Pondering authenticity is what I did this morning, and yesterday too, as I worked in my art journal. There is the eternal question of “who are you?” Besides a spark of the Divine that we all share, what is truly important in my life?
The answer is easy: to grow my soul. It has nothing to do with art, but I’m using that as a medium. It’s about becoming more, to expand, to learn, to deepen.
Lately, I’ve been feeling empty, Inspiration has been far away. Not even a promise of cookies and ice cream has brought back the muse.
To some extent, I have felt uncomfortable with the art I have been making. There is a very fine line between copying and authenticity.
What with so many e-courses and workshops offered about intuitive art, which is my main art interest, I find that you’re prone follow the “ways” of the teacher, and you learn to let go of the restraint of conventional art beliefs. This is all great and all the courses serve a purpose.
But what if you feel stymied even with these free-flowing ways?
I have tried it all, and always come back to myself, feeling there is a piece missing.
I’m left with myself and my feelings of inadequacy. If I truly follow my art moment to moment, the pieces won’t be popular or get many likes on Instagram. This is a fact. I have delved into my art making this way, and then felt I could do better. It’s the ego that wants recognition and praise for the “beauty” of the art.
That is not authenticity. It’s sooo easy to fall into styles, be it spiritual art or abstracts or avant-guard non styles.
If I allow my art to develop, one paint stroke at a time, I come up with these blocky paintings.
These paintings tell a story. They are not pretty, but I sense myself in them more than in any other kind of art. Here is an example of another painting that I then painted over because it wasn’t worthy. (Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.)
The painting then turned into this:
So much prettier, right?
I suggest we are slaves to styles, trends, and what is considered beautiful by the majority. i know because I’ve tried to cater to the crowds by making my art pretty and acceptable.
I do have many paintings where I have followed the brush strokes, and they haven’t sold, for the most part. Here are a couple of old paintings that I still have on my wall.
I painted “Moon Goddess” in 2009. I find that my truly intuitive leaning has a hint of the indigenous art you see in many cultures.
My art journal spreads reminds ME of something indigenous in Mexico of old. It’s more of a feeling than a fact.
Below is the process of a painting, “Balance,” that I painted in 2008. It’s one of my favorite paintings and now it’s hanging over my bed. I had it for sale for years, but no takers.
My friends say they can see me in all of my art, which is probably true, but to me it’s about exploration.
So authenticity is not really a noun, it’s a verb that means DOING, or taking action. Only through action can we evolve. Authenticity is something strange and wondrous that you explore, not in your mind, but with your hands and heart.
Authenticity only deepens as we dare to go down the road of “not pretty” or sales-worthy. The good thing about art journaling you don’t aim to sell any of it. That takes the pressure off.
Authenticity can’t be explained, only experienced. You can’t really ponder it, but it’s there to be felt.
Whatever the online gurus fling around the internet as in “be your authentic self” is not practical to the individual. You can follow their lead, but it’s ultimately your inner exploration / prompt that is valid to you. Other artists’ ways will put a restraint on your soul.
However, any art making is good as it moves you forward. 🙂 Just do it any way you can!
Want more inspiration? Check out this post: Trusting The Unknown.
Looking for a gift? I have items for sale in my etsy shop: Earth and Faery.
Have a great weekend!
7 thoughts on “Pondering authenticity”
H i Maria, I just finished reading your thoughts on being authentic. I must tell you that your dissertations are wonderful. Besides being a very creatuve artist, you are really good at expressing yourself in writing. I feel that you share your heart and I can always relate to your thoughts. You have a gift for me each time I read your lessons & listen closely to your words of wisdom. Thank you so much. Margie Maddock
Thank you so much, Margie! I used to be a fulltime write in “another” life so writing is a good expression for me. It’s in my blood. I’m really happy that I can inspire and that you cared to leave feedback. Thanks again. 🙂
I really love those blocky paintings Maria!
Thank you, Tracy! I tend to be my harshest judge. 🙂
Maria, Thank you for your openness, your vulnerability, your rawness. I hardly ever show my art to anyone, even my spouse of 31 years, because it is “ugly…not good enough, etc. I “clean it up” or something like that…make it more “pretty”, as you said, which usually means coloring a preprinted image, a mandala often. And I love those and they are calming and wonderful!! And I do find great enjoyment in following “recipes” I find online for different techmiques. It TRULY helps me grow the language of art somehow….for me, art expression, whatever the type, is learning a new language which opens such a vast space inside me I did not know was there! And my finished project is surely not perfect, but it is perfectly me……the process grows my interior in ways I can’t explain. But I do not have to make a living with my art work! Whatever you create, Maria, that is for sale to us public folk, well it evokes something in me. It may not always feel authentically you to you…..but it evokes the authentic in me. So thank you. And your piece that is above your bed…..Balance…..it is amazing. I actually felt things shifting in my heart and head…physical sensations truly.
Thank you for your daring to be you. Breathe in that current arid space and pause…rest…be…
Or not! Perhaps I am talking outloud to both of us 😊
That is so beautifully written, Terry!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You inspire me.:) I think whatever way we can do art and delve into the process (which is infinite) we learn more about ourselves and our soul. It’s not about pretty, but about exploration of something deeper, but pretty is okay too.
I love your paintings Maria.
What is style anyway? We tend to categorize, group and name things. We do this because it is easier, perhaps. It is a form of control. We like to “relate” to things. But soul is totally free, unlimited and full of surprises. When we let it speak without judgment and filtering, either through writing, painting, singing, simply through any form of art,, we can discover amazing things, or not so, about ourselves. In the process of creation we can either block the mind, advisor who will try to direct us towards trends, selling, crowd, popularity, or open up the heart, be authentic, and forget about the rest. So what that will not sell. We can always try…. Creation is not a production, it is an expression, it is letting, allowing your soul to speak. If your art touched only one soul, hey, that is a huge victory.!!!
What if nothing works like we think it does? What if art chooses buyers? What if art does not want to go away from us? Maybe we just need to relax, and do and create and let the art figure things out.
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