Since I've been on this eCourse journey these past few months, more & more I'm realizing there are so many parallels between art & life. I've so often put my life into my art, my words, my moods, my feelings, my vulnerabilities. Often art has been the therapy in my life. Its been my escape, my joy, my passion. And often struggles I have with a painting or a stage of work or a theme, also mirrors something I am having trouble resolving in my day-to-day too. That came to mind as I was walking through the city in the rain, alone, [for an appointment] several weeks ago. Art is a metaphor for life or something like that. And within a few days of thinking about that, I read it twice more either on blogs or in my course classroom posts, that very thing. I must have been ready to hear it. To make that connection.
Anyway, on the Lilla Rogers eCourse that I am doing currently, Lilla has shared with us that 'People buy your joy!'
People BUY my joy.
People buy MY joy.
People buy my JOY.
I'm hearing ALL those words.
I've been full of joy whenever I've been painting. But maybe that hasn't always transferred to canvas.
I've come to realise that all those girls I've been painting, whilst I thought I was painting them to look soulful & reflective, many of them look to have a deep thinking, wistful, snippy or snooty expression. And even worse, many a look of sadness. I guess I didn't see that until now. And its funny because at various times over the years I've had people request those painted girls of mine to have the 'happy smile' or the 'happy eyes' and they have pointed me towards those girls that I have painted that seem to have an expression of happiness or joy about them. And again just recently. Its got me thinking. Silly brain, please stop it! Thinking again?
I guess for a long long time I've had some inner sadness. Maybe everyone does? Do you know anyone who is over 98% happy & fulfilling over 98% of their responsibilities? I guess I am about 79.3% happy, just for the record. And if I'm honest I guess I am fulfilling about 79.3% of my responsibilities [and the list is ENORMOUS]. When I put that other 20.7% to making art it makes me more happy, but household chores or exercise suffers. The swinging pendulum. Ha! I didn't intend to be discussing a happiness/household chores pie chart here. Where do you sit?
I'm noticing that this deep thinking, inner sadness thing is quite common with 'creative types'. Sensitive, feeling, soak up all your surroundings type people. It results in taking alot the negative on board & trying to make sense of it. Add insecurity & low self esteem to the mix. Worrying about what is going on in the world. Worried about the future. Always concerned with how others perceive me & knowing I don't come across at all like I intend to in person. And then after, beat myself up for saying something stupid or being too shy, to be who I really am when I'm at my most comfortable. Which leads to being mostly a hermit. None of which helps.
Over the years, I have often felt misunderstood. Until recently, I've been in that place & haven't been able to find the balance of being good/meeting approval/expectation [boring goody goody] and being myself but fearing judgement of others for not being good enough or meeting expectation consistently [real person]. There's also not being happy with my self on the outside & constant 'talkings-to-myself' for not being perfect on the inside. Both those things I've been working on all year, well for probably 20 years. And finally there's some loneliness because my husband works odd & long hours & I need to be at home with my young children. And its been a long stretch now, coming up for 9 years.
Thing is, all of those things are just fleeting moments in my average week. 20.7% of my thoughts, usually when I'm alone. Mostly I am busy & productive & enjoying life. I have so much to be grateful for and I really am so grateful for all of it. And I am generally a happy, lots of laughter, fun kind of girl - in & around my comfortable people & learning to avoid things that make me feel uncomfortable. I love my family & my husband & my home. But after all my blessings in life, there's still that little sadness. All the 'issues' are with myself. So I continue on my journey of living & thinking & making & recording.
Maybe some might think oversharing here on MY space is too much but I've resolved how I feel about it & I am very very clear in my mind that I know its a good thing. I've never suffered depression but I know I'm ultra sensitive & introspective. I know sharing feelings is good for me & I know I am helping others by sharing. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone wants to. Some share in private. Regardless, there's nothing good about bottling. Some day the lid will fly off. I'm super happy for my children to read all of this in years to come so that they really know me. Understand me. Know I'm a real vulnerable person with feelings but that I am loving, I am passionate, I am strong & that I am brave. I carry on. I keep swimming. I keep making & put something of me out into the world. I wish I had this kind of resource on my parents & grandparents & ancestors. People are so interesting & unique. Some people don't understand this blogging. I don't understand being anonymous, not leaving your mark on the world. We are history in the making. I am pro sharing. So I continue in my art exploration & my writing....
There's something else interesting that Lilla Rogers said to her students recently that resonated strongly with me, 'Art is a conversation you have with yourself.' What she meant by that is that art is a journey, a process and there's no need for comparison or competition with other artists. Its about you & your personal development. Indeed I have been having this long introspective conversation with myself & it definitely spills over onto canvas. Like Lilla, I think you need to grow, move on & evolve in your artmaking. I think its also true, that sometimes you need to change that conversation. And just maybe this year I am done with feeling that way. I'm not tired of the joyless conversation, it will be had until it is done & dusted. That can't be rushed. But I am open & I welcome & I am ready for a new conversation & I hope it takes over. I'm over 40, lots of years lived. I want lots more of feeling more joy. I want to share more joy. And I want that joyful conversation to spill over onto my paintings.
So whilst illustration might require me to create mood, show expression in all its forms, those girls I paint for myself, I'm going to give them more joy too. Paint more joy. How to do that will be my next journey. There's a technical component to adding more personality but mostly its finding more joy from within and shifting aside the blerghhh. Afterall, whilst I get so many lovely compliments about my work, who wants to display a girl with sadness in their home? That is kind of sad really. Why didn't I ever think of that?
If I can put more joy into those girls that I paint, I think my art might also mirror what is happening in my life. And putting & painting all those tiny joyful building blocks into my art & my life, things start to change. Put life into art, put art into life. Changes don't happen overnight. Change requires effort & energy. But I'm ready.
Finally ready for more joy.