It has been some time since my last blog post and so much has happened since then….I’ve barely had time to write….or make art, for that matter.
In many of my earlier posts I have mentioned my connection to my mentor, Nicholas Wilton, and the journey I’ve been on since my work with him began in 2014. It has brought me to look at all the ways in which I connect to my creative self and has opened my mind to possibilities and is helping me to develop the limitless thinking mindset.
At first I thought the work I did with Nick was just about strengthening my painting, but so much more has come up for me to discover as I pay closer attention to what feels right and what speaks to me strongly. From accepting the role that fear and resistance plays in the creative process, to talking about my own experiences with art making, in this more public forum, it’s been quite the ride!
This past spring I was asked by Nick to be a part of his support team for an on-line art course, ‘The Art2Life Creative Visionary Program‘ or ‘CVP’ for short. It was an intense and very focused three months of work with over 200 artists participating. I was able to utilize many of my coaching skills, by supporting others with their own challenges around the creative process, while sharpening my critical eye by offering daily feedback on the art that this talented group of artists were making.
The whole experience of being an on-line facilitator wasn’t planned, but supporting these participants, and being a part of the stellar Art2life Team, was a very enriching experience to have had…and I am thrilled to be a part of Nick’s vision for helping artists succeed with their work and creative lives.
Although I often take breaks from my own art making to further other projects and fulfill commitments to our design business, this is probably the longest break that I’ve had. I’m reflecting on it now, as I find I’m noticing my resistance to the re-entry. Where was I and how to start back?
One of the aspects of the work I was doing with CVP was supporting the participating artists with their creative practice…and I refer to it as a practice because that is exactly what it is. It’s necessary to stay regularly engaged with our creativity, our art, in order to reap the benefits of the work and develop and grow as artists. It is like anything that takes our focus and commitment – meditating, playing an instrument or training for a marathon. However, it is not always possible at times, because of external circumstances, to do our work. So how do we keep the connection going so that re-entry isn’t so challenging?
During these times we have to find ways to prime the creative juices, still keeping our eye engaged and our mind drifting to that space where creativity comes from. For me, that often involves looking at art, walking in nature, reading about another artist’s process, or working in my sketchbook. Somehow just having a thread, a delicate but tangible connection, is all it takes to keep plugged in.
I was grateful that during my time working with the CVP program, I was looking at and talking about art all day. I saw so much of myself and my work through the reflections of others. What they were feeling and struggling with, I could relate to…I’ve been there many times. What they celebrated and accomplished felt very much the same as when I had succeeded at preparing work for an exhibition or a commission.
Artists share so many common challenges with their work and have the same desires and hopes for their art form. It’s nice to experience that, knowing that you’re not alone…we’re more alike than we are different in this way.
Over these past three months, those artists constantly inspired me with their courage…their willingness to show their works in progress, take feedback, make changes, face the difficulty of comparing themselves to other more seasoned artists. Everyday I saw tremendous desire and passion for the art they were making and the art they wanted to make….it was truly inspiring!
Those amazing CVP participants gave me so much more than they could ever have known…..through them I stayed connected. And, even though re-entry feels a little uncomfortable right now, all those tendrils and threads that I built up over the past few months have woven a bridge for me to cross over, assisting me to get to where I need to go now…back to my art and back to my passion.
How do you keep yourself connected to your creative work during a long absence? I would love to hear your thoughts…