around and it had been a whole year since my Dad had passed away. And I’ll admit it, I fell into a hole of unhappiness again. Painting just wasn’t working any longer. I felt trapped in my studio and my creativity came to a halt. For most of the year, I was promoting happy art for a happy mind on my Instagram because I was happy and it was (mostly) because of the art I had been making. However, I put too many eggs in one basket. The day came when I tidied up my studio and gave myself freedom. I let myself back outside, where there’s fresh air, engaging sounds and you know, people.

A family holiday to Crete was the game changer for me. I wanted to press the reset button and that’s exactly what I did.

Blank notebooks, pens, pencils, pastels, paints, jars and brushes filled my suitcase. I didn’t want to force myself to be creative whilst I was away. I brought my supplies with me just in case I felt the urge to paint or if I found inspiration. I’d had various project ideas planned for whilst I was away, and I did carry them out- but unfortunately, I didn’t feel connected to what I was creating.

What I did end up connecting with were my blank notebooks, which became very not blank by the end of the holiday. On the plane home, I was doing my usual multi-tasking (I get it from my Mum) by reading Helen Frankenthaler essays at the same time as flicking through the notebooks I’d been painting and writing in. For the duration of the trip, I’d taken these notebooks around with me everywhere, writing down conversations, describing landscapes, making marks and colours to sounds and textures- I’d been documenting everything, creatively.

The books made sense to me. It was like I’d written my own dictionary of experiences. The pages were filled with my interpretations of the way I saw things, heard things and felt things. I had come up with my own language of adventure and experience, and I’m the only person who’d understand it. These books felt very special and quite different to the usual sketchbooks I’d use at home.

Once I returned, I dug deeper into this new process and continued to use notebooks to document life. By doing so, it motivated me to interact with the outside world more. My studio remained vacant but my car’s mileage was ticking as I drove places to interpret and translate into (even more) notebooks, which I now call my adventure journals.

I felt adventurous – driving to places on my own, allowing myself to get lost in the countryside, hauling my art supplies around and truly making the most out of the environment I was in. This may seem like a breeze to some, but for a long time, if you’ve read my story before, you’ll know that I couldn’t interact with the world. So, this was a big deal for me.

My reset button had most definitely been pressed.

Present Day

What do you consider an adventure?

I redefined what the word meant to me:

Whether it be long or short, near or afar, an adventure is a physical and mental process of looking, seeking, finding and collecting. When you go on an adventure, you’re capturing moments, making minutes count and living life to the fullest.

And this is what I do.

I explore my mind and my surroundings to make artwork that tells stories. Wherever I go, I take a journal with me to interpret, record and comprehend the environment I’m in. I make marks from sounds, blend colours from landscapes, put into words the textures beneath my feet and write down overheard conversations. I’ve discovered that creating art is my preferred method of communicating how I see, hear and feel. In doing so, I want to demonstrate to people that embarking on an adventure and feeling the bark of a tree is not only a physical process, but also a mental one.

This year kicked off with a collaboration with Hobbycraft. Have you read it yet?

Here’s to 2018. It’s going to get adventurous.

See what I get up to on Instagram.