I took a little break to focus on school and reevaluate. I hit a wall, I was trying to do more than I was able to handle. I thought it would be a couple of weeks, but it turned into an amazing three months. Since returning to painting after a year and half, I realized that not only have my skills suffered, but I was no longer the same person that suddenly became unable to paint in 2016. I felt lost and confused. I could not just jump back into things. The “style” in which I had been painting was no longer interesting me. The goals I had set myself a few years ago no longer fit within the framework of my life.
What Just Happened?
This life I am living looks NOTHING like it did two years ago. I needed to step back and re-evaluate where I am and where I am going. And I realized that to figure out where I am going, I need to figure out where I am right now. I had spent so much time just trying to get back on my feet that I had to stop and let myself look at where I had landed. To allow myself a chance to breathe and to recognize that for now, the roller coaster ride was over. I had a burning desire to learn and play without expectation and nurture my self. I had some hard questions to ask myself about what role my creativity needed to take in my life. Do I want to teach right now? Do I feel like I am coming from an authentic place? What does my creativity mean to me? How can I anchor myself?
In these past three months I have tried every new thing that caught my eye, played with color, tried to stop focusing on “production” and tried to get back to finding the joy in creating. I set a very loose “goal” of just letting my creativity take me “wherever” for at least an hour a day and for the most part, unless I had pressing deadlines with school, I successfully achieved that. Yay! I have been experimenting with a new paint brand, taking some online instruction, listening to podcasts, reading art books, watching a ton of other artists create and visiting my local art gallery to soak up the creative energy I have been seriously lacking and just letting myself play. I have limited my time on social media and given myself permission to have “brainless” time; quiet time with no noise, no learning, no music, just quiet time to let my mind wander and let myself think. That last bit is a whole lot harder than I imagined.
Creating a New Whole
Most of us will experience times in our life when the ground get ripped from under us and life tosses you up in the air, tumbling you around for awhile and then dropping you into something different and completely new. I can’t say that I have necessarily come out of the past couple of years stronger, but I am “changed”. I finally feel that I am slipping back into myself, but it has taken some time to adjust, to stop resisting and allow the old me and the new me to come together to create a new whole. I have a quote on my fridge that I put up a while back, “sometimes when life feels like it is falling apart, it is really just falling into place” (sorry, I don’t know where I got the quote from) and it has been a bit of inspiration to keep me going even when things felt like they could not get worse. I can feel that “falling into place” bit right now.
I am really excited to see where this creative sabbatical will take me. The images I am sharing in this post are kind of all over the place, some are finished, others are not, but they express the journey I am on. New techniques, new color pallet, new subjects (or lack thereof). I am struggling with the role that social media takes in my life. I am trying to find that balance between sharing my passion but not leaving myself bare and vulnerable. I am trying to stop comparing myself and my work to the rest of the world, and let myself be grateful, joyful, and content with where I am.