Remember that hokey song. Well suddenly hokey is my life. Truth is it always has been. If I wasn’t going to be cremated (I told my kids that when my time came just to roast me, toast me, and spread me under the rose bushes.) I would have this on my tomb stone, “What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?” I’m quite sure it absolutely is. Take, for instance, my art.
I started really “becoming” serious about my art just over 2 years ago. I started and worked for a very long time with pastels only. I adore pastels. Previously I had done pen and ink and watercolor for some time and eventually got back into that, along with still doing the pastels. I did these two things for a very long time and finally the pastels slipped away and I was intensely focused on watercolors, but then…. wooooweeee, acrylics landed in Dragonfly Cottage Studio and it was as if I did a swan dive off of a high dive into the Atlantic Ocean which is here in our neck of the woods. I fell madly in love. Now I am doing watercolors and acrylics which is evidenced by the above painting, one in an angel series I am working on (#2 of 3 so far), and working on the #100daysofgrouptherapy in watercolor.
Now you knew this was coming and don’t tell me that you didn’t, but it does not have anything to do with being a slacker or even being bipolar, it has to do with, #1. Trying to build a body of work (The acrylics) to go in my etsy shop which I am about to reopen and needing to spend a lot of time each day painting in acrylics, and #2. This 100 days project, which I love and still intend to work on, I’m pretty certain is becoming a book and is way beyond the scope of a quick little drawing a paragraph each day. The thing is I chose, for whatever crazy reason, a topic that was far too serious for the lighthearted project I’d had in mind. Group therapy is not lighthearted and I knew that but I had thought that I would show their lives outside of group mostly so we could see that those with mental health issues have lives that can be quite wonderful and have good times as well as hard times, and I wanted to focus on that, but the more real these women become the more serious their issues become and it has just run away with me in terms of a 100 day project.
And committing to a 100 day project was just a plain peculiar choice for someone who is bipolar and has been having trouble for a very long time staying steady with anything at all, certainly not when there is outside pressure implied. But —
I will still be painting a lot, I will still be working in both acrylics and watercolor and with my project, I just can’t do one a day on cue when their story has become too important and special to me. I’m trying really hard not to feel like I let myself down, I’ve done it for nearly 3 weeks, but I post several times a day on Instagram so you will see both kinds of work show up there ongoing anyway. Just letting the work come as it does. I did 3 acrylic paintings yesterday. I can’t beat myself up for not doing a watercolor for the project, although last night I nearly finished a watercolor for the project that I am projecting will be up by tomorrow.
I think for me the lesson that I have to continually learn is to be gentler and kinder to myself. To take pride in the fact that I am painting a lot and continually moving forward. To just plain take JOY in making art itself. I particularly loved these that I did last year when I was curled up in my big overstuffed chair after the fire and art saved my life. These are pastels. I’m showing them to you because I know I am about to ease back into pastels too…
The thing is I may be nearly 61 but I am far too young an artist to pin myself down to having to do one thing one way. My love for art is just huge and all over the place and I am going to bow to that and accept it, I am going to love it and not separate it, and I am, it would seem, torn between more than two lovers, and as I hate the word torn I will simply say that I am weaving a world as an artist with many genres, and it’s all okay.
You know what, I feel good about this. I have just cleaned all of my brushes and brought two big jars of clean water into the studio and I’m really to get back into the watercolors. Just keep your eye on Instagram and you’ll be able to keep up with me one way or t’other.
Blessings and Love to Artists & Others,