When I’m painting, or looking around for inspiration, I experience a tangible, physical sensation that emanates from the center of my chest (sternum?). It feels tight and tingly and satisfying. Like the feeling you get when you first fall in love.
When too many days go by without doing *something* creative, stormy things like depression and anxiety set in. Sigh…I want so much to have arrived already because I spent my life (up until now) standing in the wings looking at the creative lives of others and feeling empty. For whatever reason, I believed that a ‘real’ artist was someone who was famous and made lots of money from whatever it was they did/made. Real artists are the Annie Lebowitz’s , Jeff Koons’, et all, who live resplendent lives, jet setting around the globe working on their latest and greatest commissions; certainly not someone like me—an unknown woman with a regular job and a cable bill. So I just sat for decades wrapped in a wintery coat kind of longing and filled with angst. Jeez.
Then late last year, a friend suggested a book called, ‘The Artist’s Way.’ So I bought it, expecting nothing more than a hokey self-help guide with nebulous suggestions not applicable to me. Oh boy, was I wrong. This book is therapy. Life changing stuff. If you’re stuck in a life rut, get your hands on this book and commit to working through it. Seriously, go get that book.
Nowadays, I’m putting myself out there without any expectations and simply because my art is a personal expression and that expression is valid and has worth. It’s liberating in a way I often find hard to articulate. I still look at others’ paintings and creative pursuits and hear that inner critic voice telling me things like, ‘You are too old’, ‘too late in the game’, ‘too ordinary’. All untrue. With time, the volume on that voice is getting softer. It’s frequency less. Good thing, too, because my new found bravery wants to punch that voice in the face (Do you hear that inner critic? Consider yourself warned).
I remind myself daily to jump right in, not seeking external approval as a means of validation. After all, art is supremely subjective. One person will look at a Rothko and see a masterpiece, while another will chalk it up as nothing more than a solid square of paint. Lenore Schorr, an early collector of the late Neo-Expressionist Jean Michel Basquiat’s work, knew she was onto something special, but not everyone thought Basquiat was talented. This video reminds me that not being famous is certainly no indicator of talent:
Side Note: Swizz Beats, thank you for partnering with Cannon to get these amazing artists some exposure and, hopefully, patrons. I love you. That is all.
So my little post here is as much a pep talk to myself, as it is a clarion call for all of us to be brave, get out there, and be creative for the express purpose of feeding our souls and living authentic lives. Good things will come in time.
What creative things are you working on?