home truths

I found myself doing much more reading on my ‘art holiday’ than I had imagined, as I got a terrible cold which confined me to bed for most of the week. At first I was irritated, even angry about this, but decided to be open-minded and spend the time reading, writing and thinking productively even if I didn’t produce much work. I spent a fair bit of time working rather haphazardly and sketchily through The Artist’s Way*, which although definitely qualifying as navel-gazing of the highest order, did prove to be quite illuminating and helped me make sense of some of the thoughts spinning round my head. I was particularly inspired by the exercises to identify your creative dreams and aspirations. In between sniffing and sneezing and eating too many Easter eggs, I learnt/admitted/discovered these things about myself:

  • I would like to paint large canvasses
  • My most cheer-me-up music is trad jazz
  • I’d like to learn printmaking
  • I worry a lot about wasting time
  • I’d love to dye my hair very blonde
  • In another life I’d be a singer in a band or a window dresser for Anthropologie
  • I wish I was braver
  • I’d like to own red shoes, more silver bangles and an easel
  • When I was a child I wanted to be a ballet teacher
  • I am getting better at believing in myself

What I need to do as a matter of urgency is carve out regular, uninterrupted time for myself to paint and draw. How I do this I am not yet sure... what I do know is that, perversely, it is something inside me that stops this happening just as much as external events. I need to stop fighting myself.

*The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

24 comments:

Pomona said...

I think sometimes it is fear of failure that gets in the way - but it is important to set aside some time, a fixed time if necessary, and then set yourself small, easily achievable targets. I did this a lot when I was writing my thesis, and permanently struggled with finding time, displacement activity, and worrying that I would not be able to pull it off!

Pomona x

Bethany Hissong said...

I feel the same exact way! I find so many things that seem "more important" at the moment to do than to make myself sit down at my drawing table and draw! I read that book years ago and I really need to pull it out again. I think action is the main difference between people who become what they want and people who just dream of what they want.

sweetmyrtle said...

taking a little time to notice our dreams is essential, figuring out how to progress & realise is the hard bit. i have decided to let the act of process be paramount and to slowly and gently 'allow' myself to immerse in the things i love to do but with no great expectations or perceived outcomes. i love dipping into seeing your journey here, you are very talented and i am excited to see where this leads you... you will find a way i am certain. have you visualised these dreams too, like on a vision board? this may help you keep the focus to spend time on your own creative self development if your dreams are pinned somewhere you see everyday?
warmest wishes
Ginny x
p.s. i dream of painting large canvases too

alice c said...

This speaks to me. Recently, I have found it more, not less, difficult to give myself permission to write. I wish I could explain this.

Hollace said...

The red shoes part is easy. They may break the ice for your second thriller.

I think I'll go get the book, although navel-gazing is not what I need; I need some of that Nike spirit of "JUST DO IT!"

Sorry about your vacation cold. Not fair!

Gina said...

I share and can identify with so many of the things on your list... although I do already have red shoes and they always make me feel fabulous when I wear them! My advice... get the shoes!

Karen said...

This post really spoke to me. I am the queen of procrastination - why is that because I know that I'm doing it? I would rather do nothing than fail and yet I am constantly encouraging students to take leaps of faith in my work. You may just have given me the kick up the bum to get started on spomething I have been putting off! x

Jane said...

I know what you mean about something inside stopping you doing things - I think I've got so much into the habit of 'not having time', 'not worth starting as I shan't be able to finish' etc. I keep thinking about how it was when I was a teenager and I just drew and painted when I liked and no-one questioned. I just can't seem to find that feeling of freedom.

A time to dance said...

When you are better buy some red shoes - I just did and they make me very happy...I would have a couple of your items on my list too...hope you are feeling better...H

Tart said...

red shoes is a good place to start (though in my case that led, over a couple of years, to lime green ones and then purple....be warned!)
This business of not giving yourself time to experiment and permission to fail is pretty universal. Your blog is giving so many of us so much pleasure as we dip into your artistic journey - and that really is the crux of it - it's a journey so just keep exploring along the way. Thank you for sharing.

Sue said...

Loving to read all your comments so far - thanks so much - all very encouraging. Special thanks to those with no email addresses to whom I can't reply personally.

Diane said...

What an honest post. I don't know how you can "change your ways" - its something that my hubby battles with too - glass half empty, own worst enemy kind of a bloke! I know that my "Just Do it" attitude doesn't help him at all. Perhaps if you dyed your hair, and strutted in red shoes, you may become the person who allows herself to "do". I hope so. x

claire said...

Such an inspiring and honest post. It resonated with me because I've been on the same pathway as you are now. Trust that it will all emerge when you are really ready :) Claire

rossichka said...

Dear Sue, there's always some kind of suprise and discovery for me in your blog. I think you've spent your time in the best way, having in mind the circumstances. Maybe there's nothing "par hazard"! Reading your list of dreams (hidden, secret and unsuspected), I'm wondering what desires hide deep inside me, too. I'm going to learn that, I have to!:) Thanks for letting us step into your intimate world...xx

Heloise said...

Interesting and honest post. Hope that you get to buy, do a lot of the things on your list.
Hope you are feeling better.

Heloise said...
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Heloise said...
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Gilly said...

I wonder where you got that love of trad jazz from..... ;)

kate fern said...

Oh! I've just been working through the artists way, and painting big canvases was one of mine too!! Hope you're feeling better.
Best wishes
Kate

nelleke said...

Hi Sue, now I understand why you did not post more pieces from your art-holiday: You were ill, pour you, although now you had time to think about yourself and sometimes that's not bad at all...

Years ago I've read the Artistway. It helped me further. And red shoes are at the top of my list too :-)

Susan Heather said...

Great post - I must admit to "not getting around to doing various projects" and it is not always the lack of time.

Go get those red shoes and blond hair. Coincidentally, after taking my husband into the wonderful Alzheimer's Club this morning I browsed the shops and ended up with a pair of RED Doc Marten's knee length boots. I very rarely shop for myself.

Feel better for doing it.

mmp said...

i love that book!
owned two copies, goodness knows where either is now though

like you, i couldn't quite work how to do ...what i wanted to...once I'd identified it all....


i'm still trying ;)

i guess obtaining red shoes and silver bangles might be easier than some of the other things though?

where would we put our easels though? i remember thnkng that mine would have to go in a nearby lock up ( which i couldn't afford anyway!)

i hope you do some of your stuff: somehow, somewhere

mmp said...

i love that book!
owned two copies, goodness knows where either is now though

like you, i couldn't quite work how to do ...what i wanted to...once I'd identified it all....


i'm still trying ;)

i guess obtaining red shoes and silver bangles might be easier than some of the other things though?

where would we put our easels though? i remember thnkng that mine would have to go in a nearby lock up ( which i couldn't afford anyway!)

i hope you do some of your stuff: somehow, somewhere

Andrea said...

I could list almost the same as you! We all get bogged down with life and the humdrum. I have a friend who paints wonderful huge canvases, she paints whenever she can and doesn't really do housework unless someone is about to visit. I wish I could be the same, but I can never settle to anything unless the house is straight..the inheritance of women who drummed into me that an untidy house was as sin....mine is untidy all the time but I struggle against it. However, I will over the next weeks have Monday afternoons off and have decided to do something creative with my time. After all life is short and the dust always returns!