This is the first of several posts that have been brewing for a while. Like the beginning of a long conversation you don't really want to have, but you know there isn't any other way around it... Yeah, it's like that.
I started this blog (or restarted it for the umpteenth time) last spring, May 1 to be exact. I launched it (relaunched it) with the intention of reclaiming my role in the world as painter. I felt I had owned the role before and longed to regain it!
Always in school, a painter. As a commission artist after graduating from college. As an obsessive student going 6 days a week at times to the Art Students League in New York, and then as a committed and practicing painter with studio space before having our first child there.
I made attempts to reclaim the role after M's birth. We would work together in my studio in Denver when living there and I focused a little on painting for the local market. I would trace her little body, she would scribble on it, I would respond visually. We would work in tandem together. I decided whatever I was working on was fair game for her as well.
When we moved to Connecticut I continued to "try" to paint but baby 2 was on the way and I couldn't find my groove. Then Cal came and it became even harder. The only thing I am committed more to than my "art" is my family and as a new mom I could NOT find the balance.
So, finally a year and a half ago the universe seemed to be conspiring to force the shift back to "art". Our business was suffering, the industry I worked in had seen drastic changes, the kids were gaining independence with every moment that passed. I was unhappy and I realized it had been far to long since I regularly picked up my brushes.
Solution! I decided to focus on an art project commemorating my deceased brother called #ichooselove (because I wasn't secure enough to claim the need to create daily for the sheer sake of myself) and I began. My always supportive husband seemed to breath a sigh of relief (I really am a better person when I'm making things...) and I was off working away at it. When I would come up with bogus excuses not to paint he would gently point out the obvious and I would get back to work.
The show opened April 26th, my brother's birthday, and it very much felt a celebration of him and also a celebration of some sort of return to myself.
5 days later I relaunched this website for the first time in years. I was ready to reclaim my role!
How? By putting out a steady, daily even, stream of work. By doing so under my own name, first and last (I've had other online projects that weren't so direct, we will get to those in another post), and by sharing whatever it was I happened to be working on(hah- so long as it was "good").
It all started off great. I would post daily, a finished piece, largely precisely painted mandalas with the stories behind them. I started calling them Story Circles, my class was born and that journey began... A beautiful thing(It still is, running a round currently and constantly learning and sharing so much as a collective). As with most beautiful things I began to make it precious.
At the same time another thing happened. I started slipping in to the role of production artist which was disheartening because just before relaunching I had finished the #ichooselove project that was largely process and exploration driven.
Exploring the commitment to choosing lover over... anything. Exploring sacred geometry and it's healing effects. Exploring, for the first time in a long time (maybe since childhood). During the #ichooselove project I was exploring!
Then... I relaunched the website, I committed to daily works and suddenly... It seemed I was right out of the space of exploration and back to production. It was all too precious. The way I had set myself up to post daily, the expectation that I had for every piece to be finished and "good". The voice I was trying to share.
At first I loved it:) Daily paintings, new followers and friends, excuses (because I really felt I needed them) to create. It was like a new relationship. It was fun and exciting to get dolled up and head out every night, until... It wasn't.
One day Steve, walked in while I was working and I had a marker on my painting and I started chanting, "breaking the rules, breaking the rules!!!"
"Whose rules?" He replied... Remember above how I mentioned he is good at gently pointing out the obvious:)
Well, shit! Whose rules? Mine. Self imposed over years of painting classes. Whose rules? Mine. Self imposed after figuring out how to appeal to a market and sell some work. Whose rules? Mine. Self imposed after claiming my role as painter and making it precious. The rules, my rules, had to be broken...
So, as in many dysfunctional relationships, I stopped showing up or answering calls (aka, posting to the blog) because I didn't know what to say. I showed up day one with big commitments and shiny paintings which was a part of me, but not the only one. So, when I didn't have these, I just didn't show up.
I stopped posting regularly and returned to creating. I stopped posting regularly and returned to exploring. I stopped posting regularly, but knew I still had so much to say. But how?
So here I am, ready to say this relationship is worth it (you know, me and the world). I know I have something to say and I know you do too. I know it's worth it. I'm committing again. Not to a daily post, certainly not daily paintings (not for now anyway).
I'm committing to showing up regularly, let's say Tuesday and Friday. I'm committing to sharing my thoughts and my voice. My projects as they feel appropriate. I'm committing to not letting anything become to precious lest it stop evolving.
What do you say? Let's give this another try... I'll be here with made up words, run on sentences, grammatical errors, likely dirty blue jeans and almost always two awesome kids in tow... They might be scribbling and I'll be responding:)
I'm committing to claiming my role as creative explorer (painting is part of that but not all of it), I am committing to being #creativeeveryday!