Stop muffling!

This one was fun to do -- I broke away from the instructions a bit, adding more than two collage items, and more than two marks with the charcoal. It looks a bit like a fish to me...

My gallery will be opening an online store tomorrow, so we were asked to proof what they had entered into the shop for us. I was pleased to see the curator had offered a personal statement for each of us: mine reads as follows --

"Diane's work dances on that razor's edge of recognition and illusion. Are her pieces abstractions of reality? Or realistic presentations of magic in nature and around us all?” 

... which is lovely, but I wonder if whatever new works I submit to them will be acceptable if I don't stay in that is-it-real-it-looks-like-it-could-be zone. Traditionally the ones they like are vaguely reminiscent of boats and water. Will they appreciate the charm of my new stuff, or have I moved outside their comfort zone? It would be a shame to lose that connection -- it is, after all, a big part of the reason we chose to move...

But then, my reading for this morning in Mark Nepo's Drinking from the River of Light, he says "Whatever your calling, I support you whole-heartedly in not trying to shape your hard-earned wisdom to fit a particular audience." And of course Louise Fletcher's whole course is founded on the idea that if you find your own unique and particular voice it's guaranteed to attract buyers by virtue of its originality. But would my gallery agree?

Clearly once I get settled in I will want to invite the curator to my studio to browse through my work and help me ascertain which direction I might best move in. I always have the option of ignoring his advice -- I had just hoped that by the time I got to the new place I would have some clear vision of where my art is going, and so far it just feels like I've expanded my repertoire, not defined it more clearly. 

Oh, well -- as with everything, I just have to trust that things are proceeding as they're meant to proceed, and that I'll get to where I need to be when I need to be there... In Nepo's conclusion to this particular chapter, he says the following: The commitment to never muffle the full terrain of who you are and what you see is crucial to inhabiting your own voice.

And today's mailing from Louise Fletcher further reinforces that:

The little voice telling us 'you might get this wrong' stops us from taking the risks that we need to take in our art. It makes us want to keep the little bits of the painting that we like even though we know the whole thing isn't working. It stops us from adding a different color to a piece even though we know the painting isn't working as it is. It prevents us from going larger even though that's what we want to do, or from wielding a big brush loaded with paint.

It's always there (it's the oldest part of our brains after all!) but we don't have to let it win. Here are my suggestions for beating your lizard brain:

Don't judge or criticise yourself for trying new things. Tell that voice to pipe down because you're busy getting on with your work!

Stop making excuses. You know you're doing it - just stop it and go and do the thing!

Have lots of ideas, good and bad and crazy. To begin with, you do not know the potential of an idea - you can't know until you get out your paints and try. Paint first, think later. Work from intuition and don't let your thinking mind in until much later in the process.

But most of all, do not be afraid to fail. Failure is just another way to learn. If you're not failing, you're not doing it right because if you're not failing you're not taking risks and making great art is all about taking risks.


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