When I first became interested in art journaling, as is my tendency when I become interested in something, I did a lot of searching. I scoured the internet for pictures and information. Well, honestly, the first thing I did was talk to my sister, who's an extraordinary researcher...and I put her skills to use for myself...she may or may not be aware that I use her as my research monkey. (I love you, Marian!) And the next thing I did was to take what she'd given me and branched out on my own and found information where ever I could. I went to the library. I stalked the blogs of people who's work I admired. YouTube seemed to become a homepage for me, because I was constantly looking at how-to videos. I ordered a bunch of books off of Amazon. I can get a little obsessed sometimes...it's a good and bad thing. But in that initial burst of interest, I discovered something I found very interesting.
In all the blogs I stalked, all the videos I watched, all the books I read, there was a pattern of...I don't know if this is the right word...cheerleading (?). There was inevitably something mentioned to the effect of "You can do it! Dismiss your inner critic! There's a little voice inside in your head saying there are beautiful things inside of you, and YOU CAN SET THEM FREE!", etc. My pessimistic side wanted to mock all of these encouraging words, because they seemed like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Not because they were stupid or wrong, but because I didn't understand that there were so many people out there who needed to hear them.
Let me try to explain:
In my life, I've had the pleasure and the pain of being responsible for myself and others from a pretty early age. The downfall of this responsibility is that I question basically all my choices. I can be the most indecisive person in the world...I over-analyze EVERYTHING. I am always afraid of making the wrong choice and that the consequences of my choice will have this butterfly effect that eventually leads to what we all fear...a zombie apocalypse. OK, that's a stretch, but you get what I mean, right? Choices lead to actions, and actions have consequences beyond our control. The fact that we don't know what consequences our actions will have is a little scary to some people, and a lot scary to other people...I fall into the "a lot scary" category. It's not the actions, it's not the physically doing something that scares me. It's the mental part, the choice, that's scary.
The good part of being responsible from early on is that I know I can DO. My mom's favorite saying when I was a kid was "Can't never did nothing." If you keep saying you can't do something, you're right, because you won't even try. This line of thinking has led me to be able to do a whole heaping lot of different things. Oh sure, I'm a colossal failure at many things, but I keep trying. For many situations in my life, failure has not been an option. If I have to do something, I'll latch onto it like I'm covered in super glue and won't let go til I'm as close to perfect as a person can be.
And that's why I couldn't understand that people need to hear "You CAN do this." ...well duh, of course you can! For me, once I made the choice to do creative things, the majority of the scariness ended. It became about practicing at that point. It became irritation that I couldn't get my hands to make the things I saw in my brain. It became about learning as much as I could about how to make the kind of art I wanted to make.
I am still learning. I am still not at the point I want to be at. I have second thoughts about certain decisions: Do I add this color, or is it better without? Do I want to put this journaling here? Do I want to use acrylics or watercolor today? See, it's the choices I'm most afraid of. But the great and forgiving thing about art is that you can always make more. You can always have a do-over. It makes the consequences of your choices much less scary when you come to terms with the fact that, if we choose, what we make can be never ending. Anything we do can be fixed, repaired, altered, amended or covered over entirely and it becomes a new start. In art, mistakes merely teach us what we need to do to get better.
Deciding to make art has been a really wonderful choice for me. It's taught me so much. My attitude towards life has started to become a reflection of my attitude towards art. I've always been scared of making decisions because I didn't want to make a mistake; I thought of consequences as final. Art has taught me that no mistake is irreparable. Even the worst mistakes, if nothing else, teach us what we don't want.
So here comes my mumbo jumbo: I've heard so many people say "let go of your fears". That's pretty good advice. But, I think I have better advice. Don't let go of your fears. Bury them. Bury them under mounds of your art. Just make something, anything, and make your mistakes. Make so many mistakes that your fears are suffocated by effort. And then learn from your mistakes. If we keep doing this, eventually we'll stop making mistakes and our fears will be completely buried. And then we'll dance on their graves.
For ICAD day 5, the prompt was "recycle or repurpose". ICAD is a great start for letting go of your fears, and this prompt seems like a bonus in that direction too, because you could use an index card and something destined for the trash can...so who cares if it doesn't work out? Bury those fears!
This is the 3x5 card I did:
Here's the song that the lyrics in the above card are from:
This song makes me think of someone who's died. One of the lines is "When I look to the stars, I know where you are." I'm talking to our fears when I hear that line and I think to myself: "I know where you are, stupid useless fears...buried six feet under!!!" and then I laugh maniacally because I'm holding the shovel that put them there! Bwa-ha-ha!!!
Here's my 4x6:
|"If you are willing to do something that might not work, you're closer to being an artist." -Seth Godin |
Hooray for subconsciously managing to get all of today's pieces to come together around a common theme! It was purely accidental, I swear...my brain just gets stuck on a notion sometimes. For this card, I again used one of my paper towels that I use to catch the Dylusions over-spray with (I had used this one mainly for ICAD day 2's 3x5 stitch themed card...you can see the outline of the card pretty well.) and glued it to the index card. Then I took a black Sharpie and wrote out the quote. Lesson learned: sharpie spreads/bleeds when you use it on paper towel. So it made the quote pretty hard to read in a lot of places. I was trying to find a way to fix this, and watercolors were the solution. As long as the watercolors were on top of the part where the black Sharpie had already bled, they didn't run (you can see how precise it ended up staying on most of the words). If the watercolor hit a piece of the paper towel that didn't have sharpie on it already, then the watercolor would bleed/spread too (you can see this in a couple places, like the "o" in "to" and several of the letters in "artist"). I signed it with a Pitt pen, at the bottom left, and that didn't bleed, although it wanted to snag the paper towel a lot more than the Sharpie did.)
So that's my long-winded thought for today. I'm off to go murder some more fears and hide the evidence...