Friday, June 3, 2016

why make art?

Art has been knocking on my door for about 6 or 7 years. Usually, not always, but often, when I opened the door, I said, "what are you doing here?" and slammed it shut. I was confused about why it was showing up. I was confused about why I kept seeing beautiful images everywhere. On the fridge, on the wall, in my mind's eye. Stunning images that made me feel dreamy and came with a strong longing to make them. But I'm not an artist. It seemed like so much trouble. Unlike writing, you need lots of materials, expensive ones, and you have to throw paint down the drain, which I hate doing. It's also messy, and I don't think I liked the way it made me feel less in control. I also believed that writing was my art form. I have been writing since I was a child. Maybe dance, too. I love to move. Maybe even singing, which brings me such joy sometimes. But art? It is the form that I feel most clumsy with, the one that comes the least naturally (except playing an instrument - that I thankfully have no calling towards). I tried to talk myself out of it many times. How about photography? I'd say to it - much more practical - you can take photos of your kids and have a lovely history of their childhoods. And no toxic paint. Stick with writing, you're already doing that, and you can keep getting better at it. Anything seemed less trouble than art. But gradually, especially lately, I have succumbed to its insistence. I became more open to doing so when I noticed how certain images have been attracting me for years - mostly circles and flowers. Once I opened my eyes to this, I saw that they were all over my house - on my pillows, blankets, purses, clothes, everywhere. And in my paintings. These images, along with the longing to make them, were coming from a very deep place in me I couldn't see. Something from the soul. Spontaneous and ephemeral. The images and longing don't come with instructions, or a known meaning. I can only guess at it. My best guess so far is that they are trying to teach me openness. I feel drawn to open-faced flowers particularly, and the endless depth in the centre of the circle. There is also play and the no-purposelessness of making art. A part of me wants everything I do to have purpose, if only that I am at least good at the thing I'm doing. Another more soulful part seems to have a very different agenda. I'm feeling more aware of these two aspects of my being - ego and soul. I'd like to write about that more soon. I read a lovely interview with women's leadership coach Tara Mohr yesterday on the purpose of creation, and how to be with the feedback we get - critical or praising. Tara believes that feedback has nothing to do with the creator, but all to do with the one giving the feedback. She also believes that nobody will care about the work we do more than us, even when it is helpful to others. She believes that we create, most essentially, because we are growing ourselves. She says, "We write the books we write [or make any of our creations] because of our soul’s questions, our dilemmas, the topics we are drawn to in our hearts." Check out her interview here: Happy playful soulful day to you.

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