August 9, 2018

What happens when you step away, don’t look back, and put down the thing you love?

Perspective happens.

A quiet mind happens.

Passive observation happens.

And in the quiet, the voices that were too tiny to hear appear. A word. An idea. A new thought. Two new thoughts.

There’s no pressure to perform, just an invitation to be.

A story comes up, is loved and put down. A new story comes up, maybe asking more strongly for attention.

An idea.

And suddenly the sabbatical is over and I’m painting again in my mostly empty studio, using what I have at hand. Telling a story that comes from inside of me and not from pop culture.

Is affected by pop culture, but isn’t.

I didn’t have any expectations for my painting sabbatical other than to take the pressure off me while I was doing probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. None. As quickly as I put down painting, it vanished from my thoughts, other than a quick blip here (I should paint that) or a boop there (huh, I like the composition).

I figured I’d pick up where I left off eventually and struggle with resistance again, eventually maybe even fail as an artist entirely. Just eventually grind to a halt.

Yes, I know that’s cynical but hey, you get the whole enchilada here. And I was cynical about the thing I loved the most. I was going to fail at my calling and I was weirdly ok with it in a fatalistic sense of ok.

When I shut down my Patreon page, the last bit of pressure was removed. Phew. Done.

I didn’t expect to be painting again before I moved. I didn’t expect to be painting in the style that came out, or the subject that came out, or how personal my art has become.

I had a feeling and then an idea. And it’s vulnerable and painful and raw.

And I can see that maybe telling the vulnerable, painful and raw stories through the lens of pop culture wasn’t enough for me. That my resistance wasn’t in creating art but in what I was using in telling my stories.

That it became a barrier between my truth and sharing it. Protective. Safe. And easily passed off as not my story. A series of masks.

I’m not ready to share it yet, I thought I could but I’m just not. But there’s a new body of work in the making, one that feels so very fragile like a frozen bubble in the middle of winter. Beautiful. Delicate.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll eat yesterday’s words.

Maybe doing what I love is actually what I’m good at.

Maybe all I needed was perspective.