I finished this painting today, and it is the first thing I’ve created in a while that really satisfied me. This is a macro of a section of it, and I’ll be showing you the whole painting soon, but for now, this is enough of a peek to give you a sense of the work that went into it.
Layer upon layer. Hours and hours.
And I am replete.
I’ve been struggling with a weird case of imposter syndrome, catching myself saying things like “I’m not really an artist…” and “The art is beside the point…” when I talk about what I practice, what I teach.
This is a really uncomfortable place to be while I’m in the midst of the very thing I fear I cannot do. I’m up to my neck in “I can’t really” and “I have no idea how to do this” while DOING it.
I know! It’s weird!
Fear is a liar, I guess, because if I couldn’t actually do it, I wouldn’t be ACTUALLY DOING IT. So, that’s a thing.
One of the things I hope my tribe understands about me is that I didn’t begin this art journaling journey with artistic talent. I didn’t. I began this journey with a desire to express myself in an authentic way, now that I couldn’t write anymore. I began with no idea how to do any of the stuff I now know how to do. I began with some cheap chalk pastels, a few pencils, and a burning desire to spill what needed spilling. I played a lot, and I failed a lot in my attempts to master skills that just simply did not come naturally to me. Just like those of you for whom drawing doesn’t come naturally, or face-making doesn’t come naturally. Just like those of you who can’t draw a stick figure without looking at it all side-eyed and wondering if you’ll ever get it right.
I’m six years in to this journey, and I have a little more confidence in my own artistic abilities than I did when I started, but frankly, not much more. I often wonder what my students see in me. I often feel very intimidated by the company I keep – Tam, Shiloh, Jane, and a whole host of incredibly *talented* AND *skilled* artists who seem to be able to just create what they want to create without having to fuss over it the way I do.
So, yeah. There is still a lot of work to do in the ‘confidence’ department, at least when it comes to mixed media art & making things that look the way I want them to.
What I *do* have confidence in, however, is my ability to spill, to meet myself on the page, to engage art as a spiritual practice, to grow the skills I want to grow as I grow aware of wanting to grow them. I am absolutely confident in my abilities as a teacher, too, despite having begun this journey with absolutely zero desire to claim the title or to be any such thing.
I have always thought of myself as ‘just a girl, playing in her journal’ on camera for all the world to see. I have only very recently begun to think of myself as a teacher, and I think that this new awareness that this is, indeed, what I am has grown through the alchemy of art AND writing. Finally. My worlds are colliding in a super nova of delicious goodness.
I *know* I can write. I’ve always known. Ever since I first grasped one of those chubby blue pencils in my fat little fist, I knew that words were my friends, and stories were mine to create. I was born that way. I wasn’t born with artistic ability of the visual variety, however, and had to really work at that kind of expression.
That doesn’t make either set of skills any less valuable to me, though, because the one nourishes and informs the other. The writing is the yeast in the dough. The art is kneaded and pounded into shape from a combination of that leavening, pure, unadulterated desire to create, a lot of skills building practice & play, and resilience.
Because taking on a skill set that doesn’t come naturally to you *really takes resilience*.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have felt frustrated by my lack of apparent progress. I go through spurts wherein I feel like I’m circling the drain, getting nowhere fast, making the same things, using the same palette, chomping at the bit to evolve, to find my voice, to create something that feels uniquely and singularly my own.
And then I do, and I marvel a little bit at what just happened for ten minutes or so, and then?
I go back to work. Because, desire. Because, resilience. Because, I want to be good at what I do even if ‘being good’ isn’t the point. I want to create with an ease that comes with experience & practice. I want to make things that make my soul sing, that satisfy me, and leave me feeling replete.
Today, I did that.
So, that’s a thing.
I just thought I’d mention it.