Discover more from Ageless Artist
How we Flower
and stumble and blossom as Artists
As I am watching my indoor forced forsythia branches start to gradually come alive with bits of green and a flash of yellow I believe in magic once more.
My father used to bring me these seemingly dead branches in Spring when I lived on my own -as a gift from his own garden. I was too young or distracted to appreciate the deeper value of this gift from nature after a dark colourless winter.
Last week offered a very curious, unnatural heat wave (where the outdoors forsythia bush suddenly and dramatically bursted into a flame of yellow ..and the tulips popped up and then collapsed in the chill of more typical cool temperatures this week-
Nature generally takes its time here with it’s Spring show of colour.
My branches have taken a few weeks to reach their display of life and growth. The outdoor bush flowered and is almost gone in a day or two.
I love this analogy of how we might take our sweet time to find our personal expression.
How long has it taken for you to develop this beautiful unique individual style of yours?
In reflection my art college years were a bit of a blur. I attribute this to my lack of readiness for art to enfold me in all of its bounty. It was simple to adopt the uniform of an artist. (At the time (late 1970’s) the uniform of choice was flannel shirt, overalls and Kodiak construction boots!) I am certain the garments of choice to define “artist” have changed with the times. There was a certain gleeful pride in being somewhat counter culture at 19 years old.
The image of artist seemed to supercede the actual act of doing and learning. Some of the male middle aged profs were leering and not to be trusted -as they carried their own badge of professional artist often resembling and behaving like scruffy leches. There were life lessons to be learned along with life drawing. I had a few wonderful inspirational profs also -and if I had my choice I would have spent all of my time learning from those humble artists. Thankfully they were earnestly dedicated to teaching and sharing their learnings.
Hypocrisies creeped in as we observed the competitive nature of our peers past foundation year . . Who was going to “make it’ and who was left behind. What connections suddenly mattered
Fast forward to the last 28 years where I finally dug into learning and doing and regularly forming a practise of art. It’s taken time and regular dedication. I could shed some of those old preconceived notions about what I needed to do to demonstrate I was an artist. No longer willing to shrink or pander to expectations of dealers, agencies or even perceptions of what art should be from general public,family members etc. Paying huge fees to rent gallery space or enter competitions seems just wrong. I felt free to make art again! I also recognised I could find “my people” who would respond to my art and that’s all that mattered. Plus I was enjoying myself immensely.
For me growing into my art has meant not needing to please. Another pleasant surprise is how much it gives back. While working full time in a high demand field I turned to art to offer me peace,retreat and personal solace.
I’m proud of what I have accomplished personally- teaching and facilitating art practise for and with others and spreading the joy . I will speak about the commercial end another time -but this has worked out to be satisfying too . Nothing I learned from art school prepared me for a professional career that I could create from my own design.
My branches just sat in the water for a while -and then when the time was right -they flowered .
It’s ongoing-the learning and experimentation.
Like careers in life there are no rules that stress that you always have to follow the same path or work in the same style. When I branched out (no pun intended!) from my initial painting practise which was higher realism and at times dark and surreal -moving into collage and mixed media provided me with double the satisfaction. It also dovetailed nicely with where I was at time and energy wise with work outside the home and parenting. if you are finding resistance to making what are your obstacles? Lack of time,space to create, prioritizing other things , personal obligations can make it difficult to focus.
Also maybe the kind of art you have been doing over time no longer works for you or excites you..
I continue to learn. It’s been almost two years that I have been branching out further -trying new media, returning to old favourites such as drawing and cartooning and the world has broadened . Following other artists whom I admire and enjoy also provides learnings. I have taken a few course from art instructors on Domestika which have reactivated my artist pulse .. Sketchbooks have also been so integral to keeping me committed to drawing again . Youtube can offer instruction free of charge to jumpstart a new passion.
It’s not too late to return or learn about a skill that might be your next love . One of the positives the internet offers us is many many avenues of art instruction that are affordable and free. You don’t need an art degree to find success professionally and or personally!
If you can meet with artists in your home community this is another plus-
growth prospers from connection .
It can take time..be patient..Like my branches :-)
Yours, in art
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding your own growth path..and obstacles.. successes!