The purple Anemone I planted in the garden last week recovered from the recent torrential downpours that we were blessed to receive. The rain drenched and delicate petals reflecting the afternoon light bolstered my resolve to be less of an enemy to myself so that my art practice and creative purpose has a stronger chance to more fully bloom.
I hesitated to post my ten minute doodle today for fear that the haphazard painting event was not “good enough” to share. Then I realized that the fear of criticism or rejection of the work wasn’t the obstacle; it is my sensitivity about being compared to other artists who have had more formal training, or who are making their living full time from their creative endeavors that most often stifles me. Then I remembered a piece of advice that Seth Godin once offered: “The act itself is more important than the output…When you keep the commitment to complete the act, the muse returns.” And she is always welcomed here.
“Up the Creek Without a Palette” 16″ x 14″ pencil and watercolor work-in-progress on paper.
I invited my partner to have a look at one of my sketches, and he admitted that he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at. His reply initially hurt my fragile self-taught artist ego, but I appreciated his honesty, and forgave his lack of shared vision. My former, less confident self might have accepted his comment as absolute truth and hastily abandoned the newborn work but instead, I allowed my intuition to confront and dispel the fear of dreaded rejection that keeps many artists from sharing their work in the first place. The truth of the matter is this: My artistic style is not going to appeal to everyone, and not everyone is going to support my creative endeavors, but that is not going to stop me from bringing my work into the world. There is no other option because at my very core, I am an artist.
The morning sky reflected on the surface of Lake Jankyville was one of the first images that gave me a spark of inspiration today. (Lake Jankyville isn’t really a lake; it is the name we’ve given to the puddle that forms on the backyard patio after a heavy rainstorm.) As thankful as we are to be receiving days of consistent rainfall, it was nice to catch a glimpse of blue sky and clouds with silver lining.
Today’s second spark of creative inspiration is captured in this passing shot taken just outside my studio door.
Brilliant red and rain soaked petals of a Shasta Daisy glistening in mid-morning sunlight makes me realize how often I have missed the opportunity to appreciate its unique beauty. We would be wise to remind ourselves to make time to acknowledge our own unique gifts and the beauty that we are capable of sharing with the world if we will only allow ourselves to do so.
Eileen Brunetto, my dear friend and Vermont based author, recently invited me to tag along on a blog tour that her fellow Goddard College MFA classmate, Tamryn Spruill recently initiated. I’ve not yet met Tamryn but in accepting Eileen’s encouragement to participate in this tour, believe that a cosmic door has been opened, and that a personal interaction with Tamryn in the near future will likely occur. I’ll reserve my opinions and experiences with manifestation for another time. The purpose of this blog post is to answer the four questions that Tamryn is interested in having answered:
1) What are you working on?
Aside from my weekly blog posts, I’ve been writing new songs and re-working those that were recorded in 1996 with Full Moon Heart, a Vermont based acoustic quartet from the Mad River Valley. Picture Postcard Lullaby is the current working title for the collection of songs that I hope to record live at a few historic Sacramento locations for independent release in 2015.
2) How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre?
How my work differs from other writers or artists isn’t something I give much thought to because it makes me feel like I’m comparing myself to other artists. But for the sake of answering Tamryn’s question, I think that my work differs from others in the essence of the story, the authenticity in the sharing of an emotion.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write in response to the emotions I feel in reaction to what I see, read, or have experienced.
4) How does your writing process work?
I take a walk with my dog along the American River every morning before I write or make art. There is something about physically moving through space that conjures up all sorts of ideas that I can then take back to my studio and translate into words or sketches. Other times, an idea presents itself and a song can be written in a span of 20 minutes. That is the most amazing process to experience, and I am so very grateful that I allow myself to be open enough to surrender to the muse.