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Buried Treasure 2011


Once a year Seth Apter, author of The Altered Page, invites art bloggers to dig up some favorite posts from their archives. You can take part, too, or check out the other incredible artists digging up their buried treasures by clicking here

Below are two posts, written in 2009 and 2010, that were huge steps forward in my journey to become confident in my work and accept the beautiful and the imperfect alike. Enjoy!

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On Seeing Ugliness
(Originally published November 2009)


As much as I hate the fact, not all things in life are beautiful. There is war. There is hate. There are parts of ourselves which we'd rather we didn't call our own. There are unkindnesses and sorrows and suffering.

Though I truly believe that focusing on the positive draws positive things into our lives; that there are uncountable beautiful souls and deeds and thoughts in the world; that there are infinite things of awesomeness on our Mother Earth, I also believe that we need to see the bad and the ugly in order to appreciate the good and the beautiful.

I have been working on an art journal page - this time not focusing on the elements that pull it together or the colours that make me happy. Instead, I am making it uncomfortable and discordant and ugly.

When it is finished I am going to look at it and decide what about it I don't like and what repels me from it, be it the colours, the shapes, the composition, the writing, or something else entirely. Then, I will realise the things that do draw me to a journal spread or a piece of art.

Opposites are important; without one, we wouldn't understand the other. Without hate there wouldn't be love, and without war there wouldn't be peace. And without ugliness, there wouldn't be beauty - beauty beyond measure.

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Try, Try Again
(Originally published April 2010)

Though there are no rules in art journalling, one of the most common pieces of advice you'll hear is, "It is the process of creating, not the end result, that is important!" It is a great suggestion, to be sure, but one that is not easily followed.

All too often our vices stand in our way of enjoying our own art: perfectionism, envy (of others' work), self-doubt, and fear being some of the most common in my own experience. Overcoming these voices requires tremendous effort! It is so difficult and can sometimes be heartbreaking when we so badly want to be "good" but cannot accept ourselves or our art as it is. Have you experienced this?


Within the past month or two, I have realized that I have been viciously shushing my inner gremlins; my art journal style has been expanding, growing, and developing at an exhilarating and slightly frightening rate, my pages thick with paint and layering. I have out of nowhere become comfortable with experimentation and have let go of my expectations for the end result.

I do very much wish that I could share exactly what it is that has change - that word, change, has been appearing here a lot recently, hasn't it?! - but I am not so enlightened. My only advice is this: Continue to create, again and again and again, even when you are not happy with what is being born out of your imagination and mind. Do not give up! Push through all those "bad" paintings and with time, perhaps rather suddenly and unexpectedly, things will change!

I am sure that in my artistic journey there will be many more rough patches, but I know that I am somehow walking in the right direction towards real artistic freedom. Take a peek at three of my most recent spreads, done over a span of about three days. They are grungy, a dance of odd colors and spontaneity. To be honest, I'm not sure if I actually like them; but that is beside the point - I am (slowly) learning to accept the imperfect in both myself and my art. Woohoo!



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