i want to share the beginning of my talk i gave with kelly at squam. it was a huge leap of faith for us to tell our stories in front of 100+ peers! thank you all for your kindness in listening to us (and no tomatoes were thrown!). you know when you have nightmares of something… speaking in public is mine… and then you wake up and it’s true! that was me for many, many days proceeding. but when we arrived to squam the nervous energy bubbled, but it felt like a welcoming space designed for this kind of storytelling and then after, like i was lighter and stronger than ever before. i want to hold onto that feeling and spread it to all who cross my path. starting with a print giveaway! if you want a cleaner print there’s this one, or if you’d rather choose one entirely different go ahead! just put a comment below with a dream you’re having that you want to manifest, big, little, crazy, fantastical… all the better. xxxx
**giveaway winner will be announced friday, september 26th @ 1pm PST.
(this background was made in the amazing misty mawn’s “spontaneous painting” class at squam. i learned so much. she was so, so generous with all that she knows and had such a gentle and nurturing presence that encouraged us all to create, and the music in the class was perfect and the rain pattering outside, take me back).
here’s to my beginning… maybe i’ll share the details of my story later:
My path has not felt linear. It has felt like I’ve been climbing a mountain, but instead of going straight to the top, I’ve been going around it. Stopping to camp, make a fire, gather provisions and getting lost again and again. Wondering is that the same tree? And am I even on the right mountain?
To prepare for tonight I sat with a stack of journals from over the last 8 years of living in San Francisco. I wanted to look closely at where I have been, where I currently am and what were the steps that took me to get here, where I am finally and recently making my living as an artist. I also wanted to give you the most authentic version of the story.
I want to share this entry I wrote 5 years ago when I was taking a day long writing and collage workshop, similar in many ways to Squam.
I wrote: “I am giving myself this gift today of being here ”
And I want to acknowledge that we are all giving ourselves this gift of being here at Squam. For this time to grow artistically, build community and learn from one another.
I also write:
“I am one week away from my first art show and party. It will be a party and I will be an ARTIST! It will be OK. No, it will be beautiful. Well, it will be what it will be—a gathering of friends, good music and food. I look forward to it and I am taking strides, wide leaps and becoming Mati Rose… it is certainly hard work”.
It reminded myself that it took me a REALLY long time to call myself an artist. Has anyone else ever struggled with this?
This title of artist seemed so uncomfortable and unattainable to me. I had all these preconceived notions of who an artist was. Artists have huge shows in fancy galleries and paint in airy lofts. In particular I believed that real artists never doubted their ability or lacked confidence.
Now that I identify as an artist, I realize I always was one. We are all artists if we choose to be. It is about having a creative life. It is a switch in the brain that is open to the possibility of seeing, documenting, recording, writing, appreciating beauty and living an integrated life where one experiences life in a rich and full way. From cooking, to sewing, to gardening, to making a gift… it is not narrowly defined to making huge paintings and showing. It is about embracing the potential of the creative life.
I love this quote by modern dancer Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.
This is the biggest lesson I have learned in hindsight, and the quote that keeps me going when I doubt myself. We are all artists if we wish to be and we each have our undeniably unique and authentic voices.