creative expression

Self Portrait

Something I wrote recently on facebook:

I framed my self-portrait. Feels weird to have framed art that is of ME. There truly is a part of me in all of my art. Sometimes in vague ways, sometimes in obvious ones. But to look at my own face hanging on the wall is…strange. Maybe I am worried that it is pretentious or narcissistic? Maybe it is a measure of my comfort level with myself? But truly, I create art that says something about my life experience always. My call to create is a call to express. And to do that, it helps to embrace the idea of myself as a creator. My self-portrait is a portrait of me, the creator. Me, the symbolist. Me, with flaws. Me, the work in progress. Framing this piece is also a way of embracing myself.

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A Crying Towel

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From: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory

I had been having a particularly trying and emotional couple of days and I was not handling it well. I had returned from going for a drive with the baby, listening to Lisa Hannigan on the radio, and doing a bit of crying. Back at home, my husband, Jeramy, and I were talking through it.“I have dozens of painting ideas persistently floating around in here.” I said, and pointed at my head.

“Well, gee! No wonder you are so cranky!” He replied.

He understands. We have been together for almost 17 years, so he would.

If I go too long without some dedicated art time, things become pent-up. As Georgia O’Keeffe once said: I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.” There are often things that I need to express, images that I need to get out, and the only way that I can do that is to turn to creativity.

It is as though, by being neglectful of my art, there is a bottleneck of flashing images. They pop up often, mostly when I am doing a task like driving, folding laundry, showering…anything I do on autopilot. My subconscious, dreaming mind can come to the forefront then. And it has become cacophonous lately, without an opportunity for release.

I have only one side of one page left in my sketchbook. I intend to purchase a new one as soon as possible. Keeping a sketchbook has become a great way for me to let out some of these images and ideas, giving them space of their own. Most will never go any further, but the ones that need more fleshing out, once placed in the sketchbook, are happy to wait there to be revisited, now that they exist in a place outside of my mind.

A sketchbook or notebook of some kind is important for all creative types, I believe. Mine helps keep me sane.*

Sketchbook page

*Well, saner, anyway.