What my art journey needed this year.
Every year I pick a word or two that encompasses something I want to bring more of to my life in the new year. I think it works better than a new years resolutions and gives you much more room to grow.
It may be about life in general or pertaining to my art life. Often times what we choose overlaps and brings new things to every aspect of our life.
That being said I wasn’t sure at first what my word or words were going to be. I knew I would know when the came to me and they did.
My words for this year are Letting go and Play!
How did my words come about?
Intuition or that inside gut feeling is something I have learned to follow even if I can’t put into words exactly why or where it will take me. I have followed it enough times in life to value the journey and what I will learn from it.
Following it in art is just as important to my growth as an artist and I found myself deep in the middle of making oil painting my medium to finally sit down and learn this year.
I have wanted to learn oils for a very long time and just never took the time to do that.
Not knowing much about oil painting I got my supplies, watched some videos and began playing.
What playing in this new medium has taught me?
It has been said that art should leave something for the viewer to see, let them decide what it has in it for them.
But, if you listen to the viewer it can also inform what you see in you in your own creative process.
Now, I haven’t, in my opinion, created anything of greatness in oil painting yet. But I share it anyway cause I believe sharing process good or bad has value for everyone.
Sharing those beginner pieces engaged others in responding to my art in the groups I belong to online. Some people were noticing all the playtime in art I was doing. Others loved what I did and I had to step back and consider that even though I did not love my results. And still, others had feedback and encouragement to offer.
Today so many things came together in my head and I knew my words for the year!
Letting go and play
It’s powerful to know you can define however loosely what you want to embrace in your creative journey in the coming year.
How a difficult and stressful thing in life lead me to understand the need to let go
For a long time, I was more interested in doing good art as many of us are. I guess somewhere inside that validated my artist inside. I put more value on that validation than I did knowing who I was as an artist inside.
Several years ago I had a life change and pretty much didn’t really do anything creative for a few years. That was my healing time from a very dysfunctional life with way too much stress. I had lost myself in that life and I knew it.
I had healed enough from life and found me and now it was time to do the same in my creative journey.
What I discovered when I came back to my creative self was that it was time to discover who I truly was in my art.
In order to start this journey, I had to make myself a promise. That was to not say no to things because they engaged my fear and doubt buttons. It can be so easy to give in to those things that trigger fears but what do we gain by doing that?
I did engage in doing things that challenged my fears intentionally. I painted something for someone in a new medium that I didn’t believe I had the skills to do at the time. Surprise I did it and it came out great.
I worked in a very large format for me, which I was terrified to do, and procrastinated quite a bit about but finally completed. The recipient of that painting absolutely loved it. It showed me to just take the chance.
Why letting go and playtime in art is so important!
These past few years I have embraced many new things in myself and my art. I began creating things I was really enjoying and proud of. But that was just the first part of letting go and trusting my creative intuition.
Here a few years later I am finding I need to also include the play part in a bigger way with no expectations.
Expectations is a big word, actually a huge word. Think about it all of the times you were let down, disappointed and unhappy with something it was probably because you attached expectations to the outcome and it didn’t turn out that way.
It was those expectations that let you down.
The same goes for art. We learn we do, we expect to see results. This very thing not only disappoints us but also robs us of discovery.