For years I have been in love with mixed media art and art journaling, but for the longest time I have suffered from some kind of creative paralysis. I would look at other people’s art or read mixed media books or watch art videos or buy lots of art supplies and get crazy excited and inspired. I might even attempt to do art myself but I always ended up disappointed. It wasn’t GOOD enough, I didn’t ENJOY creating it, it was a labour (and not one of love).
So I have a number of art works spanning from about 2008 until early 2013, but there are always big gaps in between. There is no thread, no consistency. When I look back at them I am far less judgemental than I felt at the time of creating them (“How crap! Why should I ever make art again?”), but there is still something lacking. Like they exist in a vacuum. Strange, disjointed one-offs.
Then in the summer of 2013 something changed. It wasn’t a lightning strikes or epiphany moment, but probably more of a gradual shift that culminated at that time. I can’t know for sure the exact reasons, but two things played an important part. The first was therapy. I started seeing a therapist towards the end of 2012. On a short term basis I didn’t notice anything, but as the months passed I slowly started feeling differently. More empowered, more in charge, less confused or clouded (sorry to be so vague! I find it hard to put into words!).
The second thing was having Zephyr, my second son, in June 2013. It gave me confidence, as stuff like that tends to do, but it also marked an important next phase in my life: the chance to start thinking about myself. What do I want, what do I want to achieve, who do I want to be? A sort of awakening after being solely in the ‘mother/pregnant’ role for quite a few years.
So it was in August 2013 that I started doing art, not necessarily every day (circumstances prevent that), but consistently and with joy. What a change! What a difference in how I feel towards it! I haven’t stopped since!
Now at this point in time I’m starting to get to a point where I actually quite like my art, I enjoy doing it, I feel confident about it and I enjoy the result. Sometimes the doubts set in though. As long as I’m in my art room creating art I’m fine. But then I visit some blogs and expose myself to other people and I’m like: SO MANY other people are already doing this, who am I to think anyone is interested in what I’m doing. There is no space for me.
Or I’m thinking about a video I want to do and then it’s like.. it’s been done before. And I KNOW that it’s never been done by ME and that I have a unique voice blablaba, but it STILL stops me in my tracks and makes me feel like everything I do is useless…
However, I am also counting my blessings and remembering the fact that a year+ ago my inner critic was preventing me from making any art regularly. I’ve got past that now. Yay progress! Currently it’s making me feel scared of sharing it or trying to carve out more recognition.. So maybe a year on from now… who knows.
I’d love to know if this experience resonated with you or hear your story if you’ve experienced something similar!