Being in the shed during lockdown

7 August 2021 | Mick Timpson

Mick talks about the joy of doing and what you need to do to feel it.

I have always drawn, sculpted and made stuff since my early teens.  I have always wanted to paint too, but always found the process too slow. All that mixing of paint, cleaning of brushes and canvas preparation, for me, just got in the way. 

When I work I apply what we call at beanddo, ‘conscious action’. In other words the work is meditation. It is what Aldous Huxley called ‘Field – Work’, making everything you do a meditation. In other words – FLOW. 

Working in flow requires a very particular mindset. You also have to work fast and keep moving. 

During the last few months I have been confined to the shed and its there where I have been exploring and experimenting with flow. 

I started with soft chalk pastel during the lockdowns and that really helped me to get a little closer to the large scale, flowing, colour mark making that paint gives you. With chalks I could just pick a colour and spread it onto the paper immediately.  But still paint was calling…

But now, thanks to my friend Martin Nash (a proper artist)  I have found a new way to paint – straight onto the paper and I can’t seem to stop. 

I apply paint in a way that helps it dry quickly. I work on two pieces at a time and swap between them. I try it many ways.  It may look like I am in control, but I am not. I am following the flow that unfolds inside the process.  I discover things as I go. The painting is discovered, not invented.  I paint, I sit, I look, and the painting will often suggest what the next step is going to be. I never know for sure.

But what I do know is I am compelled to do it, for its own sake. And it’s a joy.

I don’t think when I paint. It’s a meditation. I am just being and doing and there is no difference between them. There is no thought of outcomes, no making of comparisons or judgements,  solutions or meaning. The painting will have its meaning outside of me. And as many of my design students, friends and colleagues will know. You have to work, work and work again.  The idea of waiting for inspiration doesn’t work. The process is the thing – NOT the product. 

This last point is important. For me it’s painting, for you it might be writing, acting, making, teaching, exploring, running etc… Whatever it is I can tell you that it’s flowing through you right now. You have to get out of your own way and let the thing flow from there to here.

I bet though, you are now hearing that inner voice that say’s – ‘oh I can’t do any of that. It’s alright for Mick he’s got a shed’.


Don’t let that inner critic tell you can’t do what is, right now, joyfully, flowing through the core of you. All you need to do is discover how to open up, get out of your own way and FLOW. 

In September beanddo are hosting a live workshop on How to Tame your Inner Critic. You can subscribe below:

You can see more of Mick’s artwork and design work here: