One of the things that inevitably comes to the forefront for me in art-making, is my fear of looking imperfect. Of looking like an imposter, or that I haven’t got it all together.
Over the past few weeks, as I’ve gotten ready for the Vale’s Greenhouse Cultivation of Art Show and Sale, I have come up against my fear again and again.
Yesterday, after what I deemed another miserable attempt to create something worthy of being part of my offerings at the show, I told my beloved, “I figured something out in the studio today.”
“What’s that?” he asked from where he sat on the sofa watching a hockey game on his laptop.
“The thing I hate about art shows is that I get all caught up in the outcome and lose my joy of creating simply for the sake of creating.”
“Oh.” he replied. “Is that why you’ve been on edge these past few days?”
I was on edge? Hmmm…
“Probably. I love being immersed in the creative nature of art-making, but what I’ve noticed, as I’ve gotten ready for the art show, is I’m not allowing the creative process to just happen. I’m making art instead of making space for art to happen.”
I paused for a moment as C.C. sat quietly watching me, waiting for me to find my way through my angst. “I hate art shows. Don’t even know why I go in. I don’t create to sell. I create to have fun. And I’m not having much fun right now.”
Ahhhh….. that little five year old loves to get into it when she feels like I’m fleeing the scene of my artistic potential.
It isn’t that she’s trying to create havoc or run amuck with my self-confidence. Rather, it’s that she feels my fear. Unfortunately, when I am running with fear as my companion, she gets scared. Scared means she can’t go play with abandon amongst the wildflowers. She can’t paint the moon all the colours of the rainbow because I am standing outside the sacred garden of my creative nature.
When I’m running with fear of my creative expression and talents, my peace of mind is a fast river of muddy waters swollen by spring run-off. .
This morning, I woke up, took Beaumont the Sheepadoodle for his early morning walk. At one point, I stood at the railing of the John Hextall pedestrian bridge which joins the western edges of the city to the downtown. I stood on the Hextall and watched the waters of the Bow River flowing deep and fast beneath it.
As I stand and watch the waters and Beau sniffs the grasses growing in the planters that line the center of the bridge, I am reminded of a poem by Apollinaire Guillaume. I was first introduced to Apollinaire in my teens. His work still resonates deeply. The poem, The Mirabeau, begins with the line, “Under the Mirabeau flows the Seine.”
And I am transported back to that child of five who danced and laughed and spun about when she was a little girl and we lived in France. Life was full of possibilities. She had such dreams, such flights of fancy and wonder and awe. There was nothing she couldn’t do and she planned on doing it all.
And I hear her whispering deep within me. “Let me go back to where I am free to run amidst the wildflowers and paint the moon all the colours of the rainbow. Let me go back so you can run free of fear standing here on the Hextall above the Bow.
And when I return home I take a flight of fancy and write an homage to Appollinaire.
An Homage to Appollinaire by Louise Gallagher Under the Hextall flows the Bow muddy waters churning the mountains are running free of winter’s excess the lakes are flowing clear of mother nature’s blanket frozen against their beauty I stand on the bridge and cast my doubts into the fast-flowing waters free of fear that the waters will never run clear again that the lakes will never thaw that I will never be free of fear I cast my doubts beyond the thrall of my confusion and breathe the morning’s cool fresh kisses falling upon my face where I stand musing on the Hextall above the Bow.
And I return to my studio.
I need not fear my imperfections. I only need to embrace them so that I am free to celebrate my creative expressions in all their many colours, all their multi-dimensions and all their unique expressions.
In that frame of mind, I let go of expectations and outcome and throw myself with abandon into the deep running waters of my creative expressions flowing free.