I was aware that what was coming out of me, wasn’t necessarily my own voice. It was more like an echo chamber for the voices of the online mixed media artists I had started following and who were influencing me.
And while it never ‘felt’ like me on the page, I somehow instinctively knew that this was part of the learning process. That trying on the voices of others, would somehow, perhaps even by a process of elimination, reveal to me, my own. And so, I was ok with the ever present but patient frustration that is inherent in the process of finally meeting oneself on the page.
I showed up and I did it anyway.
After all, I had spent years suppressing this side of me. The very virtue of my allowing myself to officially (and by officially, I mean, without the need to qualify) come out of the artist closet at 39 years of age to begin with, was me winning at life.
I had opened the gates and become one with the flood. I did not need for it to become an ocean or a lake or a river. My creativity was flowing and that was all that mattered for me. I knew with time, the rest would come.
I began selling my artwork online and in markets. People ‘liked it’, that was a bonus. I liked it. I always, in spite of knowing it’s potential for development, have liked my art. And it’s less about loving it from a purely aesthetic place, I just love that it exists.
Expressing my creativity, is a conduit for my being capable of loving that *I* exist.
Some might call it a celebration, others their proof of life. Having a physical, concrete, visual, representation of my existence and expression in the world, is my way of declaring ‘I AM HERE’.
And I think that’s important.|
In saying this, because I began depending on the selling of my art, I did fall into the trap of ‘trying too hard’ to paint pieces that were sellable. I fell into the trap of outcome and product over process.
I was chasing something.
I was also running away from something. I was running away from the 9-5, a world that has taught me that I am not for it nor it, for me. I have known for a long time that the work I’m doing now, is my sacred contract, my soul’s calling, my north star. I suppose you could say, it’s a sense of vocation.
At this stage I had taken the leap, committed to and invested in my creative self, fully. I believed in possibility and I put all my faith, heart and soul into making it happen.
It was also a lot of pressure to put on my creativity.
In 2016, I was 2 years in when grief came calling at my door. I was engaged and about to be married for the second time, when I discovered at 40 years of age that I was pregnant, for the first time.
Our happiness was short lived as 5 weeks before our ‘wedding day with bump’, I lost the pregnancy.
And that’s where the quality of what had been flowing out of me, changed.
I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused. I felt incredibly vulnerable. I became the proverbial storm in the tea cup and painting ‘nice’ was simply no longer a thing I could do.
It was at this point I realised that what I had been doing all along, was painting for you. Not me. You.
Those flood gates I mentioned earlier? The force of emotion that visited itself upon me, tore them clean off and my waters, raged.
This was an emergency. I needed to contain it. So I abandoned ‘nice’ in service to NOW.
I got on my pages and I began tending to the flood. I let it come. I wrote with it. Furiously. I scribbled. I tore. I threw paint at my pages from across the room and didn’t care where it landed.