I have been on a quest to find my inner artist since last fall when a man I barely knew put a canvas in front of me and a paintbrush in my hand and said “you are an artist”. I have been changing the story in my head about myself, silencing the voice that said “you can’t”, and dabbling in painting, drawing, writing. This blog is my latest adventure in seeking to finding my voice, and I keep running across inspiration to help me in this journey. Today it is an interview with Carole King. She said:
If you are sitting down and you feel that you want to write and nothing is coming, you get up and do something else. Then you come back again and try it again. But you do it in a relaxed manner. Trust that it will be there. If it ever was once and you’ve ever done it once, it will be back. It always comes back and the only thing that is a problem is when you get in your own way worrying about it.
She may have been talking about writing music, but this is applicable to any creative expression.
Here is my first painting, the one I did that day in September:
After I quit overthinking it, I just chose the primary colors and went to it. It looks pretty much like a child’s finger painting, on the one hand, but I expressed the emotions I was feeling that day and it was like putting a stake in the ground that said “this is a turning point!”
Soon after, I went on an expedition to an art supply store, with the same man, who I was getting to know quite well, and bought my own paint and canvases. I doodled around with it for a month or so, then expressed myself here:
This was something that I had seen in my mind’s eye when I first started meditating, and it represents freedom. The act of mixing the colors and putting the paint on the canvas until I was satisfied was a very raw and sensual experience.
Since then, I have attended a couple of classes, painted a tree and some mountains as well as playing abstractedly, have all kinds of ideas, but haven’t devoted as much time as I’d really like to this. The thing I am learning, though, whether it is in drawing or painting, or coloring between the lines of a picture someone else drew, or in writing, or singing, or – you name it – it is not in whether I have extraordinary talent, it is in the expressing, the releasing of what is inside me bursting to get out. Then — to risk ridicule by letting another see what I have done, and get to the place of not caring what others think – this is in itself quite an accomplishment for me.
Someday I hope to “quit my day job” and have much more time for these pursuits. For now, I simply take each day, each moment, and do the next thing, which at the moment is writing this!
As for the man who handed me the paintbrush — he has become to me so much more than words can say. He delights and encourages me every day, with his own brand of creativity, his ingenuousness, and his unwavering determination.