Good Monday morning everyone!

Above a scanned sketch I made, of a bottle of Chanel N°5 that my daughter gave me as a present. I’m a total newbie to drawing and painting so sharing these first attempts is risky. I can already pick out a gazillion mistakes and it makes me cringe, but that’s not the purpose of sharing this.

Yep, among the many things I’m learning I’ve taken up drawing and watercolour painting which segues quite nicely into todays thoughts – the cross-pollination in art and life of many things that may on the surface seem unrelated but which in fact are dear relatives. The dictionary defines “cross-pollination” as: influence or inspiration between or among diverse elements…a sharing or interchange of knowledge, ideas, etc. as for mutual enrichment; cross-fertilization.

Learning about art is a wonderful support and partner to learning perfumery – smell can take one into a heightened state of awareness and drawing allows you to loosen up and let go and see new relationships.  I find the warm up exercises, making circles with your whole arm, making lines, cubes, etc. they help me let go of the fear of making a mistake because I’m simply making marks on the page without judgment. The whole point is to loosen up and just do.

It’s easier in art to make mistakes – just erase a line or two or the whole thing or rip up the page and start all over again. Not so with learning perfumery, we tend to hold on to the mistakes because, hey, throwing away 10ml or 20ml of trials is like throwing away €50. And who wants to throw away money?! But throw away money we must if we are to get better. Learning perfumery is about experimentation – lots of it! And the learning shouldn’t be hindered by thoughts of “oh, shit, there goes €100!”.

It’s easier in art to make your mark, just pick up a box of crayons and a napkin and start doodling and call it done. A lot harder I find, to make your mark in perfumery since the challenges are many: the cost is rather high to experiment, the difficulties importing raw materials here in the EU, shipping issues, EU regulations, and simply the length of time it takes to evaluate an experiment. They all add up and many times I find the whole endeavour fraught with paralysing doubt, leading me down a path of OCD, the path of perfection, and of least practice. I had to find a way around these obstacles to learning and found that opening myself up to other avenues of creative expression does take the pressure off of learning a very expensive craft.

It’s easy to forget when working with essential oils that cost a small fortune that the important thing is to create, to do, to get your expression out of you and share it with the world. Whether we sell that expression of creativity is irrelevant to the journey of creating. What is important is to simply make – to engage with curiosity in the journey from imagination to hand to thing.

Sure it’s scary to make art or perfumes — anything that engages Soul authentically is frightening. Making art, making one’s own marks makes the heart beat faster — whether that’s painting, perfumery, sewing or architecture. But, in the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, “I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

So, let’s move boldly into our creations. Go make something today!

In joy,




5 thoughts on “Cross-pollination

  1. Hi Maxine! How exciting and what a great job. I took up learning to draw and watercolour last year and have found it to be incredibly meditative and relaxing. Part of the wonderful thing about learning to draw for me has also been about the ‘letting go’ and ‘loosening up’ without judgement. It’s great to see you sharing this on your perfume blog and seeing it as ‘cross-pollination’. I shared a couple of drawings on my perfume Facebook page but have been a little unsure as to whether to share my drawing attempts on my perfume blog – so unsure in fact that I started a new blog! Thanks for sharing because it has inspired me to occasionally include my other interests such as drawing on my perfume blog as well! Looking forward to seeing more of your drawings. Kerry x


    1. Hi Kerry! It’s really encouraging to hear that you like it! And how cool is that that we’ve both dipped into the pool of art to expand our creative abilities. Good for you. I hope the post has given you the courage to mingle the two, after all we humans are not one dimensional and your readers are definitely multi-talented. I too am looking forward to seeing your art on your blog!


  2. Hi Maxine
    strange isn’t it, that ‘engaging Soul authentically is frightening’? it is o so true, but why is it true? it should be the most rewarding, generous, satisfying way of life ever.. the only way to live. but we aren’t used to that, we’re used to making a ton of compromises, keeping everybody happy or at least, let them think they control us…. hm!
    how do you feel towards painting?? i find that pushing paint across a sheet of paper without judgment is easier than drawing. you can get beautiful stuff that way and not have to listen to any inner comments. It doesn’t even have to be abstract. It doesn’t have to represent anything. just pick a colour. i have worked with ocres from the provence, natural pigments that you mix with gum arabic and water, and you get all these earthy textures and flowing shapes, it’s really nice stuff to work with. it also has an english language option if that’s more comfortable.

    and as to cross-pollination: i find when I have been doing some painting, i see clearer after. I look around in the growing world and notice everythihg, and that makes me happy. so there you are..
    we are supposed to be Soul..
    keep at it, you are doing a woman’s job! Eline


    1. Hey Eline!
      Nice to hear from you :). I’m just in the splashing about phase right now, getting to know my colours, making colour charts etc., so can’t really say much other than I am totally enthralled by the world of colour. It makes me “feel” things that I can’t explain and that fills me with excitement and joy. Hey when we were in Provence a few years ago I grabbed some ochre sand (totally prohibited!) while at a park and have it sitting there and will definitely be making some paint with it! Yes, we are Soul and realising is a wonderful journey. Thank you for the encouragement :)! Have a great day!


Comments are closed.