For my 38th birthday a friend of mine took me on a journey to help me find my creativity, it was an interesting journey.

On a wet London Saturday morning I met my friend and we walked to an old factory in Deptford (South-East London), an area now populated with lots of artists working in space converted from old factories and warehouses. It was wet, the buildings were big and grey and I was nervous. I was on my way to meet Nick, thats not my way of saying I was on my way to meditate and meet myself but another Nick, an artist called Nick who worked in a studio in this impossibly tall and old building. The rain stopped for a second as I read a rather faded sign that said ‘This door bell does not work, please call by mobile’. The sign didn’t have a mobile number on it, so I scrambled around in my bag and found a wet piece of paper from which I just about could read the number. I phoned, Nick didn’t answer. In a moment of hope I thought, “he’s not in, great an excuse to go home and do something normal’. Just as that thought spontaneously left my mind and a big blob of rain hit my phone it vibrated into life and I knew it was Nick. The conversation was very convivial; he came down and let us in.

We climbed several sets of old industrial stairs and entered his studio. I asked myself why was I here? What did I want to find out? Do I have any artistic capability? I realised that I wanted to let go a bit and see if I could adopt some creative Free Mental Attitude. I dripped on the studio floor and we apologised for being late, there were four others there and I quickly felt at home. They were like me, a little apprehensive but interested in learning. My next thought wasn’t so reassuring – it’s a small group, where do I hide! No time for that, Nick is off, describing his passion for art, creativity and beauty.

I thought he might teach me some technical skills but no he suggested looking at some art books for inspiration. Everyone obeyed; I flicked a book about the current TATE Watercolour exhibition and unlike everyone else was fed up quickly. I suddenly wanted to paint, so I picked up a brush grabbed some paper and just painted and painted and painted. In the time everyone else had finished composing their ideas, I had completed four… things. It was a mess of stuff, it was yellow, red and had a small face, it was me and I felt like I had let go of something. After lunch with wine and cheese I was off again, I couldn’t stop, greens, blues, yellows and reds I slowed down I sped up, I felt angry, sad and I let it onto the paper. Maybe none of it makes any sense to anyone but me, but for a few small hours somewhere in Deptford, i met Nick and he let me paint and I loved it. I was there 100% a feeling of presence and expression I don’t know too well in my life. Well Nick I said, so what do I do next? He said nothing, just keep painting and you’ll find your way, accept what comes.

I liked Nick, he taught me to be with myself, by just putting some paints in front of me. I thanked my friend for a great birthday present and we both vowed to go back.