When I’m not sure what to do next, my personal history can act as a guide.
Happy Thursday to you! I hope that you are staying sane, healthy, and happy. Lots of crazy things are happening in our world right now and self-care is paramount. Since all of our near future travel plans have been derailed, it seems that now is a good time to hunker down at home and make lots of art.
One problem: art has been kind of hard for me to make recently. In the past couple of months, I have written about having trouble gaining any sort of 2020 momentum. There is no doubt to me now that I am in the midst of a greater transition than I initially thought. I am having to remap how I work, my goals, and my need to keep control over the future.
I am the type of person who once implements a plan, has a hard time diverting from it.
I know that we don’t have much control over what happens to us in the future, however, I am the type of person who once implements a plan, has a hard time diverting from it. It’s like the channel gets burned in my brain and I do whatever I can to make that particular plan happen.
Well…simply put….my plan wasn’t working. I have to be willing to surrender to the way things are happening, which is what I wrote about last week. I feel amazing to have made that choice and in fact, a few things are already opening up to me in new ways. All I had to do was make room for them in my stubborn brain.
One thing in particular that I’ve been struggling with is creating new art work. I have completed one painting in 2020. Compared to the 92 pieces I made in 2019….well…I have a bit of work to do. Problem is that I burnt myself out so bad at the end of last year, that I don’t feel particularly inclined to do anything specific artistically. In fact, the idea of getting back into the studio feels pretty daunting, and that is super unusual for me and my art.
Art is a practice in meditation and it is extremely calming to me.
I know that for me, being creative every day is a powerful tool. It enables me to get into that space where thinking stops, time flies, and my inner most thoughts pour out of my fingers and into whatever creative project I’m working on. Art is a practice in meditation and it is extremely calming to me. As you know, I tend to run on the anxious side…
When I first found the art program at my high school, I fell in love with drawing. I used mostly pencil and loved the way the graphite looked on the paper. Whenever I tried to add color, I was unhappy with how it changed the initial drawing.
I have always been a collector of children’s books and especially the amazing visions of Chris Van Allsberg, most famously known for The Polar Express and Jumanji. His illustrations are lush and vibrant and most of them are done in nothing but pencil.
Seeing his success made me realize that there was nothing wrong with using only pencil. I was hooked. I would bring my sketch pad and some photos to my favorite coffee shop and draw for hours. It was many of those drawings that got me into art school.
My first pencil drawing in a long while of my happy place, in progress.
Fast forward to now. I’ve been walking in and out of my studio looking at my supplies, trying to find a glimmer of inspiration to no avail. Then I saw my pencils. I pulled up some of my favorite beach photos and began drawing one. I haven’t done this in a long time and it feels like an old friend.
I’m at the point in my personal transition that I see a glimpse of a new routine developing. Now that there is a work in progress on my art table that requires no preparation beyond picking up a pencil, I’ve been getting back into a creative groove.
By looking back to something that I once absolutely loved to do, I’m re-discovering some passion.
Now, I’m aware that my hands cramp up faster, my eye sight is not as good as it was when I was younger, and I may have to invest in one of those magnifying lights, but that’s ok. I’m willing to adapt. The important thing for me to remember is that by looking back to something that I once absolutely loved to do, I’m re-discovering some passion, which 2019 nearly took all of.
We all know how it feels to be “stuck”. Perhaps there is wisdom in looking backward in order to create new solutions to move us forward. Does that make sense to you? I’d love for you to tell me, in the comments below, about a time that you gain new insight from your past.
I’ll share the finished drawing soon. In the meantime, above is a painting from my Control & Chaos series, which I’ll be offering at the end of the month. Destroyer, 24"x24", Mixed Media on Panel. It’s funny, I’ve always thought of the “control” being the centering part of this series, but now that I’ve surrendered, I’m seeing quite an amount of wisdom in the “chaos” part. That may be where the pearls lie...
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I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.