Who Am I?
I’ve always had a good work ethic. ‘Never be afraid of hard work’ was what they told me in college. So being a good student I took all the advice I could get, without question. Thirty years on, I am beginning to question. How come, for all the work I do, all the beautiful paintings I produce, all the exhibitions I enter, that I can’t even scratch a living? My friends think I am living the dream but the reality looks a whole lot different.
My daughter is ready to start her Art Foundation course. I found myself reminiscing about the past in those first glory days of art school when I was on a quest to ‘find myself’. It re-ignited a part of me that I thought was lost forever. I remembered all the crazy art school parties, the hundred’s of briefs that we all struggled to finish, and the feeling of being in that creative vortex where the primary importance was to create using all parts of my mind, body and soul, and believe in myself and what I did, what I was doing.
But where did that person go?
Of course the honeymoon period of foundation year and first year of college didn’t last and I found myself being irritated by college politics and other arbitrary ‘stuff’ that was going on. I often wondered why students went to art college only to be subjected to the intense character assassination that some of the greatly incompetent teachers dished out. The last few years were tough. My work, as well as my personality, went from being exploratory and outward reaching to defensive. How was I ever going to continue on a course which had become less about art and more about survival? It forced me to search out the nitty-gritty of my own being. Now most people would think this is a good thing, but when you are searching for direction it can be a very dark place.
While I was recounting the story to my daughter recently I realised that I had never said out loud what it was that had made that last year of college bearable, never mind do-able. The answer was that through the turmoil, when I had almost given up on myself through doubt, self-criticism and shame, I found someone who believed in me. It was like a love affair without the chocolate and the sex. It was a far greater high than any of all of that. It was love, for sure. But not just falling in love, or love for another person. It was a recognition of my own soul. A re-awakening of what that person brought out in me.
It was finding the ME, that I had been looking for. It transcended all other states of being.
My work began to change. I started to become more involved mentally, emotionally, physically. I became the lead actor in my own creations. My work wasn’t just something I did, it was who I was. For my final diploma year I created paintings, installations, photographs and body prints. I worked through the night on some pieces, smoking and drinking black coffee to stay awake. But really I didn’t need the caffeine as the drive and emotion that coursed through my veins elevated me to heights that never before had I known existed.
And thus I had found my muse.
Thirty years on, and I have turned to intuitive art journalling to be my creative lifeline. It helps me to reach that part of me that got left behind in the rush. It is a time to meditate, and reach into my soul which helps me to find where I am at. Whatever I produce each day is enough. I’m not trying to reach a standard, finish a product, do a commission, or try a new technique. I don’t have to. The scribblings and mark-making that I do in this sacred space between my journal pages is not judged or assessed.
It simply ‘is’.
It is me.
Welcome to my world of intuitive art journalling.
Let my offerings be an inspiration to your own journey.
“Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams”. (WB Yeats)