"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2 of the Creative a Day challenge

Ok - so yesterday I kind of failed in my eyes in my creative challenge. I have ubber-high expectations that everything that I do needs to top the day before and sometimes life just isn't about that. After all, yesterday was about driving my daughter around, purchasing little stuffed animals for charity, boxing, checking and delivering a wonderful number of portrait orders, researching data for an upcoming business venture, a long walk for my health, etc. It's called life and we all live in in one form or another.

So today as I sit here with my strawberry breakfast smoothie and granola bar I contemplate what this day is going to look like. I'm hoping somewhere in it is a pumpkin spice latte and some time in my darling studio with a pile of paints, brushes and my easel. I know today calls for a walk, picking up daughter number two from school, checking in with my folks for a few minutes, and probably cooking a meal... (drats).

Here's the thing, I may just be putting off my art. REALLY?? Yes - even though it is the thing that I MOST crave. Here are my reasons:

1) I'm afraid.... yes. I am scared of failing. I am scared that I will stare at the blank canvas and nothing will come out. I'm afraid that I've lost my skill, my edge. I'm afraid of creating something ugly and then I will be deflated because it will tell me that my identity as an artist is all in my head. I hate to fail. There were times growing up that if I drew a bad picture, I would give up for months on end because it was no longer enjoyable to me. Maybe it's about the tenacity and fight. Some have more than others in different areas that they value. I've been fighting illness for 25 years and never give up, but one bad picture and I'm crushed... Maybe I don't value my art enough to fight for it. Or maybe it just IS that important to me. It is linked with the air I breathe and I want to do it justice.

2)  There are so many images that swim around in my mind at any given moment that I feel paralysis of the creative gland. How do I choose one? Which is most important to come out? What if this was the very last picture that I ever made, what would I want to leave in this world? What is the song left unsong? And what medium do I use? I love them all. I could do mixed media but then I have a mess on my hands... guess it's ok. I have a studio to mess up - but oh, I hate to clean.

3) Funds and time are very limited. I have images in my head that are larger than life. I want to take a 40x60 picture and play with it till it sings... but if I mess up, that's some major money down the drain so I know that I can't make a mistake and just knowing that sends fear into my psyche and then I shut down. Fear and faith don't mix and one needs faith in order to create.

4) Following through on my third point. If funds and time are precious is it even RIGHT for me to use them on art? I can justify anything if I'm doing it to make more money, but if it's art just for the fun of it that is akin to spending money on entertainment and if tuition needs to be paid and food needs to be purchased then I have no business buying a $60 canvas that I might in essence destroy.

5) If time is the problem then why should I spend countless hours in my studio making something beautiful to fill my soul when I should be marketing to bring in more clients or spending that time to develop one of my business ventures. That would be needless and immoral, wasteful and a sin. God will judge me for that. Must get all my 'work' done first before I take time for myself.

6) Ah, there it is, taking time for myself. A wife and mother and money earner finds that a luxury too precious for her. I can preach it but I can't do it. Yes, creating makes my spirit sore. Creating makes me a better wife, mother and bread earner I believe, but from the outside looking in, it just appears that I'm wasting my time and money on something silly.

THERE IT IS! There is the reason that I don't create. There is the reason that I haven't come into my "artistic identity". This is the reason that I'm not living in my Zone of Genius. I am like a hot air balloon tied to the ground. I can only go as high as those ropes will let me go.

Is this true of you too? What are your ropes? What stops you from soaring? What are the voices that hold you back saying to you? What are the values that have been placed so deeply inside of you? How do the voices conflict with your ability to create?

If I grew up in a family of artists, these would not be my voices. The predominant voice might be, "create.. it's as important as breath". Because I grew up in a ministry family (and this isn't a stab at my multi-generational heritage) what was important was denying self and following God's work. This meant that other people's needs were IT. We lived and breathed to fill others needs, never our own. Interestingly enough, my great-grandfather Sake was an artist. He painted murals and beautiful paintings for a living. His son became a pastor. My grandmother was the girl next door and asked Sake  once how she could have one of those beautiful paintings. He told her that she needed to marry one of his sons. So she did and Sake died the very night they were married. She got a painting - but he never painted again. Stroke at age 57.  Did the art die then too? No, Sake is painting in heaven and I got his genes.

There is one more thing I'd like to say. God was the creative creator. He created creating! He loves art and beauty and where would this world be without it? But in order for me to bring art to this world, I have to have a degree of selfishness. Art is all-consuming. To create one must take lots of time and go down into their inner beings to pull something out. Maybe that is my purpose and it is not necessary for me to be on the streets feeding the hungry (let's face it, I'm not there anyway, I'm sitting in my house). Maybe just maybe my purpose is to lock myself in my studio and pull something out of my spirit. Maybe that's my voice instead of preaching. Maybe that's my pulpit.

Or, maybe I'm just like most normal Joe's on this earth. I live, I breathe, I touch people in small ways and then one day I move on to a different dimension. A few people will remember me and carry me in their heart but after a few generations, I will be a picture in a cardboard box somewhere or worse yet, in an antique store for $2.00 and someone will use me in their strange digital art as a vampire or ghost something like I do now. God only knows...

Thanks for listening to my artistic musings today.


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