Why I do what I do.

posted in: Sally Atkins Artist | 0

A simple question was sent out by the Dream Plan Do author Patricia van der Akker this morning to all of us that are following the 2019 DPD work book… Why?

Why do you do what you do?  Simple – not really; complex – definitely.

She wanted each of us to delve deep to find out the whys behind what we do, why are we a self-employed creative? why we do a particular craft/art? why we choose this against paid employment?  She wanted us to come up with at least 10 answers – why, why, why.

I decided not to think too much about it and got my little note-book out and started and it was like I’d opened a vein!  I didn’t stop til I’d written 14 (yes FOURTEEN) responses to my why!  I think if I had turned over the page I could have come up with many more but I decided that this was more than enough… anyway – this is what I wrote:

1. To be free from the 9-5 mentality

2. To use my talents at last

3. To wake later (not a morning person at all) and work later if needed

4. To be free to meet people and visit places

5. I sketch because it’s quicker and easier for me to just carry a sketchpad and ink pens

6. For my health – fibromyalgia stops me more and I’d be constantly worried about being sacked for ill attendance if employed

7. I want to create something that lasts, that brings joy

8. I want my life and work to be the same thing – no demarcation

9. To be free, to not feel constrained by regulations, rules and time

10. I want to develop and write, illustrate books of places with social history snippets that enthrall people about where they live or visit

11. To be outside in the daylight more – not stuck in an office

12. To ultimately travel more and become more adventurous

13. To earn money, enough money not to worry

14. To fulfil my dream of living and creating all my days, with bare feet and ankle bracelets (I was only a child when I dreamed this!)

I found the exercise surprising and enlightening and energising!  I immediately went and completed two commission sketches I had been putting off due to their complexities.  I felt emboldened.  Like (because) I’d spewed all these words on to a page (actually 3 – it’s a small notebook) I had unlocked myself from a stalemate; I had stalled and now thanks to this little, but big in a lot of ways, exercise I had been restarted.

Patricia wrote back and said “Oh this is soooo full of life and values! I hope you are sharing like this with your potential clients?”  Another good question and the answer is No I haven’t shared my whys with anybody until now!  Not even ME!  So I promised to her, and to myself, that I would blog about it tonight.

So, how do I go about sharing more of what matters to me with my potential customers?  That’s the next question I need to answer.  I’d love to have your opinions on this as this pulled me up sharp as I realised that I like doing these exercises but when it comes to putting theory in to practice I start to stumble.  What are your suggestions?


On Saturday afternoon we went into Liskeard to see if we could get a shirt for Dave from a shop that had been recommended to him… so we park up in the Market car-park and stop first in Olive to get some food, only problem was they close at 3pm on a Saturday!!! So we had to have fruit cake and coffee… never mind.  It’s lovely in there and just across the road from the shop we needed.   At 3pm we toddled across the road and into this very traditional little shop that probably hadn’t changed in the last 30yrs.  At the back was the mens department and Dave ask the shop owner about shirts – unfortunately Dave height and size is not Cornwall height and size… he’s a giant in comparison.  So the largest shirt was way too short in the arms and didn’t reach his trousers.   I didn’t want to traipse around Liskeard so we got back in the car and drove back towards the A390.

The sky was amazing, billowing clouds piled like whipped cream along the horizon, white and grey wisps falling like rain storms but the sun was bright and no rain was falling.  Dave wanted to go cloud watching so we headed off the A390, over the A38 towards St Neot and up to Bodmin Moor.  Eventually stopping by a clump of fir trees near the A30 at Collingford Pool.  The light was low and bright and cast a golden sheen on the greens and greys of the moor land.  The clouds seemed far away now and we had a big sky of blue.  It was cold.  It always is on Bodmin Moor.  I donned my wellies and walked over the mossy boggy land away from the road and found a large flat boulder to stand on and breathe.  Big lungfuls of crisp clean air, damp with the moisture of the land.  I could see the lake and the distant Tors of Roughtor and Brown Willy.  (oh to have a blog entitled ‘the day I climbed Brown Willy’) and blue stained sheep were staring curiously at me from the neighbouring field, than scarpered as soon as got closer.

We watched as the sun dipped lower and the temperature followed suit.  We were a stones throw from Jamaica Inn so back in the car we turned around, crossed the A30 and turned off towards the Inn.  Parking right outside the front of the pub we unlatched the heavy wooden door and entered the darkened interior of the ancient building.  The inglenook fire was ablaze and the neighbouring table was empty so perfect place to get warm.  Food was being served in half an hour so we sat and watched the flames licking and twisting round the logs and chunks of coal.  Although I do enjoy visiting the Inn I so want to change the decor – it’s got carpet on the floor which would go and the stone floor would be exposed, the terrible 1980s reproduction pub furniture would go and in would come original dark wood benches and long tables.  I can but dream!

We ate well and enjoyed the gentle atmosphere of the place in winter… outside the sun had dipped below the horizon and the moon was high and the Western sky was awash with a deep pink golden glow… gorgeous.

Thankfully Dave drove home and we were back in time for the 9 o’clock film.   My kind of Saturday night!

Next on my list of MUST DO is the tax return…. deep breath!  Tomorrow I finally get to Looe – last week was way too wet to venture there to sketch, but the weather look set to be better tomorrow.  Fingers Crossed!

Sally xx

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