Welcome to the dark side…

Last night I gave a demo at a local shop for creatives. It was a mixed media demonstration that I have given dozens of times before.

I will be completely transparent here…It’s been a rough few weeks. There have been deaths, sickness, and heartache, and well, it’s January dipping into February in Rochester, New York. So, everything is GREY!

Interestingly enough when I was setting up, there were a couple of other artists in the room. We were talking about how important making art was for us and how vulnerable it is to do a demonstration or create in public. We talked about how that can lead to imposter syndrome and well- I then confessed that I had been struggling. I wondered if I had anything to offer the world. Was I making a difference? My fellow artists were very supportive and sort of laughed at the notion. But sometimes it is hard to see value or accomplishments when life is such a challenge.

I decided (what was I thinking?!) it would be a great idea to start with a blank canvas. I generally do not do this. It is easier to show progress if you have the basics at least started. However, I paint rather intuitively so, I felt that my spirit would take over and it would go fine.

prepared for demonstration

Welp. Paint and medium take a bit to dry. So a twenty-minute or even an hour demonstration was not going to be all that impressive. I got in my head. (surprise?) It was difficult to show real results with slow-drying media. Add that to the fact that I was carrying a lot of sadness, and well, to say I was unhappy with the results is probably an understatement.

I am old enough to know that everything has something to teach me. I can still hear my mom ask me what I was grateful for every time I complained about nearly anything. So this is what I learned…

First, I am not alone in doubting myself. Perhaps the real lesson here is to just be. Art has a way of healing. For me, it isn’t a performance it is a path, a process. That is exactly what I was there to share.

Secondly, my husband often suggests that I am “too hard on myself”. Maybe. More to the point. I think when I spin in the negative cycle I get in my own way. Art is healing and joy for me. It is part of my spiritual practice. It is a life-giving activity for me. When I get in my own way or lead with expectations that muddies the water and the pressure is too great. Perhaps if I just took a deep breath and worked through the process I was there to share, I would have been happier with the results.

Lastly, I am grateful. Last night wasn’t perfect, but it did teach me a lesson. It taught me about myself and about others. It made me realize that I am not alone in my self-doubt, I am just working on the journey like everyone else is. That said, I showed up, I shared the process, and well… I started a painting.

Be gentle with yourself… we are all in this together.

Sending so much love,

Susan

it’s a start!

On a wire

On Friday I will share an opening with my dear friend Maia Horvath. Maia is one incredible artist. She works so quickly and also seemingly without fear. When I witness her art-making particularly in her studio, she is like a keyed up hummingbird hopped up on brilliance and motivation. It is incredible to witness, a joy to participate in.

One afternoon this past November, Maia and I were brainstorming about an exhibit we could collaborate on. It was a lovely afternoon full of incredible ideas. I personally felt empowered and ready to work.

The really fun part of collaborating with Maia is that she is all in. She is clever with her use of materials, she does not hesitate to try something and then pull it apart, and she works until she feels the piece is truly wonderful, (never just good enough). I am inspired by her.

For me, this exhibit has been a challenge. While I adore the art of mixed media, I am not as adept with assemblage. For me, there has been a learning curve. I suppose that is partially what this was all about.

On a wire is about taking a risk. It is about pushing just a little. It is about taking a risk and seeing where it goes.

Now it is your turn. We have done the work. It is hung and waiting for you. I hope you will take a chance and come out to the opening, or perhaps one of the other fourteen days it will be open. I will be glad to see you!

with peace & love,

Susan