Monday, July 7, 2014

First Drafts

What does a grey royal typewriter painting have to do with my recent creative meltdown? Everything and nothing. The everything in that I have had a project due (see previous post) that challenged me in ways I've never been pushed. It questioned my ability to show up and complete something when the going got tough and the painting got ugly. It made me question my "voice", my aesthetic , other people's vision v. my vision, all that good insecure stuff we prefer not to air in public. But it got hold of me. And this is where the writing, the typewriter comes in. These past few days of deadline looming angst, I've been leaning in a little more to my writing. I figure if one muse was on vacation from the easel, then please lord let her have coverage at the keyboard. Guess what? It doesn't work that way! Or maybe it does, and I've been wound so tight that I'm not able to sit with the discomfort of things not artistically clicking.

Back to the typewriter. I posted this because it reminds me of my other love, writing. It reminds me that it's perfectly imperfect lines and shapes tell exactly the story they need to. My story. It brings me back to my roots, the things I love to paint, the quirky message I have to share. When you work on a piece for someone else, their vision, something happens that is both beautiful and confusing. Beautiful in that I am bringing someone's vision to life for them. Good! Confusing in that it's inevitable you start comparing artists, googling too many ideas, painting for someone else in hopes they will like it (kiss of death!) Bad!

I've learned a few things with this project. Insecurity is false. It's a big hairy monster in your brain only like the wizard of oz standing on a box. Insecurity is helpful. It can push you to start again, go in a new direction if you're not satisfied, go the long haul, stay up late. Get those details right until it has that magic. Drink that extra pot of coffee. Most important of all for me? Finishing. Yup. Boring little details of the creative life, but finishing is probably the most underrated, critical piece of it all. This was due on x date. I finished it and sent it on x date. If you are reading this and have ever started a short story, sketched a doodle, knitted one sleeve of a sweater, bought all the supplies to…(insert any DIY craft in the universe), you will know that completion is a Big Deal. I don't need extra credit for this, it's the way it should be, it's a profession and deadlines need to be met. But for some reason, when deadlines are matched with art, there is a vague watery finish line. Like, pretty sure I can finish by x. If it's not raining/sunny/hailing/cloudy/rainbowing. So, project is in, feedback is not, it's possible I'll be repainting, revising, revisiting but I showed up and stayed up. I remember reading somewhere about writing and showing up…"you can't edit air"….meaning, write your shitty first draft (Annie Lamott), but write it because you can't edit the blank page. Or canvas. Still writing. Still painting. xo

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