This year, I came across an article extolling the virtues of doing 5 hours per week of something you love, where you’re in the ‘learning zone’ and that isn’t your work or part of daily life. Apparently, successful people do this and to great…well, success.

With this outlandish notion in mind, I waded through my seemingly crushing mental load of responsibilities and was met with the familiar avalanche of resistance familiar to any female juggling work and home life and trying to stay sane/happy in the mix.

Buddhist monks say; meditate for 10 minutes every day and if you’re really busy, meditate for 1 hour! The same logic should surely apply?

One week later, I came across an ad for a local oil-painting class and had an immediate urge to paint a still-life of, specifically, lemons – on a dark, sombre background. I quieted my inner protests – ‘what are you thinking? You’ve never painted more than a wall! You are rubbish at drawing, etc.’ and enrolled. One whole morning on a Thursday painting, chasing colour and form in a glorious, light-filled front room. It was bliss. I felt like I’d been on another planet for a week. Time well spent, I say.

Painting, like fragrance creation, is emotional. It can be both exhilarating and agonising, leading to utter despair or total elation, depending.

What I’ve learnt over the course has very naturally fed into my creative process designing fragrance for both my own line and signature scents for clients. Mostly, I’m fascinated by the idea of adjacency. The value of one thing being dictated by what is sitting next to it. Exploring colour and tone on a canvas and in perfume creation is very much the same. My process is very much sitting one thing next to another and seeing what happens, how the fragrance begins to reveal itself to you, in scent as in paint.

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