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I'd like to share with you a little of my back story as an artist. I am a self taught photo realistic portrait artist. There is a lot of technical craft in that and I am proud of what I accomplished. As I worked doing these gorgeous portraits, the drawings in my sketch book looked like that of a small child. I found it confusing and disturbing. I didn't feel like I was a "real" artist. So after many years of angst about this, I decided to turn aside from my portrait work and explore the expression of art making, mark making that was showing up in my sketchbooks. I wanted to explore more deeply who I was as an artist and discover my unique artistic voice. That meant showing up to the page with no expectations and allowing myself to express myself free of judgement. It wasn't easy and I have been at it for years.
One of my favorite things to do in recent years has been to draw three pages in my sketchbook before I go to bed. I show up to an 11x14 sketchbook with markers, my favorite tool to work with the unconscious, and allow myself to draw whatever wants to speak from within me. I have drawn pictures that reflect my anxiety about the world, emotions around my personal life and more. Often I draw very sad looking creatures and sometimes stick figures. Drawing like this is a path to the core of my inner life. It helps me unload stress. It creates ease within me. In the end I have these amazing sketchbooks.
I think of drawing from the unconscious as stepping up to the art pad without a plan. It's about just showing up and allowing that which is below the conscious level of the mind to surface. I don't know what I am about to express. I'm not trying to make fine art. Sometimes I don't even understand what has shown up. Sometimes I will explore a picture more deeply by writing about it but most of the time, I am content to leave it wordless and just let it work on me in whatever way it does. I have deep satisfaction in simply expressing that which in many ways is beyond words.
If this is something that interests you, please feel free to contact me and lets start up a conversation.
I look to nature to find my lessons on how to grow. Presently in nature, we are in a liminal place, a place in between two other places. We are in between the Yuletide and the season of Imbolc which marks the beginning of Spring. We are talking very early Spring here. Imbolc is usually marked by catkins and blooming snowdrops. This is a fertile time for many of us, a time to dream a new seed into our future.
“We are not going in circles. We are going upwards.
The path is a spiral. We have already climbed many steps.”
- Hermann Hesse
I like to honor the dreaming time. Dreaming, goal setting is a process to be valued, not to be cheated upon by moving through it too quickly or carelessly. It’s important to take time to examine your dreams, to research them, both outwardly in terms of practical application but also inwardly. How does your dream measure against your own inner compass? How does it measure against your values? Does your vision bring you joy? If it doesn’t bring you joy, you will be more likely to abandon it. It will feel hard to stay motivated. If you can find joy in thinking about it, you will more likely pursue it. With joy, even when things get hard, you keep going because it has meaning and passion for you. You really want to achieve your desired result. Joy is like a fire in the burner of your heart that keeps you going.
“I’m working my happiness like a full time job.”
- Gabrielle Bernstein
What if, for the entire year of 2019, you pursued Joy? What if you started noticing where you find joy each day? And what if seeking and finding joy was enough? What would happen if you collected a little treasure box of joy in your heart? And every day you kept adding to it? You might find yourself smiling incessantly. People might start wanting to hang out with you because you are so happy. You might find that you are less stressed out. You might find that suddenly, questions about your life are being answered because you are spending more time with joy and joy IS the answer.
“When we are centered in our joy
we attain our wisdom.”
- Marianne Williamson
I will leave you with the charming words of my friend and tarot reader Arwen Lynch Poe:
"Seek Joy, y'all."