A couple of weeks ago, I got myself a pack of 10 canvases. Considering I haven't had much of a relationship with painting -lately- it was a bit of a weird choice to go so overboard with my purchase. They were cheap, and a series was calling me. When I finally spread out my materials, shut off my distractions, put on my paint clothes, and decided to let my paintbrush do the talking, I saw something that surprised me. I was coming from a place of distress.
It has been a struggle to openly admit that I'm tired of the world. The anger, the immaturity, the pussy hats, the fighting, the pointing fingers, the war, the competition for who is hurting the most. It's so tiresome, and I don't feel I have to be part of it on a daily basis to classify as caring. Happiness is a recipe we all want to get our hands on, yet it is bashed and trashed for being too much. It's not a competition. I've decided that if I can't control the sanity of the world, I can at least control my own.
Since becoming a paid artist, the disconnect from work and art have come to blur my vision. For years now, I've been doing it in an entirely different way from what is natural to me. My skills haven't improved, my drive no longer exists, I'm following lists of instructions from someone else's vision, in some ways I'm even dumbing it down so far below my capabilities just to play it safe for what is acceptable. Art isn't about reading minds, or doing what you're told. At least not for me. Ask any artist about custom orders and they'll likely tell you the same story. So soon as we're asked for reason, we shut down. It's what I believe kills creativity to begin with.
I've struggled with seeing the value of my position, even though there are a number of incredible artists who I look up to. I don't know how to put myself in a higher position, or even see myself as intelligent, or brave enough to firmly believe that what I have to offer has far more value than a marketed price tag. It's where my confidence falls short, where I don't trust even my own voice, and why I'm pushing harder to understand what it is that keeps us standing in our own way. All at once, I'm discovering my true value. This is a push to move forward.
This is still a growing practice, putting myself out there. I don't even know where I'm going with it. All I know is that a lot of struggles are going on under the surface, along with what is going on outside. It's not easy to keep up with, and I feel that now is the time to really find the strength to get through this. You are in more control than you are led to believe.
I'm here to help you.
I feel we could all use some time to acknowledge our strengths. In this busy world, it often takes an actual effort to make time for ourselves; where it becomes too simple to look past all of those things that really matter. The world has been in a flip floppy place. Emotions are high, feelings are vulnerable, and the tension is thick. I'd say it's almost toxic to get too close to it right now, and so, I'm pulling at my own heart to hear it out, and heal. It's time.
If there's one thing I'm good at, it's healing. The downside is that I had to learn through some really unfortunate experiences. I've been told that I'm more optimistic than I allow myself to believe, because when things become a natural habit, we often forget that not everyone feels or believes or behaves the same. Optimism isn't an easy thing to hang onto, when life gets real, and throws a punch or two in your direction. We can get totally knocked off of our feet, and have no idea when we'll land. It's when I call upon my creativity, to map out the journey to get there. I suppose that's a gift I should be more grateful for. I don't know what I'd do without it.
It's why I want to share more. It's something I feel people can get some real closure from, to express in their own way; once we get rid of rationalizing and trying to understand everything. I'm a great over thinker, but I never block myself from feeling it out. If I did, I likely wouldn't be drawing anymore. It's why I feel sort of sad when I hear people say that they "can't" draw, when it's really a matter of trying. I feel creativity is what keeps our hearts alive and happy. Look at how kids play with their imaginations. I'm pretty sure most of us were like that at some point. I don't believe in ever letting that go.
When my grandma died, it was probably the biggest life altering experience ever. I had no idea how I was going to go on without her, and sometimes, even after 20 years, I think of her and wish I could sit at her kitchen table and just chat for hours. It's what we did best. When that was gone, it was absolutely like I'd lost such a part of myself that would never return. Loss has an incredible impact on so much around us, never realizing how much it takes from us, as we move forward as different people. This is life, and it's not easy to accept at all times. I just like to remember that I've gotten through it, and to a better place since then. I didn't think it was possible. I have my art to thank for that. It literally painted a picture of everything I was feeling underneath the surface. That's the beauty.. You get to see it all in front of you as you let it all out into the open. What's more special is that it's all yours to know, see, feel, and understand. It sort of builds a special relationship all over again, that no one but you will ever know.
I painted pictures of trees. It's something my grandma once said she'd like to come back as, if given the chance; so she could continue to provide for her family. We never planted a tree, but I chose to look at my surroundings as a comforting presence to bring her closer to me, for my own healing. The more I painted trees, the more I accepted that this was the shape she would forever remain. It's of course not the same as who I remember, but something I can go to if I ever need to get through those lumps of coping with life and death. It closes those gaps of distance that we have no control over. I am so appreciative for all of my tree paintings. I think it might be time to make another one, just to see how much has changed. I'm sure my grandma would be proud of who I am today.
I use my creativity to get through personal challenges. When I was heading to the island, in 2015, I drifted into isolation, and yet my art went into outer space. I realized my fears and curiosities of the unknown, and let it be a part of me. I was moved by Bowie's Space Oddity because the words inspired me to take the leap into an unfamiliar place, just to see what I could discover for myself. I will never forget the drive, and hearing that first strum of the guitar to start me on my journey. An image came to mind, my thoughts exploded, and before I could rest on the first night I arrived, I was in my sketchbook, recording these thoughts. This will always be a moment in life that I'll value forever. It's when I changed entirely, and found who I am. I sometimes still don't know who that is, but I know if I need guidance, I can pick up a pen and see for myself.
Art is an act of expression, and it speaks in many volumes. It can come in the form of a painting, drawing, a song, a sculpture, a poem.. endless mediums that bring an incredible amount of healing and emotional discovery. I hate to admit that when shit gets bad, I look at it as an opportunity to make great things. It's like the Trump stuff. We're all sick of it, we're all fearful; but we can laugh for a moment at someone's comical depiction of him; because we need that relief from our feelings. It doesn't mean we don't care, it's just a reminder that we can find laughter in the face of so much negativity and in some ways terror. I just don't believe we have to be in that thick of emotion, in order to be a part of society. It's why I said that when Trump was elected, the world is going to have some amazing art to share.
I'm looking to express, and practice more of my strengths; because the point of this post was for my own personal reminder. Healing takes time, and I believe we all go through moments of absolute despair and frustration. If you are in need of some relief from the real world, pick up a pen, sit down at your piano, dig out those scrap pieces of fabric, scissors, ink, a new journal for your thoughts. Don't deny your creativity the time to speak. If you're hurt, alone, sad, broken, beat; now is the time to pull out your finest.You know you have it in you, and so do I. There is so much to share with the world around you. It needs more love.
I'm here for you.