Messy Creative Process

cat-fink-what-gives-me-joy-nov-4-2016-music
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.

_________________________

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/

 

 

Random Thoughts About Good Things

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Drawing For Anna (detail)

 

Thursday, early afternoon. Warm sun and blue sky and a cool wind. Outside the window, the neighbour’s fir tree shifts, shakes, bends as each gust of wind hits it then moves on.

I am in my studio in Victoria, on the couch, sketchbook on my legs, writing. Jazz music playing. KPLU Seattle. I love this radio station. Coffee at my side. Decaf latte, to be precise.

So many good things in this life. I’ve easily named twelve in the previous two paragraphs.

I count the blessings in my life. Noticing keeps me present and grounded in my senses, my body, my heart. The best place for a writer and artist to be. Noticing is my direct connection to the world.

My drawing and writing come from noticing. Come from love and joy, from curiosity and questions. Some say that art comes from pain, the heart needing to express things that have no words. I know for sure my work comes from joy and love.

It was love that led me through the door of the art school every day for three years. It is love that leads me to the page and my blog each week. There may be pain expressed in what I create, but it is love and connection and the joy of creating that sparks me into action. All good things. All blessings.

So what blessings have I counted here today?

A day to be alive on this Earth. Warm sun. Blue sky. Cool wind.

The fir tree bending, shaking, shifting.

My studio and it’s old, comfortable, blue-and-white striped couch (an Ikea special).

Sketch book, the latest in a 20-year series.

Writing.

Jazz on KPLU (that’s 2 things).

Coffee (mmmmmm).

My body and senses and heart.

Connecting with this world.

Pain, joy, love (use everything).

Curiosity and questions.

Drawing.

Art school.

Words and my blog.

Creating, connection (again), action.

Sparks.

Yes, let me count my blessings. Gifts from the world. Thank you, World. I love you too.

Believing is seeing

Velveteen_RabbitThere is a story I read uncounted times before I was ten years old. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

I loved not only the words. I loved the drawings by William Nicholson as well. I would trace my finger along the lines of the words and images. I wasn’t consciously imagining I was writing or drawing. No. But there was something compelling, some feeling that filled me as my finger touched the shapes on the pages. Two dimensions becoming three dimensions in my imagination.

In Margery’s story, love and belief change the velveteen rabbit from stuffed toy to Real.

Isn’t this what I am doing, every time I write and draw? Love and belief becoming the words on the page and the lines in the drawing. Words becoming story. Lines becoming image. Real.

I hear people say believing is seeing. They are right.

Belief changes everything.

So does love.

When I write and draw, I can’t see the end of what I am creating. I don’t know how the story will close. I can’t see the image that will be there after I place the last mark on the paper.

Continue reading “Believing is seeing”

Permission To Shine

I Walked Land Where Sky Became My Shelter (Hermann)
I Walked Land Where Sky Became My Shelter (Hermann)

I’m in a store last Friday, standing in the cashier’s line. The place is busy and people are chatting as they wait. I’m not paying much attention to the hum. Then I hear someone close by me say something.

The nail that sticks out gets hammered.

Ouch. I’ve heard this saying before. It’s a warning. Don’t be different, don’t stand out, the words say. Stay small and quiet, in the crowd of everyone else who is staying small and quiet.

Fear. Be afraid. Hide, or you will get hurt.

Someone else’s saying. Not mine. Not any more.

I say, Be Love. Let Myself Shine.

I want to know all of the unique, loving being that is me. I want to surprise myself with the beauty I can create. If I hide I will never know these things.

Every day I give myself permission to be love, to let myself shine. Some days I’m not so shiny. I wake up afraid that who I am and what I create is not good enough to share, not good enough to exist in any visible way. I want to hide, fearful that I will be that nail that gets hammered down.

I don’t hide. Instead, I get out of bed and go into my studio. I sit down at my work table, and look around at all I have created. I let myself see and feel what I have brought into my life and then shared with the world. I touch all the things I’m in the midst of creating. I feel how much I love this process. How love becomes joy in the linking of marks to become shape, in the forming of words and sentences to become thought visible on the page.

The fear I feel vanishes in the face of all this love.

I am learning to do this, bit by bit, day by day. I am learning to give myself permission to feel love rather than fear, even when the world is telling me be afraid, don’t stick out.

I give myself permission. I choose.

Be Love. Let Myself Shine.

_____________________________

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the US!  Your friendship is such a gift!  xo

Knowing

laid to rest east detailI am six years old.  I know I am a writer and an artist.  I know I am a creator.  I translate the world into image and word.  It makes me happy, gives me joy.  I am in love with writing, drawing, the world, me.

I don’t choose it.  I just do it.  I look at the beauty of the world.  I feel it.  I write it.  I draw it.  Whatever comes to me goes onto the paper.

This is play.  Easy, fun, exciting.  New all the time.

I know who I am, my true heart.

Fifty years later.  Here.  Now.  Who am I?

I am Cat, recreating herself in her true image.

Shedding old patterns.  Shedding all the things other people told me I was and was not.  Shaking off what no longer helps me on my path.  Refusing to accept what I know is not true for me.cathy.img447 Dec 66

I am moving back in, this place, this heart, true to myself.  True to the six year old who knew without doubt.

Draw.  Write.  Play.  Love.

Pilgrim

Archangel (Sariel)
Archangel (Sariel)

I’ve been listening to Sonia Choquette on the Hay House World Summit 2015.  Sonia talks about walking the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain.  Eight hundred kilometers.  Five hundred miles.  A pilgrimage.  She carries grief on the long walk.  Deaths of a brother and father, the breaking of a long marriage, the certainty of failure in her life’s work.  She walks and forgives, walks and lets go.  Finds her way through to Santiago, balance, and home.

I am a pilgrim in my own life.  Finding my way.  The map is my heart.  I walk with my map open, certain and sure of each loving, joyful step.  I walk with my map closed, lost and aching, blind and stumbling.  Refusing to see and feel.  Refusing to take the single action that will save me—open my heart again.

Stubborn has been one of my words, and sometimes it fits me like a tailored suit of clothes.  Resistant.  Unwilling.  Yes, those too.  I’ll do it myself.  Say this quietly.  Pretend to go along with other people’s agendas, and then shift to the side and onto my own path.

Focused is the word I use now, rather than stubborn.

I need to learn things on my own.  I can be told something, but I need to test it out, experience it for myself.  See and feel all through me, the truth of something.

An example.

Continue reading “Pilgrim”