My undergraduate degree is in studio art.
Normally, I would just trudge along with my story, because the past is the past. I graduated 5 years ago from undergrad; it was a part of me, but now it’s not. Now I am separate.
Except, as I’m learning, I’m not so very separate.
In particular, this is a time period I don’t like reflecting back on. It was not a good time period in my life. Whereas most other kids were enjoying their frat parties and making their best friends, I was battling several inner demons, which I don’t care to discuss here.
Anyway, so my background is in studio art. I was a painter. I left undergrad determined to never paint again.
Which is weird that now, five years later, I find myself enrolled in a painting course.
I didn’t set out to attend this course. I was looking to learn about photography, but as I was scrolling through the courses, I felt a pull towards this class called Soul Paint. It sounded intriguing. So, after a little internal struggle of registering, dropping, and ultimately registering again, I find myself, at present, enrolled in this course.
The first night was great. It was so liberating, to paint in this way. To paint from your intuition, to not think about what marks you’re making on the canvas, to just live and let live – and hey, don’t worry if you don’t like something, because nothing is permanent. It was beautiful, to sit there and throw paint around and not think, or worry about the outcome, or worry about what “the painting says” (excuse me while I have a horrible art school flashback).
So I came home feeling great, raving about how wonderful it is, gushing to my husband, and posting my pictures to facebook.
In comes the flooding of likes and comments and talk about my “work.” I’m not making a body of work, I’m throwing paint around on canvas. I’m not an artist, I’m just throwing shit around. But all of a sudden I had these labels impressed upon me. People were reaching out to tell their story, and I felt this huge weight of this pressure on me now to finish these paintings and to make them beautiful.
I went back the second night feeling good about my paintings, but hesitant to continue. Now the thoughts were in my brain. What if I screw it up? What if I ruin what I’ve created? What if it turns out terribly and my art is a disappointment to everyone I’ve shared with?
My freedom was gone. It was stripped. The new marks i made on the canvas were painfully crafted. Everything was done with thought and intention. In trying to create something beautiful, I created something hideous.
My paintings became unbearable.
All this freedom I felt, all this liberation from the traditions of painting, all of this new found love of the media, was crushed and consolidated in the period of one three-hour class.
I repainted over the entire damn canvas.
I feel a little crushed. Attachment. I am letting it go, though. It wasn’t meant to be. This is part of the process. This is part of my unfolding, this is a part of me releasing my ego and my intentions and learning to flow from the heart.
The thing about art, is that it’s so visible. This is one of the things that attracted me to it. You work and you work and you work, and at the end of the day, you have something to show for it. Others can admire it and appreciate it. It can give back.
But when these ideas start to paralyze your very intentions, when they hinder you from creating that which you seek, this becomes a problem.
I know now that I felt this nudge to enter this class to learn these very lessons.
See, I think I’m a pretty open person. I think I’m fairly well-rounded. I think I’m humble, and I think I don’t have attachment to things because I’m pretty liberal in how I throw away my belongings.
But what I’m learning is, that this is not the case. I still have butt-loads of ego. I still have buckets of pride. I still grip to ideas and intentions like mad, if not material possessions.
And this painting class is going to help me release them.
I don’t really want to continue to paint, to be honest. It’s hard. I hate what I’m creating and I hate these road blocks. But, when I push through, I’ll become a stronger person. I’ll have learned to let go. I’ve already said good-bye to the paintings I created to start, the paintings that I grew attached to. They are gone. There’s nothing left to do but keep working.
And, I am not sharing any more progress reports via facebook. No more chance for ego to seep through. I am done. Maybe I’ll post when I am finished, maybe not. But these babies are for me. They are my lessons, my truth, my art. No need to share.
Love to all.