WHERE SHOULD WE BEGIN?
The Great Barrier Reef Coloring book, which I started lifetimes ago, is finally finished. Not only is it complete, but it's ordered, on its way to me, and soon to be available in my shop to satisfy color-lust around the globe. Finishing this book coincided with a smattering of life changes, and gave me the idea to talk about how I'm recharging myself as a person and as an artist. So this post is really more a journal entry where I'm sorting my thoughts on dealing with change, and I hope that if you're in a similar situation it helps you to hear me talk about it.
SAY YOU JUST FINISHED A PROJECT
When I started designing the cover page for the coloring book I realized that I had made the entire book without ever having thought what to name it. I started thinking of names and then noticed myself getting nervous. This project had taken a lot of time and energy, and had really become a part of the landscape of my life, and now it was about to be finished. Suddenly the world was wide open again and I'd have to decide what to do next.
My instinctive reflex was to immediately think of another thing to make and start making it. But I'm not going to do that because lately I've realized I'm not sure who my art is for. I have a portfolio and I have things I've made to sell, and though I'm proud of what I've made and happy that so many people have enjoyed it, I also feel constrained by it. Frankly, it doesn't represent all the things I want to do, or all the people I'd like to connect with through my art. So I want to figure that out before I commit to making anything big and new.
DECIDING A DIRECTION IN ART & LIFE
This week I learned I have to move to an undetermined new place, will need to get a part-time job to finance moving, won't be going on vacation as I'd planned, and don't know what market I'm targeting with my art or even what style I want to be working in. I'm the human incarnation of a spinning compass right now. So instead of reflexively hitting the create button, I'm going to spend some time figuring out what direction I want to go in next and I'm going to figure that out through play. I want to play with paint, practice new things, try new techniques, and I don't want to care about what comes after. I hope the things I enjoy will show me where I should go. And even if it doesn't I know that having fun and making tons of things for myself to enjoy is what's going to keep me grounded when I'm working an 8 hour shift at a job and looking for a new home.
Giving yourself permission can be really hard sometimes. I know that right now it feels hard for me to say that it's okay to slow down and take a step back from everything I've done to get a new perspective on it. But somewhere inside of my bones I just know that's exactly what I need to do right now, and I think I should listen to that. As a creative person it's important to be able to trust yourself, and that's really what this about for me - this is a chance to take a big giant leap of faith that some part of me knows exactly what to do. If you hear whispers from the dark corners of your brain telling you it's okay to try something new or just to take a break, maybe you should give it a try too. As creative people we have to make our own paths through life, and maybe that voice is what will guide us through it all with a semblance of sanity intact.
If you read this blog because you're a fan of my art, I hope you'll hang in there with me as I try new things. I'm still going to be making art and sharing it with you, but maybe it will look different. In my current state of affairs that makes me pretty nervous! But I hope we'll see the other side of this together. Thanks for reading and stay curious!