I am feeling twitchy because I am making changes. After that question pierced my consciousness yesterday, I took the Facebook, Twitter, and Bloglovin' apps off my phone. If I am going to engage via social media, Instagram is my preferred choice as it is slower and more thoughtful for me. I feel like I can know more of someone via the photos he or she chooses to post. The changes are making me feel unsettled though as I am thwarted when I reach for my phone to distract me.
I painted in my son's bedroom yesterday. Afterwards, I decided to follow through on a commitment to my self to work on using up all of these canvases that I have I have stacked in the corners of my bedroom. Though I love to paint on larger surfaces, I have quite a stockpile of small, thick canvases. Here's the thing though: Small canvases scare the bejeezus out of me! I don't know what to do with them.
So I sat with these three small canvases and I practiced all sorts of resistance. I allowed conversation with my children to distract me. I played a game of two dots of my phone. I cleaned out my pen box. I did anything at all that I could do except engage with these canvases.
Finally, I put a line cap on a bottle of paint and began to draw a squiggly frame around each color block then I added more more squiggly lines and smeared that paint around. Then I saw this little person, full of love.
I sort of blew it off as nothing, as trivial, as not my style. This person came to me as a lesson though. I know how to do this. I know what my process is and yet I struggle with feeling like this process is enough.
As long as I can remember, I see images, mostly faces, in the in between spaces. In the folds of a blanket, in the bark of a tree, in the patterns created by carpet fiber. I close my eyes and see images in the shadows and light and flashes behind my lids. When I paint, when I really give in to the way that I paint, I smear and scrape on layers of paint and then I find the image. I rarely have anything in mind before starting on a painting.
This process works for me and it feels good and right to me.
And I question it every damn time.
I struggle because I am measuring myself with what I think should be my process. I am comparing my way with another person's way or with the way I might would have been taught if I had gone to art school. I let myself believe that I could create truly wonderful and better work if I only had studied this or that or the other.
Learning new skills is always available to me. Practicing is always available to me. There's a plethora of online workshops, dvd classes, and community classes. So there's no excuse or reason to believe that I don't have the ability to grow as an artist.
My voice and my way is not something that I can learn from someone else. All that is needed is to trust. Trust myself. Trust this way of painting as my own. When in doubt, just trust and do the work because it will prove itself again. and again. and again.
Every damn time that I question, it proves itself. That's where the trust comes from. Eventually, right? I will learn to trust from the beginning, won't I?
I end with this because I want to remember what was going on while I was trying to write this post. A fly has buzzed irritatingly around me the whole time. I finally stopped to look up the fly as a animal messenger and this is what i found:
Isn't it interesting that as I am writing about how I have been struggling with how my painting process feels less than, how it doesn't feel like enough, that this fly is buzzing around, singing a different song.