Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art and Emotion

I wanted to contribute a little on the thought process behind my work - both conscious and unconscious. When I am creating pieces for a series like the one to the right (Word Birds), I am consciously choosing messages and images that are uplifting, inspiring and generally positive. I avoid including any message that might be perceived in a negative way. While this is a conscious choice, something quite different happens when I create a piece of art freely, allowing it to come from a place I cannot even name.

Recently, viewing the work of an artist I consider to be quite talented, I found myself both drawn to her work and bothered by it. As I gathered together the colourful components of my own creations the next day, it hit me - as beautiful as the pieces were, the emotion I was experiencing as I looked at them, was sadness. Now I cannot say whether the artist created them with that emotion at heart, and truthfully we draw from our own experiences even when looking at the creations of someone else. What I can say, is that this has brought to light something I already knew - that as much as I am a dreamer, and perhaps what some might call an optimist, like everyone, my life and my experiences contain the full range of emotions.

This brings me to the art I create in those moments when I allow those emotions to come to the surface. It doesn't happen very often. I guard the deepest parts of myself with care and yet, I believe that realizing a fear means needing to face it also. And so, in this very significant of months, representing my deepest loss, I will allow my truest emotions out onto the canvas. Whatever the outcome, I will share it here, in the hopes of understanding myself better.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Little Faith

And so it begins...if I can commit to coming back here and writing, one day at a time, at what point do I consider my efforts successful? It would have to be this moment when I came back, wrote my next entry and posted it. The world is a big place and we all move through it an alarming speed, believing that something we are doing has merit, creates lasting change, and is worthy of repeating. Today, I write a few paragraphs and put them out into the world. By consistently returning and following through on a promise I have made to myself, I set the tone - I can do this.

There must be an element of faith in everything I do, from choosing a colour, to resisting the urge to "just get a real job". I'm not alone. Whenever I waver, all I need to do is look to the successful entrepreneurs that have gone before me. I believe that I also possess that unique combination of risk taker and dreamer that will transform the ideas in my head into a lucrative business. That is why faith is so important. There is always someone willing to "tell it like it is" or offer up a "reality check". It is up to me to believe in my ability to succeed; the value of what I have to offer and the benefit of staying this course.

I hope you all have a successful day filled with the magic of a little faith.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Determination to Succeed

I would hate to think that 2 entries was all I had to offer this blogging experience and so here I am again. With less than two months to my fortieth birthday, I feel compelled to realign my actions with the life I have envisioned and that means I must write.

In speaking to a friend last week, we decided that since she was feeling unfocused and I was determined to treat my fortieth year as a catalyst for change, we should meet on a regular basis and encourage each other. She suggested we gather together the details of our critical plan and discuss them over coffee. Next Thursday is our first meeting.

Any motivational speaker will tell you that you should "start with the end in mind". Not an easy task, it means knowing where you are going and taking definite steps to get there. I imagine I am not alone when I say that I am not exactly sure where I want to end up in a year or five years. I have ideas and dreams and a little voice that talks me out of committing to any particular direction for any period of time. But in a few short months I will be turning 40 and much like the resolutions we make on January 1 and books and clothes purchased at the start of a school year, this feels like a time for new beginnings. Knowing that most new year resolutions are doomed to failure, I have tried to create an atmosphere of potential success by giving myself the entire 40th year to create lasting change.

This morning I jotted down the beginnings of a plan. My husband and I have been seriously discussing a year of travel starting in January of 2011. My plan for 2010 must take our 2011 lifestyle into consideration. How will I create an income, doing what I love (art), while on the road. My normal plan of action would be to move along at an alarming pace, wondering where the days have gone, lamenting the passage of time and my lack of control. Not this time. As challenging as it may be, I am going to trust that I really can decide where I am going and how I will get there. So, for now, I am going to head downstairs and pour a cup of tea in preparation for my 10 am Breakfast with Bob. My intention is to write again tomorrow...I guess this will be a measure of my determination to succeed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stepping to the Music of a Different Drummer

I love the moment when what I have been working on for months begins to take shape and I am able to see the results of my effort. In the early morning hours I sit quietly in my studio adding a line of paint or a layer of paper, immersed in my own version of bliss. I work in a series of 9, 12 or 20 pieces at a time and so it often takes weeks before I begin to see any progress.

There are moments, of course, when I wonder whether a piece will ever reveal the direction it is meant to go in and moments when I must have absolute faith in the creative process and follow where it may lead me. But my favourite moment is the one where all of the pieces are laid out before me and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was the best decision I ever made.

There were times when I wondered about my decision to leave the working world and become an artist. I had held a traditional job for most of my adult life and suddenly I found myself without the validation of a paycheck and the structure of a 9 to 5. Developing a routine and setting boundaries became a must while reassuring family members that I have not lost my mind and fielding well-meaning opportunities to fill my time with non-artistic pursuits are still issues that I struggle with internally. I am learning to let go of the need to fit in to the parameters of the "normal" world and accept that I am meant to be this unique and wonderful creation of the Universe.

On a day like today, when everything is coming together beautifully, I am a shout from the rooftop advocate of following your own path, where ever it may lead or as Henry David Thoreau says

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Wishing all of you a week that brings you one step closer to your own different drummer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Creating a Blog

So simple and yet I have put this off for so long! I love the idea of a space to share my thoughts, not just because I have them (thoughts) but because reading other people's thoughts reminds me that we are all connected.

When I imagined what my blog would look like, I envisioned the best parts of my life expressed on the page, my art, my creative expression, the beauty that surrounds me and the things that make me laugh. I could write about pain, or sadness, darkness or fear, but we all have enough of that and I would rather be a source of light.

I live a very fortunate life, there are challenges and I am happy because of them. Without challenges how would I know how strong I am, how much I can accomplish and what truly matters to me.

I've made choices, conscious ones, to leave a paying job and pursue a life as an artist. I have chosen to be a mother and someone's partner. I have chosen to live in a small community and to volunteer my time.

All of these choices create boxes that define me in my eyes and in yours, and yet we are the same in the only ways that matter. I hope that somewhere in the reflection of myself that I cast upon this page each week, you will find a glimpse of you.

Wishing you all a day where you are treated with love and respect by everyone you meet.