Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Two - Recovering a Sense of Identity

This week was a bit of a write off for this project (but not entirely). We travelled over to the Mainland, and while looking after Kate is a full time job at the best of times, it just about triples when we have to travel. I was able to make time for the morning pages at some point during the day (sometimes not until just before bed late at night), but missed a couple of days altogether. I don't know how the pages are "working", but it is good for me to follow a routine, although I'm not sure it'll be a routine I'll want to continue. But we'll see after twelve weeks of doing them! Another artist acquaintance admitted that she also had a bit of difficulty working the three written pages, so she turned her morning pages into three drawing pages, which I thought was a great idea. But I do understand the value of spewing out your thoughts in longhand. Maybe a combination ... we'll see.

I found that the first week I had ideas pouring out of me, but this week not so much. I am surprised to find that I'm not really writing anything about historical influences (positive and negative) in the morning pages yet, but I suppose that might change, although I have been examining that with some of the exercises. I thought I'd be venting a lot more, but I don't find that I need to most days. That doesn't mean that I don't vent at all though!

I had picked a couple of things from a list of twenty that I enjoy doing, and I didn't really get around to doing either during the official week. Was this self-sabotage to pick two things that wouldn't travel well? Possibly. I did get to one of them (crocheting) finally when we got home yesterday, and I'd like to try the second (playing the mandolin) today, although I'm not sure if my injured thumb will put up with it for long, but I'll certainly try.

I managed to make it to my artist's date this week! I actually made two for myself: I got a manicure and I took time to go yarn shopping so that I could make a blanket for Kate's bed when it gets transformed into a double (she's got plenty of crib-sized quilts and blankies from friends and family).

So I'd mentioned last week about skepticism towards recognizing opportunities appearing just because you're opening yourself up to them. Well, let me tell you my story of opportunity and I'll let you decide for yourself. As I'd mentioned, Luanne Rice, an author in New York, contacted me about using one of my images to illustrate a blog post of hers. We began quite the email dialogue, and then exchanged examples of each others' work - she sent me two books, and I sent her two prints. She was thrilled with my prints and took them to a framer in Chelsea, who commented positively about my work. She also discussed my work with a friend of hers who had designed her snowy owl logo. As a result, he contacted me and purchased a couple of prints. Then last week, Luanne contacted me again and purchased three of my prints (one of which was framed)!

Thank you to those who've participated with me in this process. It's wonderful to be able to share my efforts with you, and to have your feedback and support.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week One - Recovering a Sense of Safety

I've just started working through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, and thought I'd use my blog to post about my weekly check in. For those of you not familiar, it's basically a twelve-week workshop to nurture your inner artist-child, and to enable your creative energies. I've been whining about not being creative, being disappointed in my work, feeling far to literal in my art, blah blah blah, so my mum pulled out her copy of the book and suggested that I might like to try the workshop.

I have managed to do the morning pages and affirmations every day of the first week, although they've not happened at the time of day recommended; when I first wake up, it's because Kate wants her food, so I've got a lot to do before I can get to the exercises, and I am not waking up before I absolutely have to. Forget it; sleep is a highly precious and rare commodity in this household, I'm not going to sacrifice it for anything other than Kate right now.

I have found working through the exercises challenging. They are meant to dredge up stuff, and they certainly do. While I resent spending the time doing these exercises, I recognize that when I'm doing them, I'm doing something, rather than doing nothing, towards supporting my artistic creativity.

This week was about visiting and exploring historic influences which thwarted or encouraged our inner creative child. I found the exercise where I wrote out the creative affirmations really tough at the beginning; my inner critic was just screaming at me the whole time. As the week progressed, these became a lot easier, and my critic less noisy. As I examined each critical reply, I recognized that they're generalized, unspecific and not actually at all accurate, yet it's amazing what a strong impact they have on stopping me from creating.

From this week, I have recognized that I am allowed to have fun, and that all my efforts at creativity are valuable and to be rewarded with a positive attitude. Even if I only spend five minutes on something creative, it's a very valuable five minutes. And just because I'm not in the studio carving or printing, doesn't mean that I'm not being creative. I'm a very creative person on many levels. For example, I'm working on a computer project that I'm very excited about. While it's not printmaking directly, it's very creative and I'm loving every minute. I really enjoy learning, and it's great working through a program to figure things out.

The second week's chapter (which I've already started) examines skepticism. As in "yeah, sure, there's some 'magical' thing out there that will make stuff happen if I believe in all this clap-trap". Well, guess what? It works! More next week...