On Monday, Flora Bowley’s “Bloom True” painting class started. I have wanted to take it forever, but the cost always prevented me from signing up. Finally, I decided enough was enough, and just went for it. I’m so glad I did.
It’s only three days into the class, and I’ve already learned so much.
Yesterday was the first painting day, and it was pretty mind-blowing. Not the results (see above- it’s the first layer), but the PROCESS. I’ve never felt like that while making art. We were supposed to start two canvases with a first layer, but I was so enchanted by the process that I did a first layer on a third canvas. I *had* to. I have no idea what is coming next in the course, and what goes on the canvases next, but if I just continued to paint like I did yesterday, this class is more than worth the investment.
In addition to painting days, there are a lot of “reflection”-kinda days. I figured I might write about some of that stuff here. I would type it anyway (writing by hand is not my favorite thing these days…) so I might as well share some of it.
Set an intention for the course:
Oh, I have no idea. As much as I talk about intention and appreciate its power and know how good it is to set intention, I avoid it like crazy. I hate narrowing things down. Choosing an intention (or choosing anything, really) feels more like trying to decide what NOT to choose. Does that make any sense at all?
I dithered over it for a while, and finally scribbled down the following in my journal:
“I want to paint without fear.
I want to paint and have it be fun.
Fun and fearless painting.”
Instead of trying to find less kindergarten-sounding words and phrases, I decided to just leave it there. I just want to have some fun. That’s all. I want painting and making art to be fun again. Creativity lost its magic a long time ago, but I remember the joy so vividly that I never stopped doing creative stuff. I guess I just trusted that at some point the fun would come back. But it hasn’t. So I want to make that happen. I want to find the fun and magic again.
What do you want to get from this course?
I just want to be able to sit down at my desk and paint without it being dampened by fear and endless dithering and resistance and concern about how other people might receive it.
How do you want to be in this course?
Brave. Colorful. Engaged. Passionate. Cheerful. Ready. Optimistic.
What is the most important part of the creative process?
For me? Actually getting myself started and being authentic about it.
Why are you here?
Because I’m TIRED of art being such a f*ing agonizing thing for me. I mean, enough is enough!
(Plus, I love Flora Bowley’s style and want to know how she does some of the stuff she does. I’ll be honest.)
What is begging to come out?
Vulnerability. Childishness. Silliness. Passion. CONNECTION. Heart.
Do you perceive yourself as an artist?
No. (again, being honest.) I’m making it work *as* an artist, but it’s more like I’m playing a role of an artist and waiting for some last bit of magic to click into place and *then* I can inhabit life as an actual artist. But right now, I’m “acting as if.”
What is the most challenging thing about making art?
Decisions. Getting over my self. Worrying about whether it’s good enough. Just STARTING. Feeling so much resistance.
And then sharing the art- putting myself so deeply into something and then not getting a response. It’s like a car crash, almost. It feels devastating. So now I monitor everything I create and always ask “what can I do to make this as accessible to everyone as possible?” I’m just so tired of that, but I can’t seem to get myself to stop doing it.
How do you perceive yourself as part of a creative community?
I have no idea, truly. Any time I feel as if I am squeezing in a bit, I feel cramped right out. And I blame my “talent”, or lack thereof. Or my lack of passion for personal promotion/social networking. I honestly don’t care so much about being a community leader- I have no desire to run workshops or write a book or publish tutorials. But it would be so nice to be recognized as an artist, as a viable participant in the community. As someone whose work mattered and inspired and changed people, even in tiny ways. I just want to reach people, I guess.
And then Flora recommended that we take our negative self talk, and restate each negative thing as a positive thing. An affirmation.
Okay, affirmations are not my thing. (Again, being honest.) They feel very forced to me. At least when I do it. At some point when I was in my mid-20’s I started getting really, really *real* with myself. And I talk to myself in a honest way. It’s gotten more and more compassionate, but it can be harshly critical. But there is always humor in it. That was the magic to finally accepting myself- finding the great humor in life. I love laughing, and I love to laugh at myself. It puts me at ease, and by finding the humor in my life, I have finally stopped feeling so awkward about having Spina Bifida.
Anyway, affirmations tend to feel completely positive, which is great, but my thing is humor. So when I read or write an affirmation, my inner self reads it in a sort of theatrical and overly-serious way, and it becomes a joke rather than something I can actually process and believe.
So, I need to make some new philosophies. Philosophy I can do. Approach I can do.
Philosophies on creating:
– Making decisions is not a stressful process. Choosing between many happy possibilities is joyful and a part of the creative process I love. I love my supplies and I love the opportunities to use them all.
– I’m a good artist. (ack, that feels so icky!) My art has a place in this world. My art is an authentic expression of exactly who I am.
– Getting started every day on creative stuff is something I do not resist. Instead, I embrace it with my whole heart as an opportunity to express myself exactly as I am in that moment.
– Art is for me. Creativity is for me. The creative process is for me. All that matters is that I arrive and leave the creative process feeling whole, at peace, genuine, satisfied, and not overwhelmed.
There’s more to this, of course. But I wanted to put some time and genuine effort into this part of the course, and not just put it aside for when there is more time, or more “space”. I want to give myself the gift of keeping up, and really being present for this class as it unfolds.