Since September I’ve been exploring creativity with Jessica Outram and her “Creativity Coaching Canada” business. She has offered so much insight and content for me over the last three months; but the most valuable lesson I have gained is understanding that art really is my life work. Not just painting, but writing too, and expressing myself in a variety of creative ways, and that EVERY MOMENT in my life is a part of a bigger picture: my life masterpiece. My life IS my masterpiece. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a journey of learning and growing.
A masterpiece isn’t something that happens instantaneously. It’s a work that takes weeks, months, years, or a life time. It takes time, investment, there are mistakes made a long the way, and with each mistake, each day that passes, you learn and you IMPROVE. You become a master at your work.
I have been really hard on myself creatively this year. I feel like I’m uninspired, stuck in a rut, unable to paint in the ways I dream of, angry that I’m not more successful after committing so many years to my dreams and business (art, yoga, writing). Over a decade of time and energy invested, and here I am still scraping by… but I do feel a lot of pride, that I have been able to create a life I truly love, that I have time to give to creativity at all. Few people have that privilege.
I’ve been reflecting a lot about other artists I admire: Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson. How did they become so successful? Were they really so successful? Define success, right? Carr didn’t paint for fifteen years, and painted the majority of her most famous pieces in the last decade of her life. Harris, was born into money that allowed him the freedom to explore (and invest) in the art world, freedom to travel, learn, and connect with other people of wealth who were also interested in art. Thomson died at 40 years old, and never gained the financial success of his work. Regardless, all of them dived into their work, fully. A privilege in itself!
Since becoming aware of these other artists stories, and journeys, I have realized how different my own is. Not born into wealth, very little art education, no connections to the Canadian Art World, no freedom to travel (not just financially, but also because I am a full time parent). I am also limited in my creative space; I work off of one easel and two tables that are tightly crammed in my should-be dining room.
As a result, I have come to the understanding that I am successful; because despite these challenges I am still creating. Despite my lack of money, time, and space… here I am doing it anyways. I am learning to master my life of creativity. I am making my life my masterpiece, and if I’m lucky I’m only half way through this creation.
Emily Carr wrote “Look at the earth, crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silence, live ground, each seed according to it’s own kind… each one knowing what to do, each one demanding it’s own rights on the earth. So artist, you too, from the depths of your soul… let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”
When Jessica Outram shared that quote at our last Creativity Chat, I had an “ah-ha!” moment. I realized how stuck I had been feeling, YET, when I looked closer, I realized I am not. That my roots ARE creeping forth… In that slow growth that roots do. Every photo I take, every background I paint, every walk to the shore, every time I clean and clear my space; every list I write, intention I set, those are my roots… gaining strength. Growing my tree, at midlife, now.