27 January 2012

Back to Imperfect

I haven't blogged in a while. My plan for an imperfect 2012 was to blog more regularly. I haven't. That's alright, I guess, because it is imperfect.

But what isn't alright is why I haven't been blogging. It took a little introspection to figure why, but now that I know, my solution is to put it out there.

And so, I have a confession to make: I'm scared.

Downright terrified.

And immobilized with fear.

Why so scared? Because a couple weeks ago I went into my studio and painted this:

It was incredibly fun and relaxing and I was so shocked when I was done. It was beautiful to me and I didn't know I was capable of it. I had never really painted before. Sure, I have used paint to make paper-cloth, but that was more a matter of slapping it down to create texture. This was a series of purposeful choices, playing with different paint colors and types of brushes, to create a painting that reflected my voice.

So, a couple days later I painted this:

Again I surprised myself. Over the next week or two, I painted a couple more and each time I felt an incredible satisfaction of self-expression.

And then all of a sudden I stopped. I stayed out of my studio and found other things to do with my time. I wanted to go back and paint some more, but I was resisting. I walked around with a tightness in my chest. I couldn't pinpoint what was going on.

So I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and a scratchy pen (scratchy pens are my writing implement of choice when trying to figure out something) and started journaling. The first couple paragraphs were about everyday worries: why is the cat vomiting again? Why is the car leaking oil? And just how much will fixing the cat and the car cost?

But it wasn't until I turned my thoughts to painting and my studio and art that I began to figure out what was going on. I wrote "Fear. Fear. Fear. I'm so scared right now of what I have done. What if I can't do it again?"

And oh boy did that make everything make sense. Originally, I painted for fun, without fear of failure because "Hey, if I painted something ugly, then that was all part of being imperfect anyway." But as I continued I became attached to the idea of making beautiful things and I lost that freedom of being okay with failure.

So fear struck and resistance formed and I walked around with a lump in my chest as my desire to go paint tangled with my fear of failure.

Once I realized that, it was like finding freedom again. This year is about allowing myself to be IMPERFECT, to make mistakes, to have failures, but to always get up and try again. It's not about clinging so desperately to success that I don't try anything at all.

So back into the studio I go.

And I decided to share this because it's real and honest and imperfect. And maybe it will inspire someone to face their fear that is holding them back.


gingerkitty said...

Good on you for pushing through the block. So many others would have given up. Your work is awesome. I can see it translated to an art quilt.

Kimberly Davis said...

Thanks gingerkitty! I've been thinking a lot about how to incorporate some art quilting elements with these pieces. I love your name, btw, my first kitty was named Ginger. He was such a sweetie...

La MaƱosa said...

Great post, Kim! I am definitely inspired by reading about your process and how you are working through letting yourself be an artist and dealing with the anxiety I think everyone confronts.

By the way, I had a huge amount of anxiety about squaring up a quilt/cutting off excess fabric and batting and then I remembered that I had taken up your word "imperfect" this year, too, and I went and hacked them off. It was good!

Kimberly Davis said...

I'm so glad it's working for you too Misty! I shared it with my free-motion quilting students and it seemed to help them relax too. I'm all about spreading message!

Anonymous said...

Again, so interesting............ As you well know, I am fearful about things, too. To step out and face them ,,, is my goal. Mom