12 July, 2009

finding your art

ok, so, growing up, i was what everyone expected me to be. i played the piano, i was a cheerleader, honor student, homecoming court, social and academic clubs, blah, blah, blah, blah... buhooring.

the only things that were encouraged when i was growing up were the good grades and the fitting in. being all you were expected to be (but no more). i can’t say that it was altogether a bad thing. i mean, my parents did their level best, and all in all, they did pretty good. i find myself wishing more and more that they had done a little more encouraging in the area of art, of creativity.

i take that back...i wrote a lot when i was younger, so much so that i met with writing groups consisting of locally published authors, seminars where i was the youngest by 20 years. the one creative burst of encouragement i received from the parentals was a trip to a writing summer camp at Duke University. my world began expanding there, i mean really opening up. i met kids from all over the country, from all different backgrounds, and all could do magick with the written word. our instructors were college professors from Duke, and it was two weeks of classes on how to write in every genre, every form. and after ‘class’, we lived in the dorms, as students. to my tender eyes and ears, it was downright bohemian.

it was freedom, it was expression. i befriended people that the ‘then’ me wouldn’t have dared be friends with at home. i learned about the beauty of art, and the art is in your soul. never having any formal art training, or any classes or instruction at all, i had some pretty sad misconceptions about creativity. well, all creativity outside of writing. my new friends opened my eyes to the art of the soul. drawing, dancing, writing, spoken word, singing, photography.. all of it gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

fast foward 20 years. i’ve been feeling a really strong pull towards creative energies and i’ll be damned if i know what to do with them. i can write, yes. but i’m really rusty, and the fluidity of my writing just isn’t there anymore. it’s a struggle, an effort. and really, if i’m being honest... i want to paint, to draw, to sculpt. but, never having had art class 1, i’m at a loss at where to start. i think i have every basic supply known to womankind for painting and there it sits.

waiting on me to get off my ass.

i realize, as i sit staring at the paints and brushes and canvases, that i’m afraid of doing it wrong.

yes.. yes, you’re right. you can’t really do art wrong. especially when it’s personal.

but what if i’m the one person in the history of humanity to do it wrong? trust me, if there was one person, it’d be me.

i have to get over the fact that my art might suck to high heaven, to everyone but me. but in this scenario, i’m the only one that matters. it is my expression, it is my release, no one else’s. and even if i think it sucks, it’s mine to let it suck and i can trash it if i want to and not feel guilty.

i’m very good friends with my tattoo artist, tom. i was with him last night, working on a new tattoo of mine, and i was watching him work, watching all of the artists there in the shop work, and the grace of their movements. the sheer audacity and confidence of their movement and knowledge and skill was breathtaking.

they create art.

_Media_Card_BlackBerry_pictures_IMG00518.jpg (the black and gray is new)

i feel that creative energy in my soul, in my physical gut, but i don’t know how to get it all out. to make it a reality, to give it voice and life. to breath it into being onto canvas.

put simply, i don’t know how to start. i’ve spent so many years repressing that spirit, that i now don’t know how to release it.

i’m sitting in my breakfast area. well, that’s the purpose for which it was intended. since moving into this house, it’s really only been used as a dumping ground for backpacks and shoes and purses and a landing pad for my recycling center. two days ago, i started cleaning it out and cleaning it up. i’ve decided that it will be a studio, of sorts. a place to explore my creative energies and see if can’t figure out how to get this frenetic energy that’s building up inside of me, out!

a dear friend advised me to be still, and listen, and that the energy that i’ve been incubating will come. she said i would eventually have to ‘get off the egg’. indeed.

so, i’m going to finish this space.

and then i’m going to be still within it, listening for the quiet, small space full of densely packed love to open up. i’m going to play the music loudly and dance, and i’m going to play the music loudly and be very, very still, letting the melody and the rhythm wash over me, filling every nook and cranny of my soul, awakening it.

i’m going to listen to the flowers in my soul, not the snakes in my head, and i’m going to dance to the beat of my own drum. i’m going to try and reclaim the exuburant feeling of my youth at writing camp and direct that energy towards the liberation i know i’ll get from the canvas. i’ll invoke the muses to descend and if they see fit, to grant me release.

the soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.

~emily dickinson

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