The creative process is so juicy and lush with possibilities. I love reading blogs by people who open up and share all the fruits of their process--whether it be successes, stumbles, or sidetracks. Reading someone else write "Yay! I just had this great success," or "Hey, you know what? This went wrong for me, but here's what I learned and here's how I'm going to move on from it," or "The project I'm working on is leading me to ask these questions and I'm going to follow that path, even though the destination is unknown," is very inspirational. It's raw and open and honest and I believe that the best art comes from expressing the real essence of ourselves.
But as a blogger, I've taken a more Punxsatawney Phil approach. Every now and then I'll pop up, give a quick status report, and then return to hibernation mode, not to blog again for months. During those months, there are juicy things happening inside my studio and inside me, but I tend to keep them to myself, preferring to only blog when I have things set in my mind.
Over the past few months I have been deeply engaged in painting. I mentioned way back in January that I had started painting and had fallen in love with it. And then I disappeared into my studio not to be heard from again. During that time I took the BIG online painting class with Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio (who I absolutely love and is one of my blogging artist heroes). It's not an overstatement to say that that class radically changed me.
What made the class so real is that the focus was really on process, rather than product. We were encouraged to blog on the class website about our experiences--whether good, bad, or ugly. I had to be mindful of the painting process and pay attention to my internal chatter, listen to what my inner critic saying, and discover when I was being resistant. But it was also about figuring out what was going well and what worked.
It was about sharing my experience and listening to the experience of the other students. Someone would write about their struggles and I would know exactly what they meant. Or I would write about my challenges and someone (most often several someones) would offer me a new perspective that would help me breakthrough.
Going into the class, I made a commitment to myself to participate deeply and share openly about my process with the other students. And so I found that the more honest I was, the more I learned.
And that has made me rethink my blog. I don't want this blog to be a stage showplace, where I pop up every few months, say "Ta-Da," and unveil my latest works. I want it to be as messy and honest and real as my experiences in the studio. That means sharing my process, warts and all. That means sharing my art. In some ways, that scares the daylights out of me. I fear someone commenting, "That face looks weird. Why do you think you can paint?" But the truth is those words truly reflect my own insecurities and struggles with my art.
Today I did something terrifying. I started a new painting last night and this morning I posted a picture of the in-process painting on facebook. And you know what? No one said the face looked weird or that the arms were funny. Those who commented were totally sweet and supportive. And really, even if someone did say something critical, it wouldn't really matter. The reality is: I am learning. But the deeper reality is: I am painting and writing from an open, honest place that reflects the best part of me. As long as I do that--as long as we do that, as long as we work from the deepest, most true part of ourselves, then our work is successful.
And so I will breath deep and share with you my final class project from Connie's class. Are there things I would differently? Are there parts I could improve? Sure, but we can always say that about things. But it's rich with personal symbolism about becoming a painter and living a BIG life. And it comes from an open space in my heart. And so I wish to share that with you.