I am reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. One of the most amazing reads with necessary exercises to ensure creativity flourishes. It only works if you work through the book, though, and not just read through. It is truly amazing. Even if you do not consider yourself an artist yet, working through this book, you will realize that you truly are. She talks a lot about what she calls being a "recovering creative"; a person who has allowed no space in their life for their life's joyful work and is working through creating that space for themselves to be themselves again or maybe for the first time!
So, I guess that is what I'm doing, step by step, slowly but surely, making space for my life's work and hopefully making my life work at the same time. Recovering the sense of possibility that it is possible to spend time doing the things that you love and to still be able to have a healthy and functioning life with food and roof, etc.
In the last week I have had a number of conversations with friends that started off something like this...
"Court, I have always wanted to be an a visual artist like you (*interject the smile of 'be-thankful-you're-not' here *) but every time I go to draw something with a pencil it always ends up as a stick figure!" First of all, my friend who said this specifically is an incredibly gifted musician and teacher who lives on a beautiful beach in Mexico, a life that many would envy, though I am sure has it's own challenges at times.
I asked her if when she began to play the guitar if she automatically knew where to put her fingers; or if when she began learning she looked up some chords in a book and perhaps spoke to some other people who played the guitar. She said that of course she had done those things. I asked her if she had ever done the same thing with drawing. She said no. I asked her if she expected the process of drawing needed to be truly miraculous, with knowledge coming from nowhere or on high for a person to be able to draw or for the drawing to be legitimate. She said that she guessed not and that perhaps her ideas about the miraculous nature of drawing were perhaps not in line with how she expected to learn other things.
We then talked for a while longer and we began to uncover that pencils didn't really appeal to her at all; that what she really wanted to be doing was making mosaics! She said she enjoyed the tactile nature of more of a three-dimensional sort of thing.
" I said, well, why don't you make mosaics then?"
She said, "Well, I guess I don't really like how all of the tiles are the same exact sized little squares."
I then went into my "art teacher" mode and let her know that she did not have to mosaic with only the same sized tiles, that was only one way to approach the process and that she was free to even break or cut the tiles or use other materials in her 3D collages! Give yourself permission, I said, to do the thing you really want to do and don't worry about the pencil. Perhaps, the world has enough figure drawing artists and what the world needs is your irregular collection mosaics that haven't been made yet!
Consider this, don't paint because you think that is what you should do, practice the practice you need to practice to make the you you need to be...
Take a printmaking class, take a dance class, buy a fiddle (I hope to do this soon!) or just go play outside before the winter gets you bummed... plug in and connect with those activities you have been dying to try. That is what I am trying to do, I have been way too shy for too long about the desires of my heart. The more I follow them, the more pleasantly surprised I become with myself. In fact, I want to buy a fiddle and start going to Zumba at the YMCA!
Life is too short and to stress out over stick figures.
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"Court has a knack for supporting others in tuning into the artist within..."