This painting almost never happened.
I originally pulled this canvas out after seeing all the deconstructionism being done by Christine, how she was taking old paintings, ripping off layers, adding new ones, letting some of what was shine through to what is (the upper right corner of this piece has that bit of the original red and orange painting revealed under collaged paper). I loved the idea of taking something already started and turning it into something new, and remember I had a few canvases I started about a year ago that I abandoned after they began going, well, not my way.
But as I pulled this one out, eager to play in my painting style (that is, go to thick swatches of color, collage, and imagery instead of the sketchy style I have in my journals), I questioned why I was doing it. No one buys your paintings, I thought, so why waste your time on something only you’ll see, on something you’ll feel bad about because no one wants to spend money on it?
There’s a bit of validity to that thought, no matter how negative it is — when you’re depending on your art and words to pay the bills, you always have that hanging over your head. It’s not fun. While you want to create just to create, you always have to think further, have plans and projects. Yes, I love it — don’t get me wrong — I just have dark thoughts like the one above sometimes!
It goes back, though, to that hesitation we all have about showing our work to others. That fear that your work isn’t “good enough” or “pretty” or whatever adjective you’re looking for (“grungy” “messy” “vintage”). So we don’t start. Our journals remain empty, our canvases blank. That fear grips us so hard, we continue to comb the internet for more inspiration while putting off our own creative spirit.
But I didn’t want to be controlled by fear or money or outside validation. So I just started throwing down paper, grabbing paint, just getting into the spirit. Put on upbeat music to get me moving. Played with the dogs. Laughed. And then just said,
“Screw it! I’m going to have fun!”
So I started playing. Having fun. Not caring about the outcome. And then, showed it to some friends.
You need to have these friends. Those amazing, sparkling women and men who are there for you, nurture you, listen to your fears and give advice. I am blessed to have such people in my life, and through the magic of the internet, can Skype with them!
I chatted with them. Told them my fears and showed them my work in progress. And that helped so much. Just being able to get things out, to get advice, to hear the world outside myself.
I kept going. I finished the painting while chatting and laughing and sharing.
And I’m so glad I did.