Inching My Way Back Into My Art and Life…

2016-10-05inktober3

I have been struggling to find my way back into my art. I was painting daily, mostly acrylics on canvases of different sizes, painting with joy and abandon, just for the love of it, up until a little over a year ago when I started publishing my bi-monthly zine, Pastiche, which came to a close with the final issue on September 1. I hadn’t thought it would be too hard to get back into my painting but as I’ve written elsewhere my attempts at finding my way back into my art have been like my pitiful attempts at parallel parking. Backing in, pulling out, trying every which way to get into the space to no avail. So, too, my return to painting. My attempts have been dismal failures until my friend Noreen told me that I might like inktober, a little art challenge for the month of October where you draw with pen so you can’t erase or change a little drawing/painting each day. This delighted me, and I am using a tiny 4″ x 6″ sketchbook and watercolors or Derwent Inktense blocks. I paint and draw completely differently when I use watercolors and that’s okay. It is simply moving the hand across the tiny page and creating an image, for me something whimsical and sweet like the girl above peeking through the peep-hole of her apartment. You commit to drawing daily but you’re not trying to paint the Mona Lisa, you’re just making art, without expectation or berating oneself for not having “done better.” I have done 3 little drawings now and I am tickled all to bits. It is my way back in to my art. By the end of the month I believe a door will have opened into my art in a wider way just by letting these little drawings be enough. And they are, and they make me happy.

As I started writing this piece I was reminded of something I talked about in therapy today. February 5, 2014 my house burned down, a terrible, devastating blaze, and I have never been the same since. I am more vulnerable than I was before, and I was vulnerable before the fire, but there was some kind of confidence I had in myself that I lost after the fire and never quite got back. I went into my shell and haven’t been able to come fully out again. I hadn’t realized how deeply this affected me until a video I had made came up on Facebook a couple of days ago. I sat watching this 15 minute video talking about the work I was doing with such confidence and such zeal, I was so excited about the work I was going to be doing that I teared up. That video was made for the new business I started the month before the fire, I had worked toward getting it going for nearly a year, intensively for 6 months working with a phenomenal mentor, starting the website, designing material, and finally starting to do mentoring and creating eBooks and getting ready to teach an ecourse, and it was going really well, and then the fire happened. That video was made just weeks before the fire and my fledgling business that I had worked so hard to start came crashing to a halt as all of my materials, equipment, and more burned and were lost.

I tried in the months after the fire to get going again and I did create some work I was proud of but I couldn’t sustain it. And then my life crumbled, the aftermath of the fire’s devastation finally caused me to break down in a way I hadn’t until I moved back in the newly rebuilt house. It was new and pretty but it didn’t feel like mine, and the life I had created was gone, the business I had started had vanished, and not to this day have I had the confidence to rebuild a business that could sustain me. I have been in scary straits financially and otherwise in the aftermath of the fire with no ability to pull myself out. My get up and go got up and went, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

My life has taken a turn these last months and I have written about it here. I have found a wonderful friend in Noni and we are cooking every week and enjoying wonderful times together. I joined Weight Watchers and have lost nearly 30 pounds and counting. I am making positive changes in my life but for some reason like my art I have not been able to find my way back into the work that I need to do to survive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I tried going back to church, I wrote most of a book, then petered out, I have planned eBooks and eCourses but not been able to find my way fully into the work. I am at the edge of a new beginning and yet I can’t find my way in. And now there are these tiny drawings and I wonder what they will teach me, what they will open me up to.

I felt really shy with the first couple of drawings. They look like a second grader drew them, I thought. But I have persisted and I intend to keep up drawing daily for the month. It’s okay if they look like a child drew them, because I only started drawing at 58 and my little girl was stuck inside having shut down when a teacher told me I would never be an artist and took my little drawing with pink trees and an orange sky and yellow grass to the front of the class, laughed at me, and tore it up. I need to draw my way from that place of a shut down, frightened little girl to the woman I am today and let her grow into whatever she will become. I think inktober might help me do just that.

And can I find my way into my work as a writer and teacher, things that I have done for 40 years? I hope so, I am going to try, one little drawing, one day at a time. Wish me luck, will you? Hold a good thought for me, I think I am getting close to opening up more of the places that were shut down with the fire. Somewhere under the rubble in my mind lies a strong woman. It is time for her to emerge. I think I’m ready.

MaitriSz4.4.16.09

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Comments

  1. This beautiful entry has me by the heart. Keep drawing, they are delightful, colorful wonders of innocence and joy. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • Thank you so much Phyllis, your kind comments mean the world to me. And thank you for being part of my journey honey… 🙂

  2. Paula Brown says:

    It’s so close Maitri, it’s just under the surface. It will come back. Continue with your daily painting and drawing. They are so sweet and the desire is rising and you are so determined. It will happen. Your old plans and dreams have not died, they are merely healing as are you. I’ll tell you a secret. I have felt much the same way with my sewing. A few years ago a “friend” and I started sewing for craft fairs. We sometimes had differences in the direction we wanted to go and we struggled and didn’t make a dime. I had given her a credit card for needed supplies and she got the statement and was supposed to pay it. Welllll. $10,000 later she vanished off the face of the earth. I was so deflated and hurt. I had a few odd jobs, one woman I sewed a lot for but she was such a difficult woman – I fired myself. I began doing a few sewing lessons which I enjoy but it wasn’t as creative as I wanted to be. (sound familiar in a way?) In the last couple months I became determined that I was going to make this thing work and by the time I turned 70 next August I would get my act together, able to afford a real store for lessons and to sell my doll clothes and look-alike outfits for girls and their dolls. That was where I was heading when my “partner” flew the coop. I’m working with a mentor and planning things. I have a plan to market look-alike outfits for this Christmas season to get some working capital. (more info to come) and I have some cool ideas for the future. What I’m trying to say is that as you clear the cobwebs from your frightening fire and the psychological aftermath, things will begin to fall into place. I believe that our time — yours and mine — is close. So lets us two struggling creative souls hold hands and hold each other up as we move forward if even with tiny steps for now. Love you gal and know we both have a gift to share. I’m here with ya.

    • Thank you so much Paula, and what a story you have to tell. I wish you all the luck in the world with your endeavors, you will be a success, I just know it! Good luck and keep me posted. Love you honey… <3

  3. I have sensed for the last couple of times you’ve shared your heart and lamented the loss of your previous creative life that I was to tell you something. I didn’t know what but I had the assurance that I was to wait. Wait I did. When I read your heart today I knew! So wait. Don’t force it. Let the old, no matter how wonderful it was, go. Let it go. Love you. Marge

    • Thank you so much Marge, I really appreciate the message and I think you are so right. Let it go may be the most important lesson for me now, and move in to new directions. I have won a scholarship to a program called Life Book for 2017 and it is art and journalling and a lot more and I have a scholarship for a 3 month program with Effy Wild now with her Book of Days and I am going to let myself fully enjoy these courses and open up with my art and let it blossom and see where it takes me. Out with the old, in with the new, indeed.

      Love to you honey,

      Maitri 🙂

  4. whimsical beauty
    darling woman, window, bird
    lifts the spirit up

    xo
    ka

  5. I am happy that you are slowly easing back into life after the loss of your house and beloved animals. I wish you all the best for restarting your business and regaining your confidence. Feeling more vulnerable isn’t neccessarily a bad thing as it makes us more human and more aware of our mutual suffering. Isn’t there a saying that it is through the broken parts that the light shines in (or out)?
    I am sending much love to you and a biiig hug!

    • Thank you so much sweet Corinna, I appreciate it more than I can say, and yes, there is a poem by Leonard Cohen that is a favorite of mine —

      Ring the bells that still can ring
      Forget your perfect offering
      There is a crack in everything
      That’s how the light gets in.

      I love that poem, and you. Sending you a big hug right back…

      Maitri

  6. Terri Myszka says:

    Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz ” you’ve always had it my dear”. Your gifts and talents have never gone away. As you heal, you will find the lighter side of you will once again emerge, it may be different from what it was, but nevertheless it will be you. You’re peeking in through the keyhole of your life, soon you’ll open the door wide and walk in. Love you my friend, sending huge hugs.

    • Oh Teresa you are so dear, thank you so much. I think you are spot on and I think I’m getting close.

      I am sending you so much love, so very much, and a gentle warm hug…

      Maitri <3

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