Like writing, art-making takes a willingness to move through ‘the bad’ to allow the good to appear.
It is not about finding perfection. It’s about finding the perfect moment to breathe into what appears, exactly the way it is and delight in its presence.
I have been exploring art journalling.
Ah, you may ask, what is an art journal?
Like a diary, it incorporates words and enhances/intensifies them with images to tell your story. An art journal can be used to capture creative ideas, document your thoughts, feelings and happenings along life’s journey, experiment with new ideas and techniques (one of my favourites), and/or to be present in the act of creating for the sake of creating.
I have always been hesitant to call myself an ‘artist’. The label triggers long buried memories of being a teen-ager and wanting to paint and draw but feeling inadequate in the presence of schoolmates who were amazingly talented. My desire to ‘look perfect’ right from the get-go stymied my willingness to risk sharing my creations. I judged myself ‘not as good as’ and let my desire to express myself through visual media go.
In my twenties, I dated a man who was a hobby artist. He gave me some oil paints and encouraged me to ‘have fun’. Being seriously confined by my desire to ‘look perfect’, my attempts at painting were far from fun, they were painful.
I gave up that idea along with the boyfriend and focused on my writing.
My discourse on ‘who am I’ became restricted to ‘a writer’. An artist I was not.
And then, my eldest daughter was born and from a very early age she displayed an incredible artistic ability. Her stickmen were not just lines and wobbly circles. They were identifiable human and animal creations in lifelike relief.
One of her favourite summer activities involved my lining the deck railings with drawing paper, filling pots with tempera and setting her free to paint the world in all its colours — She was Frida Kahlo in diapers!
And still, I did not pick up a brush until one day, when she was around 15, she asked if we could go to the art store. She wanted to paint and needed supplies. On a whim, I said, “I think I’ll paint with you,” and my love affair began.
There I was, mid-forties discovering a lie I’d told myself as truth wasn’t true. I was an artist.
And the question became, what other things do I tell myself about myself that limit my experiences simply because I tell myself they’re true? What truths do I not challenge in my quest to stay safe in my limiting beliefs?
After over 7 years of continuous blogging (I started my original blog, Recover Your Joy, on March 10, 2007) with a post called, Scooping Up The Shadows), I have learned a great deal, met some amazing people and… allowed myself to write bad again and again and again.
Along the way, I’ve created a body of work that is a reflection of who I am, how I am and where I am in the world.
I am not perfect. I am me.
I learnt that from blogging everyday about what it is that makes my world shiny and bright, even when clouds are blocking the sun, even when I’m feeling fuzzy and blue or sunny and free.
It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, my commitment is to turn up on the page and find the gift in everything. To write through the bad to find the truth and beauty in every aspect of my life.
It is not about finding the perfection. It’s about experiencing creation. All of it. And the act of creation is not a defined art. It is limitless.
I have been exploring art journalling. Some of my pages please me. Some of them give me pause to ponder the gifts of creation. They give me space to ask myself, how willing am I to let go of my need to ‘look perfect’ to simply be present to the perfection of this moment, right now.
I am learning and I am grateful for the gifts I find in every moment.
I am a writer, an artist, a creative spirit finding her expression through shadow and light.
To see my latest journal page and read the poem (created with it, In The Quiet Hours) click HERE.