It is December 2012. And after a busy summer season of local art shows and markets I realize this painting 'thing' is here to stay. I thought (and feared) *maybe* it was something that I'd get kicked out of. My overactive imagination sees a great hall, where a secret society of REAL artists deem you worthy or not. Will I pass the test? Or I fear that people will discover me as some sort of fraud. What is she doing here? they must think. This particular insecurity stems from my lack of art training. I'm an archaeologist for Pete's Sake!! Not sure when I'll start taking myself seriously (not too seriously mind you) and leave all this questioning behind me. Just do what you love dammit!! The rest will follow.
Despite my imagination and low self esteem's Control Center's best efforts to sabotage what I've started, things are going greater than imagined for me. I've had loads of support lately and I'm encouraged by the response over the busy summer months. AND... I sold a bunch of paintings!! You seasoned artists out there may forget this fragile time in your career- You know, the time when a mere compliment about one of your paintings made your day! And when people actually want to buy one of my paintings... well, I swear the shock and awe on my face should scare them away. I must learn the Art of Playing it Cool. Putting the silliness aside for a sec, I have deep gratitude each time. I feel like I'm on the 'right' path- I'm loving all that is developing between me and my art and I'm going to keep at it. Until I develop a new hobby. Like suduko, or something. No.
It's seems I've been busy lately. Besides the domestic diva stuff and being super mom (*massive sarcasm here) my days are full. My year has been BIG.
I've spent the last year doing deep deeeep soul work. I've been going away once a month to join a circle of incredible women. Over the year we supported each other in the process of stripping away the layers (and years) of crud to see what the real deal is. What does Joanne feel like when she's not living from a place of fear, for example. A year of working on our 'shit'. And how my shit flew. Instead of hitting the proverbial fan, it actually has been freeing. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say, after an intense year of meditation, dance, performance, writing and soul-illuminating exercises and discussions, I've come through this year feeling better than ever. And yes, it was a bunch of new age hippie dippie juicy goodness. And I highly recommend it. The upshot of the whole year was a reawakening of love: for myself.
Also I've been running a weekly dance evening here called Spirit Moves: Meditation in Motion. An intentional space where we stretch, move, dance, draw, and meditate in a dimly lit space. This is a volunteer gig for me, and it requires many hours each week: mainly putting playlists together and setting up the hall. I'm at the stage where I am re-evaluating my role here. And the amount of energy I have to give.
Plus, for the last 5 months i've been working my butt off. Well, it's still there. But it's much stronger now. Over the course of my adult life, my journey within this physical body has consisted of relentless dieting (though I would never admit to calling it such), compulsive (over) exercising, getting too thin, getting pregnant, gaining weight, losing the weight, getting pregnant again and gaining weight again and on it goes. Through it all I developed a thorough knowledge of calories, fat grams, points, etc. And I developed these 'Rules'. Well about 5 months ago I had enough. I threw out my rule book, for everything actually. But with food and my body I decided to just listen. Use my intuition to guide me- in terms of what to eat, and when. How much exercise is too little or too much. And I'm eating meat again. Not a lot, and what I do eat is the most consciously organic free range stuff I can buy. But meat agrees with me. I've tried everything to keep my iron up on a vegan/veggie diet and I end up sick. Enough making excuses for myself. Long story short: I feel great.
And um, what about painting and art? I'm painting as about a week ago. After a five-month hiatus (while I was focusing on my physical health and exercising in my precious free time), I am back in the studio. What prompted me to get out my paints is the death of our dear dog Sophie, only two weeks ago. One of the hardest experiences so far. I miss her terribly. A quick illness and a peaceful passing provides us with some comfort. The lack of her energy in the house is strange. So the painting I did was an attempt to soothe my soul. And once again, I reached for the paint brush in a time of need.
I hope that sound I heard wasn't your forehead hitting your keyboard. That did go on a bit. Just needed to catch myself up to speed. Art shows this summer and Farmer's Market on Saturdays! Hoorah!
This is what my husband is now calling me. Tongue very much in cheek. However there is a nugget of truth in there. I had my first 'showing' yesterday. The week leading up to it, I was a mess. Trying hard not to let on. The nerves were out of control and the thoughts of 'what am I doing?, I don't deserve this yet, I'm not an artist, am I deluding myself?, etc....."
But as hubbie and I were arranging the canvases on the display board, and other artists were doing the same, it felt o.k. Maybe even a little bit exciting. I kept peeking around at the other art that was going up. Many of the others were the usual suspects, the local artists I see around at shows often. Many of them, I admire very much. I was reminded again at how distinctly 'different' my art is. Then I realized how distinctly different each piece I do is! Then I came to a peaceful place with my uniqueness. It is what it is. I am who I am. In that moment I didn't care whether anyone liked it. When I stood back and looked at my display, I distanced myself from it. I liked the colors, and I liked the oddness that was reflected back at me.
At the show I received lovely comments, and had some great chats. One in particular from another artist. I realized that what I am going through is normal, that perhaps all this insecurity may never go away, but it is part of the journey. It takes courage putting ourselves out there.
And this art thing, that I've got going on inside me... well, it's not going away. So, I better get used to it. And as a few people told me last night, I must keep sharing. O.k, o.k, working on it.
Another show in a week. No big whoop.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Pablo Picasso
I have this memory of me standing in my playroom. I was not yet enrolled in school, so I must have been 4 or 5 years old. My mom was ironing in the next room while watching "The Young and Restless". The theme song is playing. In this snapshot of a memory, I am standing in front of my little painting easel; the tray is loaded with paint and brushes. I had paper taped to the easel board- a large fresh-white space of possibilities. I distinctly remember pretending to be an 'artist' and this was my studio space. I was taking it all very seriously. And then this feeling of excitement and soul-purpose washed over me.
Fast-forward to now. Many years have passed. A brief but albeit intense archaeological career, children, and through it all much struggle and soul searching to find that creatively open little girl again. Shaking off the doubts and artistic insecurities I've picked up along the way, I can now enter my studio and stand at my easel with a new canvas waiting- a large fresh-white space of possibilities. And I remember this feeling of excitement and soul-purpose.
Ahhh... if it were only that simple. Next comes the subject of audience. For a shy, dont-look-at-me-kind-of-gal, sharing what I do is extremely strange. And uncomfortable.
Yet, I have this little website now. And I find myself writing this blog. Yikes. What am I doing???? Stepping out of my comfort zone, or the proverbial 'creative closet', is exactly what I'm doing!
Now that I'm here, I'm feeling rather naked and ridiculous. Now what?
I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of two children, and a trained archaeologist. But what I also *am*, is a creative being and I'm on a wonderful journey to honour this part of me.