The whirlwind is over. The boys are settled in their college dorms and we’re getting back into the routine of high school. Carpool is working well and the dogs have figured out how to live with our new schedule without destroying too much furniture…or carpet…or walls… Okay, so some of it’s not over, but mostly the dust has settled and it’s time for work.
My new work! Now, what does that look like? Can I spend four hours working on one painting? How much time should I allow for buying supplies? Should I be available to my family during the day even though I’m working? How do I limit my research time compared to my studio time?
I suspect these are typical questions and I’m learning the answers as I go. Sometimes I find answers while listening to my ever-expanding podcast library and sometimes they come when I sit with my art journal long enough. Sometimes they come through the movement of the paint and the words that still surprise me when they show up on the page. Other times a friend says something profound that resonates with me.
I had one of those moments recently. During a Zoom call one of my good friends, Eleni, mentioned that she is more comfortable with “I love what I love.” She’s mentioned this before, but I wasn’t hearing the kernel of truth that was in that statement waiting for me until this week.
My daily art practice has ramped up again after a summer break. I’ve been transforming a book that has significant meaning in my life into an art journal. I’m taking something that was negative and covering the pages with art and new words to turn it into a positive. It’s become a symbol of my progression into a full-time artist and creative entrepreneur.
Working on these pages has been exhilarating! I love the way the acrylic paint smells, I love the way the finished pages feel when they’re dry and the way the gel pens feel as they glide over the nooks and crannies of the painted pages. I especially like the way some of the ink starts out dark and slowly lightens as it dries to reveal my thoughts. It reminds me of the secret notes my sisters and I wrote to each other with lemon juice when we were kids.
The words are mostly private and there’s plenty of “junky junk” as Connie Solera would say. But the joy of creating is strong! It’s a combination of being in the artistic zone and being a mad scientist all wrapped up with paint stained fingers.
Basically, I’ve realized that over the past year I’ve been afraid to “love what I love” when it comes to creating art. I like to play with pens. I like to explore different surfaces and experiment with books – both handmade and altered. Can you say mixed media artist? This time when Eleni made that statement, I heard it. Deep in my bones. It rested softly and solidly into my being. Yes! I love what I love. I love to see what happens when…to gather bits and pieces of different mediums and see how they work together…and that’s okay!