Impostor Syndrome & What Makes An Artist

I'm over starting every post with "The One In Which..."

It was fun for a while but it started feeling a bit limiting. It was a trick I used to get myself blogging again after feeling like blogging was too much work, and it helped A LOT but I don't need it anymore. Besides, "The One In Which I Talk About Artsy Restlessness" isn't exactly rolling off the tongue today.

I posted a vlog two weeks ago in which I talked about impostor syndrome. I had all these feelings about not being good enough to do what I do. So many teachers put up images of absolutely perfectly beautiful work. It's like everything springs out of them fully formed and absolutely gorgeous.

It's intimidating.

Most of my peers in the on line journaling/mixed media art world were artists before they started teaching. That is not the case with me. I was a writer before I started art journaling, and art journaling was something I took on so I could unblock myself as a writer. I didn't ever dream (or even imagine) that I would teach art journaling. I didn't ever even want to be a visual artist.

I came to art as a rank beginner in 2009 and dove into teaching because, essentially, someone dared me to. It was accidental - or maybe serendipitous  - and it was entirely unexpected.

This means that I STILL spend a lot of time feeling like what I want to create and what I'm capable of creating are just not jiving right now. I *do* feel good about how I have progressed over the years. I do see great progress in my skills. I do feel proud of how much I have learned and how I've integrated all I've learned into my own personal art practice. I feel really good about the content I create in terms of how well it facilitates ART as PRACTICE. I am very proud of the writing I do in the classes I teach - especially Book Of Days. I like my classes and if I weren't teaching them, I'd want to take them.

But I am also painfully aware of how much better I think everyone else is at the ART part of what I do.

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Yes, expressive, and yes, done, but HOT MESS!

I have a few personal mantras that get me through those periods of time when I feel like I'm utterly deluded and should just pack it all in. One of them is "Enthusiasm counts" by which I mean that my enthusiasm for my chosen art form (art journaling) counts as a valuable contribution to the arena. Another is "Done is better than perfect". I pull this one out especially in reference to the weekly spreads I create for Book Of Days because sometimes I create a hot mess, and I have to cut myself some slack. Weekly spreads are easy if you're not ALSO editing, filming, creating screen shots, writing accompanying 'step-by-step' instructions, and formulating musings to go with the post. The fact is, sometimes I create something I'm not fond of, but I have to get it up there, so I have learned to live with these problem children that spring from my creative loins.

I think it's good for me. It's an antidote to perfectionism to throw up work I'm not crazy about and say WHATEVER ELSE HAPPENED THIS WEEK, I MADE SOMETHING! TA DA!

But the whole "It's about practice, not product" line is starting to getting old. I'm getting restless. I want to feel as good about the art part as I do about the self-inquiry part, the practice part, the encouraging part.

I want to love my art.

This week, I've been asking myself a lot of questions about symbols and meaning. I'm building a library of things I find beautiful and meaningful on Pinterest. I think of it as seeding the mud. The mud is my subconscious, from whence all art comes. The seeds are images, symbols, palettes - inspiration.

Right now I'm collecting things and I'm working up the nerve to start doing sketches of things - working out how to get these symbols into my own paintings in a way that pleases me.

This seems a bit counterintuitive to me at the moment because there's a voice in my head saying JUST PAINT - but I *also* know that a part of my restlessness comes from feeling like I'm in an art rut. I use the same images over and over again - mostly faces. Occasionally a tree. Bird stamps. I need to have a better stocked library of personal imagery to work with before I can "JUST PAINT' because otherwise, I'm just painting the same old thing over and over and THAT is BORING ME TO DEATH! *lol*

So, Pinterest!

Two days ago, I was all about birds and especially women with birds. Today it was 'fish' which led to 'Koi'. It feels like I'm learning my own internal language, and that's helping the restlessness a lot. It's also helping me to feel like I'm *doing* something to close the gap between what I want to create and what I'm capable of creating.

When you want a thing, it is extremely important to begin moving in the direction of that thing. Otherwise, I find myself getting bogged down in impostor syndrome and stinkin' thinkin' and other poisons. I can't really call myself an impostor when I'm actively moving towards having a greater personal library of symbols to work with, can I? I mean, I'm doing the work.

That makes me a real artist.

If you're doing the work, you're a real artist, too.

I'm an apprentice artist, for sure. I'm a beginner artist. I'm a baby artist. But that doesn't mean I'm *not* an artist. It means I *am* an artist.

An artist in progress.

I can live with that. :)

 

 

 

 

 

The One In Which I Talk About All The Things

It's Monday, and a lot has gone on since last we typed, so I'm going to take it thing by thing.

The TL;DR version:

1) It's been very fricken cold here. So cold that my social life took a nose dive.

2) I took myself to the salon to get my hair did.

3) I ended up in ER last week with an asthma exacerbation and had to do a five day course of prednisone (also known as Vitamin Psychotic).

4) I changed my relationship status from 'single' to 'it's complicated'.

5) I vlogged for a few days and then completely fell off the vlogging radar BUT I got what I needed to get out of it, so I'm content.

I'm going to fill you in on each thing just in case you're interested. :)

Thing One

It's been fricken cold here. February has always been my least favourite month of the year because it is the dead of winter and spring, though close in terms of the calendar, feels like an eternity away. I can succumb rather easily to depression in February - at least, that's been my experience - but the view outside my window (and a whole lot of lovely wild animal sightings - voles, minks, deer, and woodpeckers) have kept me sane. I stopped doing anything outside the house for the most part. Thankfully, my house is cosy and warm and full of art supplies and affords me moments like these:

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The view out my patio window

 

Deer by the creek

Doe, a Deer!

 

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A winged visitor

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Set up to paint

Thing Two

I have never had my hair professionally coloured, and February felt like the perfect time to do that because everything looks like a black and white picture out there most days, and I needed RED. So I did this:

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Which is awesome and though I won't get it done professionally very often (holy $$$!), I did enjoy the self-care and I am loving being fiery red in the middle of winter. Yeah!

Thing Three

When one neglects to take care of one's need for a particular medication, one ends up like this:

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Thankfully, a mass Ventolin treatment (pictured above) and a five day course of prednisone and antibiotics put me back in good health.

Thing Four

On the anniversary of our break up, the Manfingy and I mutually agreed to not see anyone else for a while since we don't appear to be any closer to being 'broken up' than we were last year. We are, in fact, closer and whatever we're doing is working for us both. Therapy is helping us both become the people we want to be in relationship to one another, and that is goodscaryweird and also WHAT IS and if I've learned anything over the last year it is the importance of sitting in and even loving what is.

We spent Valentine's together. Dinner, snuggles, movie watching, roses, chocolate, and candlelight. It was absolutely lovely in every way, and I am extremely grateful to us both for allowing this transition to be an organic, mindful, conscious process that may just lead us to the relationship we were meant to have instead of the one we unintentionally, unconsciously dove into ten years ago.

Uncertainty is hard for me, but I am very content right now and the uncertainty feels like percolation where once it felt like stagnation.

Thing Five

Tam started a vlog every day in February thing and I jumped in with both feet, gave myself a wicked case of vulnerability hangover, jumped back out, then back in, and then fell out of it altogether. I got what I wanted from it, though. I needed to reconnect with my purpose with regards to the art stuff. What am I doing all this for? The classes? The teaching? What is the point?

For a while there I got super caught up in comparey monsters (love that terminology from Jani) and I was all "I SUCK WHY AM I EVEN TRYING I'M NOT A REAL ARTIST WHO DO I THINK I AM WHAT THE FUCK OMG DOOM!"

I had to talk myself down off that ledge with some gentle reminders:

I make art because it allows me to remain centered and grounded in what is.

I teach art journaling because learning how to remain centered and grounded in what is is something I'm passionate about.

Good art is not required. In fact, sometimes, focusing on 'good art' rather than 'honest art' can really get in the way of what I'm doing here.

All the same, sometimes I make really beautiful art.

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So, that's me this past little while since last we typed.

And you? How are you? I've missed you! Tell me everything.

 

 

 

Radiant Faces Update! Get it now for $45.00!

Hello, lovely beings! I am really excited to offer you Radiant: Faces in its self-guided mode for $45. All content is downloadable and will remain up in the classroom until October 31, 2015. I know that many of you wanted to sign up while the class was live but for one reason or another, you weren't able to. Now's your chance!!

Click here for more information.

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I'll be back shortly with a more personal blog. :D

The One In Which I Work On Not Numbing Out

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Created for Book Of Days 2015.

So, balancing my meat space life and virtual life is my intention for February, and I am feeling a lot more balanced about things. Something about just saying 'this is what I'm working on' is extremely effective for me. I think it's because I'm a journaler. It's really difficult to ignore the promptings of one's heart and soul when one is continuously engaging one's heart and soul. Know what I mean?

As I've begun attaining this balance, I've been noticing some real out of whackness in regards to the way I consume media. I plunge into a new series as though it is a needle full of heroine heroin (that was an interesting typo!). I get jacked up on the series. I ignore my reality altogether. I numb out. And then I return to the world after a Netflix (or iTunes) binge feeling foggy and 'hungover' and wondering where the hell the last five hours went.

Of course, I do my work first. I do my dishes. I do my laundry. I leave the house. I make art.

So I guess what I'm saying is: I'm a functional addict. *LOL*

Still. Functional isn't good enough for me, so I'm working on being a little less numbed out and a little more engaged with my reality. There are, of course, reasons why I might not necessarily *want* to be engaged with my reality. I have a lot of issues around how much uncertainty I'm currently experiencing in my life. I am not thrilled to be living alone (and spending most of my time alone). I know that the numbing out is about not wanting to feel the gaping voids that exist within my psyche.

Awareness, however, is the key to change, so I expect this to shift organically as my awareness of how destructive the numbing out is grows.

***

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Work In Progress for Bloom True

I've been arting a lot, working a lot, and living the best life I can over here in my little hobbit hole. I've been dying a thousand little deaths over the issue of food insecurity in the north. I've been doing what I can, when I can, with what I have. I've been fostering friendships with varying degrees of success.

I have been thinking about new e-courses I want to develop. I've been eyeing my savings account with a steely glare as it begins to dip below a level that feels safe. I've been thinking about writing a book. I've been spending a lot of time with my ex (who, like me, does not feel single and has trouble putting a label on what we actually are to one another beyond 'here, now').

Blogging feels trudgey and difficult. Vulnerable. Scary. Art doesn't, though, so that's where my energy has been lately.

***

The trick with consuming media right now is to make a deal with myself that I can watch Netflix all day if I want to as long as I am CREATING while I'm doing so. Whether I'm doodling, working in my art journal, or knitting (I'm working on a simple knitted wrap in a light green that's making me pretty happy), it doesn't matter. As long as I have SOMETHING to show for those hours spent watching Homeland or The Bachelor (don't laugh at me!), I'm golden.

This isn't ideal, but self-love requires gentleness when one is facing down one's gaping voids. It's important to go slow, not to throw oneself into a tizzy.

***

Flirting with you...

Flirting with you...

 

I have actual plans for Valentine's Day for the first time in - oh - six or seven years. With my ex.

Meanwhile, in bizzaro world...

*Grins*

And you? How are you? What's happening in your world?

 

The One In Which I Recap January & Set An Intention For February {Photos + Video}

Bundled up because FEBRUARY

Bundled up because FEBRUARY

Yesterday, February 1st, was Imbolc. Imbolc is one of my favourite festivals on the pagan wheel of the year because it is a) dedicated to one of my favourite Goddesses, Brighid, and b) celebrates mid-winter.

Mid-winter means winter is HALF OVER and there's something very hopeful and uplifting about that despite the knee high drifts of snow to trudge through, and the air that hurts my face, and the constant hum of my space heater because it's COLD IN HERE.

I spend most of my time these days bundled up in flannel pajamas, a ridiculously over-sized plush robe, hooded sweaters and wrist warmers, wool socks, slippers, and a warm puppy attached to my person by her tenacious desire to always be snuggling.

It sounds kind of miserable when I put it like that, but it's actually kind of cozy. Boring sometimes, but cozy. And I have been absolutely excellent about ensuring that I leave the house at least once or twice a week for Open Mic nights, coffee with friends, solo dinners...

So, I know I left you guys high and dry there for a while...

I'm not sorry, though, because I've been living in the real world for a while where there is coffee and pixie dust snow flakes and trees that look like the bones of the earth and the sound of many people chatting at once, and music, and excellent food, and paint flung at canvases, and snuggles with the puppy, and binge watching The Fall on Netflix, and dishes to be done, and laundry to be folded - two things which give me an enormous sense of accomplishment. I know. I'm weird.

The latter half of January has been all about attempting to live in the world. Making friends as per my intentions for 2015. Nurturing friendships that I let fall off my radar because I had this story I was clinging to about sucking at real life.

I'm learning that I don't actually suck at real life. I'm good at real life. It's a balance thing, though, and that's what I suck at. I'm either 100% invested in my virtual world which leads to a lot of bleary-eyed staring into the cold light of a screen or I'm 100% invested in my meat space world, which leads to a dusty blog and a neglected newsletter.

Neglected newsletter and dusty blog aside, this was January.

Finding the balance. That's the trick. That's my intention for February.

What's yours?

In Other News

Book Of Days is making me ridiculously happy right now. Building a new lesson each and every week for 12 weeks creates a rhythm, a container, a cauldron of creativity that never fails me. I am in the throes of inspiration at all times, and that keeps my chin up even when I'm struggling with seasonal affective disorder and other nasty side-effects of it being THE DEAD OF WINTER.

All this colour is medicinal. Colour is to winter what music is to silence. I am in love with my art journaling practice.

I've also been rocking Life Book.

I'm still working on Week Five.

And I opened Moon Journaling.

I'm really loving this free offering in which I come to you every New Moon and invite you to join me in setting an intention, and arting from a place of new beginnings. You can find it free in my network. Here's the video for January New Moon. The new offering will go live on February 18th, so be sure and join in before then. xo

And that's my life right now.

Tell me about yours? I love to hear what's happening in your world. <3

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