Packing and Unpacking

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3 Crows a Letter, 4 Crows a Boy

I am writing this post in the midst of controlled chaos.  Namely, I am packing.  Everything.

Last time I wrote I had just decluttered and sold my home.  I did not have a new home to go to yet.  Now I do.  I also have a moving date, so I am packing with a purpose.  The perfect thing about having already decluttered?  No decisions to make about what to keep and what to let go.  No decisions complicated by memories or by dreams yet to be fulfilled.  That bit is already done.  Yay!

I have a new home with my perfect, amazing, big-with-awesome-light studio.  This is the studio I have been imagining since I began art school.  Twenty-one years of imagining have created me this wondrous place.  There is room for my writing desk and reference books.  Room for my art table and easel and supply shelves.  For my library.  An area with sink and tiled floor for mucky projects.  Storage space.

I saw a studio like this, owned by a master artist, a few years into my art practice.  Always I have remembered it.  Now I have one like it.

A blessing.  A gift of abundance.

I am dancing inside.

I’ve heard tales of artists and writers who freeze up when they finally have the creation space of their dreams.  Like somehow the expectations of results have been upped beyond what they can easily deal with, and it scares them into silence.

I’m mentioning this because when I first walked into this space I said out loud, “Too big.”  It scared me, this huge lovely space made for creating.  This perfect space that could be mine, and I was rejecting it.  This space I had imagined, and I was turning my back on it.

But something interesting happened as I turned my back.  I caught myself in the middle of no.  I felt the abundance being offered me here in this light-filled space.  I stopped, and I began to laugh.  I began to feel joy.  I began to dance with the possibilities of creating image and word right here.  Right here.

In that moment, something unpacked itself and I saw it clearly.  Old beliefs limiting my worth, my abilities, what I do and don’t deserve, what I can offer through my creativity, how big or small I should be.  For the first time, these old beliefs stood fully in the light, and I discovered they are not mine any more.

Oh, I know their ghosts may still show up once in a while, as I create in my new studio.  That’s okay.  They no longer have the same power over me.  When I see my beliefs clearly, I know what to do with them and how to handle the feelings they carry.  I have choice.  They won’t stay long, and I’ll wave goodbye as they leave.

Then I’ll go right back to creating.

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A note re unpacking limiting beliefs:

Jennifer McLean teaches a gentle and effective method of releasing old beliefs, emotions, experiences, and trauma.  Spontaneous Transformation Technique (STT) is an easy and quick process to learn and to use.  I know, from personal experience, how beautifully it works in clearing creativity blocks and glitches that slow us down and limit our creative lives.  As a Certified Level 2 Spontaneous Transformation Technique Practitioner, I use STT’s powerful process in my creativity workshops and coaching.  This link will take you to Jennifer’s information page.  http://go.spontaneoustransformation.com/powerhealing

 

Inspired by Anne of Green Gables

anne-of-green-gablesI’m in the midst of creating a mixed media drawing for the local gallery’s summer show.  Their theme is the story Anne of Green Gables.

The entire gallery, upstairs and down, will be filled with mannequins and miniatures by artist and costumer Korene Kidd of Prince George, BC.  The walls will be hung with artwork by local artists.

I read Anne of Green Gables four times, probably more, as a child and teenager.  Anne was my kind of hero.  She had red hair which I longed for.  Funny, that I had the raven hair she wished was hers.  I grew my hair long just so I could have braids and pretend they were red.

Although I didn’t get into Anne’s kind of scrapes, I did have the same imagination, loud and busy.  Beauty would stop me in my tracks, literally, as it did her.  Cherry blossoms against a blue blue sky.  A thrush deep in its morning song.  The stream that moved through the dark of the trees beyond our house.  Wonder and joy.

I’ve been reading bits of Anne’s story as I make my drawing.  I’ve discovered something.

When I read Anne years ago, I focused on the actions and thoughts of the characters.

When I read Anne now, I am pulled in by the emotions expressed in the story and mine arising in response.

Anne lives her life wide open to the world.  Her heart feels joy and sorrow, love and pain in ferocious, instant, equal measure.

As a child I read the words but did not understand.  I was cautious with my heart.  I kept my feelings private.  There were emotions I didn’t know what to do with.  They were either too huge or too terrifying to set free.  Love.  Joy.  Anger.  Grief.

I am no longer that child.  My heart lies open to my life, as Anne’s does in her story.

I learned to be open.  I began with feeling love and joy, and now I also know what to do with anger and grief.  Emotions no longer mystify me.  Well, most of the time.

This, I am sure, is why I am reading Anne in a different way.  I am reading with an open heart.

It’s the same story, same words.  It is me that is different.

Anne was written with an open heart.  I get to feel that now with every word I read.  What perfect joy to have discovered this piece of Anne’s story that had previously passed me by.  A gift.

My Anne drawing is titled ‘What Gives Me Joy (Anne of Green Gables)’.  It holds a list of joy that begins with ‘blazing red hair’.

My drawing ends with what I’ve learned from Anne, what has nestled in my heart.

Notice beauty.  Notice joy.  Cradle anger and grief, for they too need to be loved.  Find people and places and things to love in your life.

Thank you Anne and Marilla and Matthew and all.  Thank you Lucy Maud Montgomery, for letting Anne into your imagination and out to the world.

_____________________

In this post

L. M. Montgomery, 1874 – 1942. Book Anne of Green Gables, Running Press, 1993.  ‘I wrote it for love…’ page 286.   http://www.lmmontgomery.ca/

The Station House Gallery, Williams Lake, BC.  https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

 

 

Here Is Joy

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More Snow Coming.

Here is joy.

New snow layering the bare branches of the aspens.

Crunchy toast with peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam.

Cold, clear water to drink.

Lovely Lady, our upstairs-neighbours’ rescue dog, looking in the window of our french doors, hoping for treats.

Warm socks.

Albums on my ipod.  ‘Autumn’ and ‘Winter Into Spring’ by George Winston.  Music that moves and flows and leaves beauty in its wake.

Writing valentines, to deliver by hand and to drop in the mail.

Time and space to play with pen and paper and words.

A nap after lunch.

_____________________________

In this post:

Musician George Winston.  His piano music paints pictures for me each time I listen.  My favourite albums–‘Autumn’, ‘Winter Into Spring’, and ‘December’.  ‘December’ contains a piece titled ‘Minstrels’ that haunts my heart every time I hear it.  http://www.georgewinston.com/recordings/

Warp Speed Creativity

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 8 2016

I have compressed my creative process into a month-long, fully-completed-drawing-a-day challenge. No, challenge is not the word, although this is challenging in every way. No, the word is assignment, because I expect and know I will complete each daily drawing.

‘Make it so!’ I say to myself each morning, Captain Cat Fink on the bridge of her studio sighting the creative horizon. Warp 10. (Yes, Star Trek fan, total creative fun.)

I’m drawing at warp speed. There is something that begins to happen when I work with this intensity and compression.

Instead of feeling more emotional stress, I feel less. I am moving at such speed that I pass through these emotions into full creation mind much sooner than usual. I know I have experienced this quickening before, but I had forgotten. Such pleasure to reacquaint myself with this phenomenon.

Part of this change is knowing I want this drawing complete by the end of the day. I have no time to be a drama queen. No wasting my time and energy on emotional upset. My time and energy and emotions are here to be used for drawing, not for whining about drawing.

There is more to this. I have set an intention.  I am focused on this alone–be here in the gallery’s studio in my creative process and nowhere else. The intention sets a boundary for me, even though my drawing itself has no boundaries. It tells me where to put my attention and energy and emotions, all on the sheet of paper in front of me. It makes the choice of what to do with all my creative energy very very easy. Draw.

Part of this change is daily movement through my complete creative process. Trust shows up, based on the tangible proof of the drawing I completed yesterday. My mind says, I did this yesterday, I can do it again today. And I do.

I am reminded here I do better as a daily creator than a stop-and-start creator.

Could I sustain this warp speed creativity for longer than this month?

Possibly not. I have a life outside of my studio that feeds my creative life, and it is lacking some attention right now. This intense activity would eventually drain my creative well, as I am pouring creative energy out onto the page faster than I am replenishing it. I know that my long term creative process requires periods of rest and quiet, letting inspiration arrive and develop a richness that eventually says create me now. Seeds in the ground awaiting the right season to move above the surface and be seen. My warp speed creativity, while fun and crazily productive, lacks true balance.

That said, I am realizing that a month of warp speed creativity, set amidst my more sedate daily creativity, is a very good thing. I am thinking I want this as a new creative habit.

Warp 10. Carry on, Captain.

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The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

Everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Creating

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 7 2016 (games)

There are eight new drawings on the gallery walls as of this past Saturday.  Big drawings. Thirty inches high and twenty-two inches wide each.  My favourite size.

I don’t do well with small drawings.  I love seeing other people’s small drawings or paintings or sculptures or prints.  They are lovely, perfect jewels.  I covet them.

I know, however, that small does not work for me.  When I try to work small, I end up feeling frustrated.  I can’t get enough of my idea onto that small piece of paper.  My marks and colours feel cramped, like I had to bend and break them so they fit.

I was this way all through art school.  When the assignment called for small format, I would do many, then butt them together so they could be big.  Small felt like whispering to me.  I was thirty-eight years old.  I had waited twenty years to go to art school and become Artist.  There was no way I was going to whisper.  And I didn’t.  My colours and marks and ideas yelled ‘I am here. Notice me.’

Mostly what happened is that I noticed myself.  Noticed what I loved and did not love in my artwork and creating.  Noticed who I was and was not as Cat the Artist.  Noticed how what was not authentically me fell away and was left behind for someone else to play with.

I learned I liked to create sideways.  I would look an art assignment in the face.  But then I’d begin turning it around and upside down and inside out.  I would find an interesting side door into the work, and that’s where I would begin.  My own point of view.  My sideways creation.

I still create this way.  It is how I see the world.

This past week and a half, I have discovered I am another kind of creator as well.  I am an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink creator.  I am using everything in the body of work I am creating this month.  The Joy Diary is pulling things out of me I did not know I could do.  I have discovered a way of marrying word and image that works for me.  I have discovered how to mix chaos and order.  I am matching up opposites and I like what is happening. This is double FUN, this chaotic order, this ordered chaos!

I am realizing here is the reason I have always loved comic books and graphic novels, have always loved Dr. Seuss books.  They tell stories on several levels and in several ways, all at once.  They are imagination and creation gone wild, pushed to the point of delight for both the creator and the reader.  They are sideways creations that allow in everything and the kitchen sink.

I am so glad I am a sideways-creating, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Artist and Writer.  This, absolutely and perfectly, gives me joy.

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The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

 

 

 

 

Authentically Me

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 5 2016 (see)

I have been on a theme in my life.  Uncovering my authentic self.  This has been going on since, at age 37, I quit my government job and became an art student.

The question is why wasn’t I my true self, and why did I have to go find me?

I have been peeling away the masks and costumes and finally, I think (I hope), I have come to the childhood experience that moved me away from who I was and into what others expected me to be.

I know that my childhood experiences created sets of beliefs about myself, and those beliefs created habits and patterns of behaviour that sometimes served me and sometimes harmed me.  This one did both.

I am the oldest child in my family.  You who are the oldest, you know what I am about to say.  At 3 years old my identity was changed, from just ‘Cathy’ to ‘The Big Sister’.  How I understood this was not my parents’ fault or intention.  It was simply that, at 3, things were one way or another.  There was nothing in between.  I had been ‘Cathy’.  Now I wasn’t.

Here is what I understood, the beliefs that I created.  I could not longer be just me.  I could no longer be intent and focused on what interested me alone, so deeply focused that the outside world disappeared.  I could no longer play.  I had to be responsible.  I had to keep my sister safe.  To keep her safe, I had to choose what my sister needed over what I needed and wanted.  I had to have a wide awareness that included more than what I wanted to do for myself.  I had to give away a piece of everything I received, including giving away myself.  Nothing was mine alone.

When I read this last paragraph, my mind judges and says I am complaining and being selfish.

Yes I am.  It is my self I lost, and my self I am reclaiming.  Through these drawings, I am claiming what gives me joy.  Reconnecting me to my heart.  Reconnecting to what is important to me.  Being Cat.  Artist.  Writer.  An individual, authentically me.  Loving my self.  And when I love my self, it is easy to love others.

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The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

 

Messy Creative Process

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 4 2016 (music)

I’m on a break today after three days of drawing.  Sort of a break, because while I am doing laundry and other such household chores,  I am thinking about my creative process.

I had this idea, when I was an art student, that eventually creating art would be easy.  Once I was a well-experience master artist, there would be none of those messy emotional stages of anxiety, fear, and outright panic during my drawing process.

Yes, you who are are constant creators, go ahead and laugh.  I’m laughing right along with you.

That naive art-student-me had lots of hope.  Hope carried me through the hard scary emotions of creating.  I refused to let myself be blocked because I knew making art would get easier the more art I made.  Also, I am stubborn.

I was right, sort of.  Art making did get easier, the more art I made.  Even though the anxiety-fear-panic has not disappeared, as a stage in my creative process these emotions have become smaller, shorter, less intense.  I have become used to them.  I can keep creating right through them because I know they don’t last.

Anxiety-fear-panic have become signposts for me.  They are indicators of how important this drawing or piece of writing is to me, and how important being an actively-working artist and writer are is me.  They tell me how non-negotiable it is for me to create from my authentic heart.  No shortcuts.  No faking it.  What shows up in my creation has to be the real thing and nothing less.  Something I am proud of creating and sharing.  Something that speaks to my heart, and connects with the hearts of others.

To reach that kind of authentic creating, I am willing to move through the messy, hard stages of my creative process.  I will be moving through messy and hard again tomorrow, and coming out the other side with a new drawing.  I would not want to be doing anything else.  I was made for this.

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The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

 

Artist AND Writer

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 3 2016 (stars)

(This post written the morning of November 4th.)  My beautiful blog, I have been putting you to the side this past month, all in the service of art rather than writing.

I am artist and writer in equal measure.  The past two years, writing has been all.  Now, my drawing is centre stage for all of November, and this makes me very happy.

I have missed my art-making.  This is not to say I don’t love my writing.  I am in love with both, switching back and forth depending on the inspiration that comes and the projects that grow.

My drawings for ‘The Joy Diary’, my solo art show, have writing in them.  I get to play, moving between my two loves, marrying them in ways that push me to further inspiration beyond the drawing I am creating.  Seeing on the paper before me how my mind connects ideas and information, the leaps it takes, surprising and delighting me.  Learning how I balance image with word, each playing off the other and suggesting something more than 1 plus 1 equals 2.  More like 2 squared or 2 cubed.

Drawing feeds my writing.  Writing feeds my drawing.  There are some feelings and knowings that I can only express through images, and others that need words to bring them alive.  I am blessed to be Artist and Writer, and to be in love with both.

The drawing heading today’s post is brand new, created yesterday in the Station House Gallery studio.  ‘What Gives Me Joy Nov. 3 2016 (stars)’.  Inspired by a birthday tea with another artist-writer-friend.  (Thank you Lynn!)  Drawing number one, with seventeen more to follow throughout November.  I am heading over to the gallery thirty minutes from now, to begin drawing number two.

Thank you thank you thank you that I get to be Artist AND Writer.

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The Joy Diary is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/