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Art, Find Your Flow

Day One – Find Your Flow

I was feeling very hesitant this morning to begin the thirty-day #FindYourFlow practice. I paid the bills, contemplated going back to sleep, and thought about all the other things I needed to do today. It felt like this practice needed to be more somehow, that it had to be more formal than just sitting down and starting. I realized after a while that I was putting pressure on myself to perform in some perfect way which was the source of the resistance. So, I just sat down and paid attention. The page wanted to be in landscape, the face a strong oval, the hair gray, the face aged and a bit tired, the eyes lavender. I used colored pencils which I am not very comfortable using. I like fluid mediums like watercolor and pan pastels that I can spread across a page. But she wanted to be in colored pencil and so that’s what I did. To finish her, I used gamsol to blend. I sat for a moment to listen to what she had to say. She told me that they are always there, that I am loved, that I am the magic.

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Art, Find Your Flow

Practice Runs

For the past few days, I’ve been doing practice runs to see how my thirty-day “Find Your Flow” plan will work for me. My goal was to spend at least thirty minutes sketching boys every morning in order to develop a character for a series of children’s books I’ve written that I want to illustrate.

During the practice runs, the most important thing I’ve learned is that I take the fun out of creativity by trying to control every aspect of the process. I make a plan, and if it doesn’t go like I want, I get frustrated and irritated, feel like a failure, and then quit. This practice period has been no different.

When I sat down to draw different sketches of boys for the practice runs here’s what came out.

 

I started to get really frustrated thinking maybe this isn’t such a good idea. But since I’ve committed to this thirty-day program, I am having to readjust my goals rather than going through my usual “I’m not good enough, forget about it, blah! blah! blah!” routine and running away from it.

I’ve decided that instead of dictating to my creative muse what we will be doing for the next thirty days, I am going to provide the pencil and paper, and let my intuition provide the rest. Instead of having a specific goal of what I want to have created by the end of the thirty days, I’m now excited that I have no idea what will emerge.

For today’s practice run, I just let my intuition show me, and this is what came forth.

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This is interesting because I have been struggling with the idea of thinking for myself lately. This is especially true with the chronic dis-ease I’ve been experiencing. I have chased every lead in order to heal only to find out that what has worked for others does not work for me. Then I go through the process of wondering what is wrong with me, even going as far as trying something that didn’t work again, thinking it’s something I’ve done wrong and this time it will work. I know I have to find a way to interrupt this cycle. So, I’ve been contemplating who I would be without all I’ve been taught to believe and all the influence and opinion of others. What would I believe? What would I know intuitively? Where would it lead me if I got quiet enough to hear my own voice? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard my own voice. What does she sound like? My goal, then, for this thirty days, is to show up, listen, and allow what wants to come out to come out. Maybe, just maybe, I will find myself in there somewhere.

*The watercolor photo above is a piece I completed last night in my handmade watercolor journal. I miss the ocean so much, so I decided to create it.

Art

In the Beginning

I recently signed up for a thirty-day “Find Your Flow” program with Karen Abend that begins on June 1st after taking part in her incredible Sketchbook Revival. My hope is that my participation in this program will help me to develop a daily practice of creating art. I have been a writer for as long a I can remember, but my struggle with persistent writer’s block, and despite it, an unquenchable desire to create, led me to art. I’m just a beginner, and don’t know much about anything, but I’m willing to give it a try anyway.

Something I’ve learned through my many starts and stops in my “creating art” journey is that it takes practice to develop skills and that learning is an on-going, life-long process – there is always something new to learn. I have come to realize that I allow myself  a freedom in art creation that I have not allowed in my writing practice. I can see now how I have blocked my own writing process because of the need to always be perfect the first time around – that somehow, because I earned an MFA in creative writing, I should know everything there is about writing and what the hell I am doing. I definitely do not. I’m okay with accepting that when it comes to art, but not my writing. Why? I don’t know. I am hoping that through my exploration of art creation, I can wind myself back around to a writing practice that actually works, and along the way develop some much-desired artistic skills. I have always been frustrated with the inadequacy of words to fully encompass what I see in my mind. I am hoping that developing artistic skills will help me to fuse the two together in a way that is self-satisfying. If you are called to do so, please follow along on my thirty-day journey…and then beyond.

*The above photo is a watercolor that I created in a handmade sketchbook I learned to create in Kiala Givehand’s Sketchbook Revival session.