I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately, back to a time, not too long ago, when it was just me, a Moleskine sketchbook, one mechanical pencil and a technical pen. Such simpler moments. A little something I would like to get back to.
My brain has been fried as of late with all that is going on in the world right now. Unable to keep up or keep the chaos in my head straight. I find myself “disconnecting” more. People come to me and say “Did you hear about…” “Have you read about…” “Girl, did you see on…” And I almost feel embarrassed to say “No, I haven’t.” There’s only some much I can attend to. There are only so many things I can give my energy to before I burn out or sink into a depression. It’s difficult to keep creativity flowing with so much turmoil and outrage.
…so I unplug and try to cultivate moments of simplicity and peace before the chaos consumes me.
I’ve realized that my recent desire to return to doing some works in just black ink is my creative spirit expressing this longing for simplicity. I’m gonna just flow with that for a while.
We are always trying to be somebody.
Trying to get somewhere.
Trying to do something.
We exhaust ourselves trying to accomplish things that we think will make ourselves feel important and significant even though we will never be more important to others than we are to ourselves.
It takes courage to be nobody.
To go nowhere.
To do nothing.
To settle into the quiet peace of not trying to fabricate our lives in order to win approval, prestige and status according to the opinions of others. To quietly go about our days taking care of our basic needs and doing things that we simply enjoy with no fanfare, pomp or show.
There’s a freedom and treasure in being nobody; being free from the confines of other people’s expectations and the contentment that is discovered from living a simple life in the comfort of our true being.
“There is no greater calamity than not finding contentment with one’s own sufficiency. There is no greater mistake than to be covetous. When one is content within one’s own nature, one will always have enough.” ~ Daodejing, Chp. 46
…just some thoughts that came to me while tending to the garden this morning. 😊
Looking at the work of others can be very inspiring. But sometimes it can be discouraging too. You can’t help but think about your own work and do that very thing that you shouldn’t do; compare yourself. I work on paper. Often small pieces but nothing larger than an 8×10 drawing on smooth Bristol board. Everybody else it seems work on these epic size canvases or drawing sheets. Which leave me wondering, is it really all about size? Is that what makes a work of art more impressive than others? The sheer magnitude of it?
…when things fall through. But often times that’s what I immediately feel. When I step back, way back, in order to get some clarity, I realize it’s no direct fault of my own but at first, it’s easy to start beating up on myself. As an artist these internal beatings have a lot to do with getting buyers for my work and doing commissions. I’ll go into a tizzy and start wondering what did I do wrong when things don’t work out? Maybe my work isn’t good enough. Maybe I didn’t speak the right words. Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough. Maybe I’m not thinking positively enough or vibrating at the right frequency enough. These thoughts get me all in a knot of anxiety and confusion that sometimes I end up spending way too much time search my personal library for the correct formula to get myself right with the universe than I do in crafting my art. The truth is, which I often have to remind myself of, there are things that will always be out of my hands. I only have control over my own thoughts and actions.
As an artist you are going to run into people who will commission you to do work and then change their minds. You are going to run into people who you will do freelance work for who won’t pay you. You are going to run into people who will get your hopes up and go through all the motions of acting like they are going to buy some of your work but won’t follow through. You may run into a lot of people like this or just a few but none the less you will run into them. This is just the way it is. It doesn’t matter how prayed up you are, how positively you think, how long you sit in mediation, how many candles you light or how many incantations you speak. You will encounter such individuals along the road to your success. Don’t let them trip you up and doubt your aspirations. Keep moving forward because no one is going to care about your dreams, your goals or your craft as much as you or take it as seriously as much as you. So don’t build the worth of your dream upon the words and actions of others. Keep believing in yourself and your vision. Devote yourself to it by all means. As you keep going more opportunities will come. You will meet more people who will actually buy your work, follow through with that commission or give you that amazing gig. All of the let downs are just a part of the journey or as a former love once said to me “You gotta go through the shit to get to the sugar.”.
Your main focus and responsible is creating the best possible work that you can create according to your vision and putting it out there into the world as much as possible. The rest is out of your hands.
Stumbled across an unopened bottle of India ink, two brand new sketchbooks and a package of unused pens, hidden away at the bottom of my bookshelf. Slightly dusty, they lie in wait for enthusiasm to take over me and break them in. I’ve long forgotten what I bought them for but I suspect that they were obtained during one of my “dances of avoidance”. That’s what I call it whenever I feel anxious about creating art but instead of pulling out the drawing paper and pens that I already have at my disposal, I go to the art supply store and buy new stuff or read some inspirational literature on art. It’s a wonderful trick I play on myself. Instead of putting my energy into actually creating art, I do anything that gives me the impression that I’ve done something art related so that I can at least feel like I’m being an artist. I tell myself “I need the inspiration.” or “I need the supplies.” but really I just need to draw. Not that supplies and inspiration aren’t needed but the funny thing about inspiration is that it often comes when you’re doing your thing not when you’re sitting around waiting on it.
So it’s a peculiar game of procrastination, illusion and avoidance I play, a game that sometimes I can get stuck in until I remember something I once read about writers. There are two kinds of writers, the first kind reads books on writing, takes writing classes, does writing exercises, goes to writing seminars, collects books of their favorite authors and takes every chance to go to their book signings and that’s the extent of it. The second kind just sits down and writes. The first writer is actually more caught up in being a “writer” than actually writing. This is the illusion. Anybody can say that they’re a writer and do all of the things that can give a person the appearance of being a writer but the real proof is in the work and the working. This too can be applied to artists. It is to this that I am reminded to sit down and focus on creating art rather than doing things that give me the feeling that I’m being an artist. One’s passion for creating art needs to be stronger than one’s romanticized ideas of being an artist. 🙏😌