The artist is in the ether–waiting, just like we were a twinkle in our mother’s eye once. It takes inspiration and action to be born. If you want to be an artist, you feel it in the ether.
I looked up the word “ether,” and the literary meaning is: the clear sky; the upper regions of air beyond the clouds.
I really liked that description. As souls we dwell there and then feelings, thoughts, actions take place and we appear in this 3D world wondering what the hell we’re doing here.
How many people go through life wondering that? I bet it’s around 100%.
At one point, I’m not sure exactly when, something tugged at me. It wasn’t a hard tug, or a determined push, or a revelation. It was more of a longing to explore SOMETHING, maybe myself.
I started reading fiction as soon as I could read and became immersed in the world of books, the great imagination of the authors’ made up scenarios. My mom used to say I had a wild imagination, and she would look at me strangely as if I was not like “others.” But that was not true. I always made sure I fit in with the crowd, for the most part.
I always liked to draw and color and that has grown into an immense “calling” if you will. It’s how I record the energy of my life. I say energy because it’s more than depiction of 3D events and things.
I write about my life, but not with great trepidation. Writing flows easily without fanfare. When I paint, I’m always (every single time) faced with the immensity of starting.
It’s hard to explain, but after years of facing that feelings, I always boldly step forward with some paint and slap it on the canvas, and go from there. To start becomes easier with experience.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess if the painting is going to be something that speaks to me, or not… It happens more often than not that I paint over old paintings.
That is how an artist comes into being. Each day is new. I reach into the ether to create myself every day on canvas or other art methods. When it flows it flows, and when it doesn’t I curse the universe for being such a stingy muse.
An artist is not born per se, an artist is born and born again through manipulating the ether. That is how I feel when I stand in front of a canvas. Each day something will be born, either a glorious rendition of energy, or something that is beyond ugly.
But it’s all glorious!
This above painting had so many layers and started out with a super ugly face underneath it all, and when all was said and done it turned out to an imagined Jane Austen. Go figure!
That is art. Pulling the rabbit out of a hat, or a piece of art from the ether is magic. A grand adventure indeed. What is the ether calling you to do?
P.S. I have a free 2017 art journaling journey going with monthly prompts from various artists. If you want to be involved you can sign up for the prompts HERE.
Perfectionism kills creativity and how do you change in the direction of deeper creativity?
Do you compare yourself to the perfection of nature? What do you compare yourself to?
As an artist, perfectionism stifles all expression. Maybe it’s ok in the very last layer of a realistic painting, but I don’t know since I don’t paint realism. I have suffered from perfectionism from time to time. It shows up as:
That didn’t turn out very good
Is this any good?
I can never get it right
Those statements might not seem like an angle of perfectionism, but when we doubt what we made we have a picture of what it SHOULD look like, and it’s never good enough. It comes down to comparison to some kind of ideal or living up to someone else’s expectations.
Maybe someone’s voice is running a commentary in your head?
Maybe our parents expected us to be perfect in every way. What does that have to do with art? It has everything to do with whatever task you attempt, be it art, writing, speaking, teaching, accounting. Basically, in every area of life. The way we look, the way we work.
How do you escape this tyranny of perfectionism?
First, you have to realize it’s present, and a pain in the ass. Not everyone notices or perfectionism is so embedded in the “norm” that it’s inconceivable to change.
As an artist, it’s important to let loose and try something completely different from your current mode of expression.
Become three years old again. Slap some paint on a poster board.
Make ugly abstract art. Muddy the colors. Paint big.
Use tools you don’t normally use.
As you explore this, something inside has to give. The perfectionist will raise a big stink, but allow it to and paint anyway. Just go nuts!
Do this with everything. Don’t mop the floor every day even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t pick up the clothes. Don’t obsessively clean the kitchen counter. Let some dishes sit around in the sink.
Allow the inner wisdom to show you that life won’t fall apart if you get a bit “sloppy.”
It is a challenge, but to truly change, you have to face the discomfort and get to the other side.
To become a life artist we have to face the difficult things that hold us back.
Paint anyway. Show up, be daring.
Allow the emotions to flow. There might be rage under the perfectionism, but rage is good fuel for art! 🙂
Then, underneath the rage there might be other stuffed emotions. And then there is peace. And it’s ok if there are dishes in the sink for the time being. Expressing your creativity is more important.
Maybe you pick up a new style… YOUR style.
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Begin now, it’s never too late. Think of Grandma Moses who had a successful art career late in life, starting in her seventies. She died at 101 years of age, and painted 1,500 paintings or so.
I think it’s all about a positive attitude. She decided to try something new. Maybe she had always wanted to make art, but never had a chance until she “retired.” However, she made up for it in her productivity. She was open to see where the path would lead her, and I admire that pioneering spirit. She was called a naive painter but if you look at the intricacies, there was nothing simple about her art other than the very direct expression of what she saw or had seen.
She did not worry too much about style or perspective. That is the pioneering spirit. She just began where she was and continued from there, never stopping.
To accomplish any dream, be it painting every day, or some other dream, start where you are NOW. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets, only exploration via doing.
Think of all the various styles art has gone through. Don’t you think the world thought Picasso was crazy when he started his “deconstructed people” Cubist style? He was a trail blazer. I don’t know if he ever doubted himself, but if he did, he didn’t let it stop him.
So, mindset is so important. If we don’t dare to make changes, or take some risks, we remain in place, stagnant. In the long run, nothing is more boring than the status quo.
What is your dream? What can you do today to start something new? Not just New Year’s resolutions, but something that resonates in your heart. You know, THAT thing.
Take one small step, and then another, and another. Before you know it, you’re deep into the bliss of doing what you always wanted to do.
Don’t know what you want? Start with your most vivid idea. Once you start somewhere, clarity will stroll in. Change directions, nothing and no one is holding you back, except yourself.
Convention holds us back, but that is the trap of other people’s opinions that shaped your own. You are free to explore!
Have a great weekend.
If you didn’t join my FREE year long art journaling exploration you can join HERE NOW. There is a great artist / teacher line up and a very active FB group.
Do what you love is a concept that is tossed around all the time on social media these days.
I agree with the concept but it becomes a thought form for the busy mind, not something that actually sinks in. I make these inspirational wall plaques that say “follow your heart.” I do mean it, but what does it actually mean?
I was at an event at a bookstore recently where I have some art hanging on display. I watched the people wandering around the walls, looking. There were those who threw a cursory glance at my art, and there were those who stopped at every painting and took in every detail. I’d say they liked my art, or they tried to figure out the technique.
I have followed my urge to paint for a long time, and what appears on the canvas today is something I have developed over the years, and maybe there is more “heart” in my art than there was. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m on a journey that never stops as long as I can paint.
My art will never stop developing, so if one of those people at the event would have approached me with questions, like “what inspires you”? I would have answered “many things.” There is no one thing in particular.
What they actually see is my DOING over the years, with no particular goal in mind.
I think the painter Paul Cezanne might be the father of abstract art when he discovered he could paint the loose rendition (or energy) of the landscape he was looking at. Discovering that took many years of DOING.
The issue was not to create a strong brand of Paul Cezanne, but the journey that led to his discovery of abstract ideas. Like most painters he probably took classes and experimented endlessly with color and form. His art became his brand, but I’m sure he would have resisted the word.
Why lock oneself into a box of “this-is-who-I-am” and I will be this for the rest of my life. Life is an evolving journey of many “follow my hearts.”
The problem is: most people like to dream but not DO. It’s in the doing that all is revealed!!
You can’t put heart in a box or on a wall plaque and hope it will transform someone, but my intention is to inspire. Still, the journey is mine.
Every day is a day of DOING or not… your choice. By trusting, by taking action and not sitting on the sidelines you will in fact be led by the heart.
P.S. I have lots of art for sale in my etsy shop Greene Earth Originals: HERE.
Treacherous comfort zone is something I try to avoid at all cost. I’m not always successful and it’s easy to sink down into my new recliner and read a book when I need to be more productive. (Picture is a stock photo. 🙂
I actually fight that urge every day, but I know what needs to be done, so I have a choice of following my lazy side or the side that really wants to accomplish something useful for me and others.
Useful as in art inspiration. Sometimes it’s hard to be inspired and produce art, but to break that lazy habit you have to show up at the easel or art journal. Once that resistance is broken, I can then face the resistance of the art itself. Nothing but hurdles, haha.
The art resistance is harder to break than the habit of what to do with my time. I usually force myself over that hurdle and things open up.
There is a third resistance and that is to try some different art modality. If painting faces was my thing I might try landscapes. That resistance might be stronger than anything. That’s why you see artists painting the same thing over and over because it’s safe, tried and true. Not that the art lacks merit, but you get in a groove and staying there is more comfortable than taking a risk.
That’s maybe why people paint photographic perfection instead of doing risky forays into the loose and undefined. Technique is safe.
I watched a documentary yesterday, Sky Ladder, on Netflix about this famous Chinese artist Cai Guo-Quing. He uses fireworks to create his huge pieces of art, and he also designs massive firework displays (opening of Olympic Games.)
It was wonderful to follow his creative process which is on a huge scale. His art is subtle but right in your face, and I was mesmerized and also mortified at my own small thinking. I highly recommend the documentary to all artists as an inspiration to stretch boundaries.
Life really is about stretching boundaries and trying new things. So what if it fails? It’s just another step in the exploration called life.
It’s important to have a balanced inner life, but also so important to do the “right thing,” it being the work that fires you up.
Right now I feel that I’m at a crossroads. Either I break through to the next creative level or I make deeper grooves in the rut that I have dug in the past. Life is constant evolution. (Or painful boredom.)
Standing still equals staleness.
To live a creative life is to be dynamic and open to the possibilities as they happen. I saw those in the eyes of that Chinese artist. He’s is fluid, open, present, and seeing the biggest opportunities for risky expansion.
He spoke to my heart.
I also saw lots of bravery and a conviction that it’s only possible to move forward. No choice really.
So I come back to the choices we make every day, whatever work we do.
Yes to being proactive.
Yes to expansion and greater things.
Yes to creative risks.
Yes to LIFE, not habits or ruts.
What is the risk you need to take today?
I cheer you on from my studio, not my recliner….
P.S. I have lots of art for sale in my etsy shop. Christmas is coming… There is a price range for everyone. CLICK HERE.
Doormat syndrome, have you suffered from that as a woman (or man?)
I have at times. I had two relationships that were “their way or no way.” I’d say it’s common to submit to others to keep the peace.
For a time, anyone was welcome to step on me and make me do their bidding, cause it was “nice” to help others, no matter what.
Yesterday, I had two conversations with women having trouble standing up for themselves, as if saying “no” is not nice or not supportive. We as women are raised to be supportive and submissive. I say, to heck with that!!!
There is a limit to what is expected of us. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! If you don’t WANT to do something, don’t do it. If someone is clingy, hogs your time, drains your energy, just excuse yourself and remove yourself from that person. Know your limits! That is SELF RESPECT. You have the right to stand in your power, always.
Someone might snigger at those words, but the longer we stay in a submissive stance to others, the less we can pursue our dreams because someone will always step on them. That is part of the scenario of being a doormat. Make better choices.
It’s okay to be your own person.
It’s okay to have dreams.
It’s okay to be an artist if you want to.
It’s okay to make others mad if you are protecting what you know is right for you.
It’s okay to have time for yourself.
It’s okay to be a role model for strength.
I have lost friends over that last statement, and I don’t have to be RIGHT, but I can choose what works in my life and ditch the rest.
So many women I know put everyone else’s dreams and desires before their own. When are you going to realize your own strengths if you deny your power as a person? Say you fall down dead and realize you did nothing to pursue what fired up your soul. That would totally suck in my opinion.
To be an artist matters. Your voice matters, your art matters. Your expression in the world is very important so if you have something to say or paint, do it. As they say, life is short.
The greatest excuse I hear is: I have to be there for my children. Yes, of course you do, but you also have a responsibility to yourself.
Make your children badass and confident as you grow yourself stronger.
Allow yourself to choose YOU. Your children will learn from you. Do you want them to become doormats? I didn’t think so.
Maybe you wonder why I post many motivational posts instead of artist stuff? Being an artist requires becoming the whole you. I’m working on that, and my art expression is a journey that changes all the time. Art has helped me to be strong. So maybe it’s better to inspire people to be strong than add a bunch of art how-tos. I decided I can do both. 🙂
So can you! Dive in and be the GREAT You now. If people stand in your way, you deserve better. Work around them or get rid of them.
You are enough!
With lots of love,
P.S. Sidebar note. I have a sale going on for my art journal how-to e-course. ONLY $15 until October 26. CLICK THIS LINK. Create something today! Get involved.