Monday, May 16, 2011

lessons learned

I feel like we keep learning lessons until we really understand them- until we really absorb what they are meant to teach us. Well, I am here to announce that I have learned a little more of what my lessons had to teach me. It wasn't a huge revelation really, no star in the East, no billboard, but clearly it was a lesson I was meant to learn, today, right now. Maybe I am just finally ready.

I have spent quite a bit of time waiting, waiting for the time to be right for this goal or that goal. It is certainly not that I was not willing to work for it. I have spent a great deal of time working, pondering, researching, discovering and (fill in the blank) toward my goals, my dreams. I think perhaps I might have even over planned just a bit. Perhaps I was really waiting for my children to be all grown up and on their own, or to "feel" like it was the appointed time, or perhaps I really was waiting for the star in the East to show me the way. I didn't mean to self defeat, but sort of like the child who was too timid to jump in the pool for fear of the cold water, I have been a little timid when it comes to jumping into the pool of successful dreams.

Last night, I continued working on a mixed media piece. Insert background part of the story here: You see in my mind I already took a risk with this piece, I invested a full sheet of Arches 300lb watercolor paper. MY FAVORITE for nearly anything I do in the two-d world. This stuff is amazing and you can do anything on it. However, because I feel like it is so amazing, I usually am quite positive of what I am using it for when I begin the piece. I do NOT take this stuff for granted, it is for "the good stuff". When I began the piece, I hadn't worked in a long time. This tends to be an issue for me. I feel stuck- I even convince myself that I have "lost all my talent" (sorry God) (insert disclaimer here- now the image above is merely for representation purposes, I buy Arches by the sheet- the full sheet 22"x 30"- it is AMAZING!) Now Back to the thought at hand- This is a piece I began while away with my sister, and her family. We were in the Adirondack mountains. The piece sort of took on a familiar tone to the setting in which we spent that lovely chilly week. Wanting to capture that peace, that heart, I began working. My work tends to be a bit unique.... some might even say bipolar. I love loose inference, and also incredible detail. This peace as a mixed media piece, with more representational aspects. Collage, watercolor, acrylic, inks, more collage, Cran d'Ache and colored pencil all began to bring the piece alive. Last night- I worked a little more. I felt stuck, I felt frustrated, I felt talentless. I wanted the piece to shine, but instead of the spirit of the piece, I focused on my inadequacies. That was one of my biggest mistakes. Another might have been expecting more than the moment was giving. I find that when I just let it be- when I just let the art wash over me- it goes much better. I approach the piece with whatever it has to offer. I generally have no expectations, and it is exciting, enticing to experience the result. My "best" art is unselfish art. It is art that has a soul of it's own, it breathes because it is supposed to- I feel like I am merely the facilitator, nothing more.

Yesterday was different. My insecurities focused on me. It should have been the art- the process- the gift.

You know what it comes down to? fear. I stopped myself, I got in my own way. Honestly, it seems I was afraid to invest all of me because I might just get hurt. I might fall short of what was in my head. The piece I envisioned might not be the piece that was revealed. It seems in the end, I got hurt anyway.

I thought about the process all day. What I experienced, what I felt, and what I was going to do about it. I find art, and my life journey so interesting. It's not that I have only just learned that fear can be self defeating, I think I learn and relearn. Each time I relearn, I strip away another layer of fear toward the hope of more success. Beautiful art, or maybe just something good, honest and hopeful. To me, that is true success. A piece that I allow myself to be vulnerable, open, honest. A piece that reflects a moment, a feeling, a sentiment... a piece that is real-

so.... I wish you that real moment, that fearless moment, where you are vulnerable, fearless and able to take the risk.
Forgive me, but it's time to get back to work.