Unearthing

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“Art is a calling. Some artists surface earlier than others, but all are born to the calling.” — audrey flack, Art & Soul

I’ve been prepping for an art class I’m beginning on Monday. Setting up my art table in my writing room / studio and blowing the dust off while unpacking supplies. Then I unearthed my portfolio from 1997.

Ernie: “Who drew these?”

Me: “I did.”

That artist — the writer’s twin — she’s gone underground often in my life, but she’s never disappeared completely. She can’t. She’s woven into my very being. Her colors are extremely subtle, but without them I would be incomplete.

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“The element of time in the creative process is similar to dream time. It stretches and contracts as you work. You can work on something for weeks and weeks [decades really] and nothing will happen, and yet one needed the entire night’s sleep to arrive at the dream images.” — audrey flack

I believe she stays hidden from a sense of feeling less than. The artist compares herself to other artists and then slowly shrinks back into the shadow of her muchness. She must remember that comparing stifles her own unique talents and gifts. “You used to be much more… ‘muchier.’ You’ve lost your muchness,” said the Mad Hatter to Alice. Profound insight, it often comes from the most obscure, yet brilliant, beings and places.

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“Mistakes have a biology, they are not simply erased. The erasing of the mistake, words or paint, doesn’t return the space to a blank.” — audrey flack

Mistakes, we’ve all made them. Yet, if you believe, really believe, then you know that every not-so-great choice, every missed opportunity, every error in judgment, was always, in ALL WAYS, part of His master plan for you. Although the layers of a life moving forward have been painted over them, deaths, divorces, every.single.experience good or not is still there — compost, all of it, that somehow fertilizes and enriches who you are.

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“Joy is a constant. It comes to us in moments — often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.” — Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown’s description of joy can also pertain to art and the artist within.  The artist is always there, but the work of living often steals time away from her. She can feel defeated before she even begins to create. Then she wraps herself in wouldas, shouldas, and couldas until she’s buried once more.

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“‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’ (Cribbed from Voltaire.) A twenty-minute walk that I do is better than the four-mile run that I don’t do. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host.” — Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

When it comes to my art, paint and paper have not been exercised as much as pen and paper, or keyboard and computer screen. The thought of beginning {continuing?} a class like this is at once frightening and daunting, exhilarating and exciting.

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“Showing up where you are with what you have is all you can do.” — emily p. freeman, a million little ways

I look at my studio with art table, computer, and writing desk and I begin to feel as if I’m living in a New York flat. My creative world squeezed and scrunched into the room of one’s own Woolf insisted every woman must have.  This is where I, the artist, will show up Monday afternoon, on the edge of evening.

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“The more you sit with the Self, the more you will begin to feel an energy that you have never experienced before. In comes up from behind, rather than in front where you experience your mind and emotions…This flow has been called Shakti. This flow has been called Spirit. This is what you begin to experience if you hang out with the Self instead of hanging out with inner disturbances.” — michael a. singer, the untethered soul

It is said that “it is never too late,” so I have to believe that at 57-years-old I’m on target, exactly who and where I need to be, right now, right here.

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I must love all of me: woman, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, ‘day job’ employee, Catholic, English major, ‘sucks-at-math’ budget maker, writer, and, especially, artist. This is the year of loving US and it begins with loving me.

3 comments

  1. Words from my head through your hands Robin.. This is SO well written… congrats , I love it ( and needed it ). May need to reference it in the future from my blog. I used to call my twin the ‘evil lady’.. Lying quietly ‘ back there ‘ somewhere. I thought of her as evil because of the force she seemed to press on me when she was asking to be artful . But she is beating down my door to be heard and she’s not so scary after all. Just another woman who has been quieting her inner artist voice for too long.. I used to be muchier… and I no longer will abide my art space looking like a New York apartment .. Reading this post was a pleasure ..XX

  2. It must be the year for people who have shoved their creativity down deep so it wouldn’t get in the way, to let it come out.
    Never too late.
    “She can feel defeated before she even begins to create. Then she wraps herself in wouldas, shouldas, and couldas until she’s buried once more.” >smack< – right in the face.
    My drawing board, a Christmas gift 4 (yes, 4) years ago was just unpacked this weekend. We had long since forgotten what it was supposed to look like by now. It now sits in my son's old room, with the futon for his visits, both looking way too big for the space. I look forward to unpacking the rest of MY things and making it look like… well, probably a dorm room.

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