In these strange times how are YOU staying positive?

These are strange times indeed! I’ve been reflecting a lot these past few days, a lot of sleepless sessions at 4am have been spent wondering about what is to come from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is my home, I grew up here. Luckily I am fortunate to have travelled quite a bit. I have written about many of the places I’ve visited here on OiOi Arts, sharing in the creativity I have encountered across the world.

There is no better feeling than the freedom that travel brings. I’ve worked and travelled across SE Asia and beyond. Teaching, working in studios, galleries and schools. I love my memories and can’t wait to make more!

Yes, these are difficult times and we find ourselves in uncharted waters. But, we will adapt and create an alternative “normal” during this time. It will pass and in the meantime I do feel some sense of reassurance that I am not alone. I think for me, that is a key takeaway in all this, that even in this situation, there are opportunities to be found. Its given a chance to reflect on things and I really want to take this as an opportunity to proactively get back to the things I love – like this blog!

I love my day job, I work with a great team. I’ve always been pretty lucky to have great colleagues. “Change is good” is a term thats been batted about relentlessly this past year… just as well because there’ll be plenty of it to come!

In my day job I work in the third sector, for an arts organisation based here in Edinburgh. I head up their meanwhile spaces initiative, providing temporary/ongoing space for creatives across disciplines, nationwide. We, like everyone else will have to adapt over the coming months and re-imagine the way we engage and work.

I love speaking with all the creatives we provide space for. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to see, first hand, the positive impact this program has. These past few days have made me realise that it’s more than that though. The true positivity comes from the creatives at the heart of what I do, this is also at the heart of this blog. I LOVE speaking with artists and sharing their work, their passion is infectious. 

I sometimes miss teaching, and the travelling! But I love that I have so many memories and such a wealth of experience in all the places i’ve worked/ travelled to.

I set this blog up with a clear vision: to travel the world and share great art along the way. And, while the travelling side has naturally slowed to make way for a more settled way of living, the art is still out there to be discovered! and this is what I want to get back to doing. Finding, sharing and starting conversations about the great creative inspiration I come across.

This was how the first blog looked! Along with a few shots of inspiring moments – swimming with majestic whale sharks in Mexico, the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate in London and food! Food is such a huge part of my travels, food doodles like this are my meditation.

I hope to refocus my energies on OiOi Arts, sharing beautiful artworks and creative inspiration from across the globe, to lift the mood and support fellow creatives. To reimagine my platform into a creative community to engage, support and help lighten the mood at this very strange and surreal time.

3 years ago I spent a month in Cambodia and while there I spent some time teaching English at the local school. In the evenings I created a painting with the children, many of which had never had the opportunity to paint. They had so much fun they continued after the sun set as they just didn’t want to go home. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, you can read about that here.

In an age where we are more connected than ever, taking a step back has been quite sobering, I’ve certainly had more clarity on where I want my priorities to be and for the most part they start and end at home. I find myself feeling quite rejuvenated with this new outlook. I think it’s easy to get absorbed in work and become stuck in a rut. Sometimes a bit of perspective and clarity, even if it takes a global pandemic, is a good thing!

Managing an art studio in Vietnam and teaching Canvas and Wine sessions hold some of my favourite ‘work related’ memories – I loved that job. I am also at my happiest when i’m with my family – here are 3 generations of lovely ladies (as well as my very dashing fiancée!)

I have friends from all over the world, great people that I’ve met through my various travel adventures. I’ve thought about them a lot these past few days, wondering where they are now, checking in and hoping they’re safe. The images I’ve been looking back at with nostalgia, seem like a lifetime ago. This will pass, and there will be more adventures, it’s just a matter of when.

I wanted to use this post to celebrate all the great people/places I’ve met on my adventures, as well as try to pen down in writing something to show that even in a really crappy situation there is opportunity? I don’t know if I managed that?! While I certainly am not denying or downplaying the severity of the situation I do feel that while this is the state of play, we might as well get something out of it! There is so much good and positivity out there, I hope you’ll stick around to see what the future of OiOi Arts holds, and to help be apart of an engaging community for creatives. 

And try to use this time to take something back for you, take an online course, learn a new skill, get back to what makes you… YOU.

Anna ❤️

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