I've been having some great conversations lately. Whether they be in person or as witness to the conversations of others, what is coming through loud and clear is that when we are honest about the questions and curiousities we have, our interests and ideals; when we are truthful about our hurts, about what bothers us, what we want more of, less of, we tap into the grit of what matters to us. We become inspired. We become greater than our parts. Here's why...Read More
Something in me changed last year. I can't explain it. For someone practiced in the habit of pushing the boat out, I did something very out of character.
I'm a bit of a control freak, a fixer... a need to always feel on top of, if not ahead of where I'm at.
As if readiness suddenly arrives, announcing with total confidence that a journey may begin.
It's a well rehearsed worry, based in the belief that I'm not ready, not good enough...yet'.
Then almost a year ago, I kind of threw myself out the door only half dressed. It was a fit of inspiration and I've been running around like a half naked women trying to dress herself in motion ever since. (Might explain the dreams)
So, what I realise now is that the not ready...not enough, has to be part of the journey. You can't wait for that to expire first, before beginning something.
You have to start somewhere. Although it's a hard habit to break, what I also realise is that when inspiration strikes, you get infected by something more powerful than worry. When truly, deeply inspired, the driving seat is reclaimed.
I'll be honest. I'm easily overwhelmed. It doesn't take much to stress me out.
Yesterday, as I traveled between 3 meetings, covering over 300 miles, I absorbed a huge amount of information, support, guidance and assistance. My mind, although stuffed, also (as usual) found room for question and doubt.
I spent my day with 3 people, non of whom question my readiness or ability. Each took time out of their day to help me navigate the next steps on this path, they only see my potential. This has been the case not just yesterday but over the past few months. I have had nothing but believers, encouragers and teachers show up for me!
"Oh my god, what have I done!" I confided in one, who is a friend I've know a long time. "well, you can't give up" was her response. Simple. That was NOT an option.
You know how they say sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees? Well, my friend saw me struggling in the thickets, she grabbed a strimmers and she hacked.
Taking out her phone, she googled something I had been 'unable' to find through my 'I can't' filter, made a call and within minutes, we had a plan.
As I was driving home, my heart still racing, my throat tight and the knotted ball in my belly, I got so sick of myself and this reaction to challenge. Stress and overwhelm... it's exhausting and it does me no favours.
So I had a re-frame. I asked myself "why am I the only one worried about my ability?". "Why am I driving home from a day filled with guidance, inspiration and challenge with a feeling of dread?"
"Why don't I reach for gratitude instead?" And so I did. And suddenly, everything felt better, it all felt right.
I only have where I'm at, now, today. Where I'm headed is dictated entirely by me embracing that. I have to stop worrying about the lack of a woods because there 'aren't enough' trees. There will be, in time but only by planting them, one by one, by one.
One tree at a time... that's my plan.
I want to follow this up with a practice, so that I don't just arrive at it via anxiety anymore. I want to cultivate Gratitude, make it my go-to. I've spent too many years cultivating dread... I'm done.
If you have any suggestions on cultivating gratitude please let me know! I love music and audiobooks, so suggestions are welcome :)
Taking the baton from the beautiful Maz Hawes of Diving for Pearls, it's my turn to participate in this arty blog hop circulating the blogosphere. I recently met Maz on an art retreat here in Ireland. We took the same classes, but not together, so I hadn't seen her art until we became acquainted online. I did however, notice her impeccable style and commented one day that she looked like a walking canvas. (It was of course a compliment, let me just say, I tend to spill collections of words and hope they translate as intended!)
Please go and check out her blog... she not only creates beautiful art journal spreads, but her photography of them is stunning, STUH-NING. OK? ok.
So I'm here to talk a little bit about my art, process and purpose...
please god let me achieve this without descending into the abyss of over thinking
How does my creative process work?
I'm going to be honest here. I am new to creating consciously and therefore to claim to have a fool proof process would be to lie. So let me say this first, my process is in process...ahem.
So on one level I'm a newbie, but really I'm an old timer in expressing myself on paper... I have always spilled myself out in private, mostly through journals (of the writing / doodling kind) though I didn't connect what I was doing to creativity until recently.
I had painted before years ago, but blocked myself with an 'art is only for people who are good at painting / drawing/ sketching' mindset and as a result I didn't stick with it.
Earlier this year I discovered that wasn't the case and I took out my supplies again, (having stashed them away) and started 'doing my own thing'... Addicted ever since.
There are a few elements in everything I do.
Motivation: Emotion has a huge part to play in my creativity.
I am inspired not so much by beauty and positivity initially, but by the anxieties, conflicts and challenges of emotionally charged experiences and then, going through a process of turning them around.
I suppose you could say it's how I make sense of things, it's how I arrive at a positive conclusion or acceptance! Emotion, making meaning, learning and sharing, make me tick. I'm fascinated by emotion, the way it is experienced by each of us, the behaviours it drives and the meanings we make.
I'm motivated to normalise being an emotionally led person, for myself and for others, because sometimes I think we're treated like irrational, broken people, all because we actually give a shit.
To that end, I'm open about my anxieties! Yay!!
Layers: Rarely do instigating conflicts make their way to the surface of the finished product. That usually goes into the first layers. I start every piece with either scribbling thoughts or splashing out colour. I find the more frantic and negative emotions tend to come out very busy, heavy on colour and with lots to say, I end up with more work on my hands because I've to 'pull back' then.
The thoughts were mostly negative & self defeating to begin with, but I have found myself scribbling more positive, self supporting thoughts the more I've been creating. When more calm is the case, I create my paintings with greater ease, more space, less conflict. They come together better and I feel more balanced and seem to get more bang for my creative buck with them. The frantic ones usually put me through the mill and I end up in a metaphorical fight trying to tame them. When I push, they push back... much like life really.
Symbolism: My work is mainly symbolic and so far has been just my girl Daisy Jane and her little music Bird, I call him Dickie. He symbolises the stamps of others in her life. I'm starting to think now of other symbols I want to introduce. I love flowers and hearts too. Daisy's eyes are her main focus, she hides behind them a lot... there's usually something going on, something she mightn't want you to see; her hair is becoming a thing now too, another place to hide I suppose. I don't use imagery from my surroundings in my ideas for painting, but I've recently learned that I need to open my eyes a bit and look around for inspiration.
Words... I'm caught between whether or not to use words in my pieces and have recently discovered that when I create with the desire to add words, I fall into some sort or conflict again. My inner critic / cynic has a real resistance to allowing me put positive, encouraging words on my work. I actually hear him saying things like 'that's not what it's really about' or 'you don't really think that' or 'you're just trying to be like so & so & I'm not buying it'; this obviously is something I'm working to overcome.
When I allow my mind into a creative space, it arrives like a bully and kicks my stuff around the place in disregard. So, I've now found a way to circumvent this, by cutting up poetry or whatever and re-arranging pre chosen words in front of me instead of trying to write my own, (and therefore inviting the cynic). I believe I'll starve him eventually.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? Why do I do what I do?
The genre my art belongs to I suppose is mixed media, but there's a healing component to my work. I write about vulnerability and self belief a lot; I'm very open and reflective in my writing. I get a lot of feedback on how honest I am in my writing. That's because what I'm really saying is: "Hey, are you terrified you're the only one here without a clue as to what you're suppose to be doing / feeling / saying / being? Me too!"
The idea is that you can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. You can be sad and not broken. You can be confused and not useless; scared and not paralysed, struggling and not ashamed. You can be loads of things you're 'not supposed to be' and be still worthy and loveable.
A lot of art has a healing undercurrent, so that's mine!
What am I working on now?
I'm just starting now to take some interesting art classes, online.. that way I can avail of what makes most sense to me, as opposed to general or traditional art classes. I did that a few years ago and gave up in frustration when I failed miserably (see?) to create scenes and landscapes that weren't really doing it for me anyway! So I'm stepping outside my comfort zone and making a practice of stretching and... sketching shudders
I'm also embracing art journalling and really enjoying that.
Mostly I'm working on creating pieces and developing a style, finding a way to produce prints, most likely do a website, etsy... all that fun stuff that acts like magic by making hours and days disappear!
Oh, I'm also moving house... just so that I can experience the maximum amount of stress!
So that's me... I've hopped my blog!
Thank you Maz and I would like to introduce two ladies who have blogs and beautiful art and goodies for you to visit also...
Artful Blogger and Artist Glenda Waterworth; recently awarded at an art retreat final night awards ceremony as 'most likely to exhibit at the Guggenheim'... Glenda describes her blog as 'a reflection of me – not perfect, never finished, always experimenting and endlessly curious', Yes! Check her out! You can buy supplies off her too through her online shop Chocolate Baroque (doesn't that sound divine! She doesn't sell chocolate though, I checked)
Mixed media Folk artist Tamara Laporte. This is my kinda girl. Honest, Inspiring, Healing. I met Tamara recently and before we even put our first conversation to bed, I had major respect for this lady. Tamara 'believes that the act of creating art can be a gateway into healing and personal growth' – Amen! Check out her art classes (I'm taking some!) they contain as much healing inspiration as art techniques. I love her!
Thanks for reading!!
Bye for now!! <3