I started this year with a fire in my belly to get serious about my work. To show up consistently and boldly; not just as an artist, but as a creative entrepreneur.
I can feel in my gut that I am on the precipice of major growth in my creative work and business. In the years since art school, I’ve had a few seasons of abundant creative energy, but more frequent and longer seasons where it has felt scarce (because spoiler alert: having a degree doesn’t make you a professional). I would go months at a time without working, convinced that I couldn’t offer the world anything of real value. I think we’re all familiar with “imposter syndrome” at this point.
With the exception of the occasional commission, which is inherently low-risk since almost every decision is made for me and there is intrinsic validation in “I will pay you to paint this for me,” my work ethic was seriously lacking in my creative practice. Unless I came across an existing photo that I felt drawn to, or knew exactly what someone wanted from me, I didn’t show up to paint. I didn't trust myself to be braver than that. Don’t get me wrong—I love and am proud of a lot of the work that I’ve made over the last years, and each painting has made me a better artist.
No matter how long I have gone without picking up a paintbrush, every time I’ve gone back to it, my work has nurtured and taught me. But I haven’t loved my practice the way it has loved me.
Neglected, distrusted, and ignored, my creativity (inspiration, muse, whatever you want to call it) has never in all my life abandoned me when I asked it to show up. It has always been faithful, and I've been wishy-washy.
Having a baby is what woke me up. In the beginning stages of motherhood, to my surprise it wasn’t actually that hard to get work done. Newborns sleep SO MUCH. My son would sleep 1.5 to 3 hour long stretches during the day with just 90 minutes in between naps. That beautiful, abundant, oxytocin-fueled time is when I finished my first Celestial Collection, which was an outpouring of the love and wonder that came with that new life. It was the biggest and longest burst of inspiration I’d ever experienced. As he gets older, though, his schedule gets more normal with him sleeping less during the day. This means I have to be extremely intentional with my time. I am a homemaker and the main caretaker of this little human and two dogs, and with time to myself becoming so scarce, I recently had to ask some hard questions.
How much does my work matter to me? Do I believe in it? Can I be content throwing scraps to my artistic practice until I have children in school? We want more babies, so it could be a decade before I have significant daylight hours to myself again. I realized (pouting and dragging my feet) that the hours before the baby wakes in the morning would be the only guaranteed time. I’ve never been the kind of person who would choose to wake up before dawn to work. Could I become that person? Do I want to become that person? Do I trust that my work is worth pursuing, and that it can sustain me if I make the sacrifices necessary to offer it my purest, earliest energy?
And that is where this project came from. It was a bold offering, to me, of self-trust. And to my creativity, of a display of faithfulness and gratitude for all it’s done for me. I challenged my story of “I’m not the kind of person who can stick with something this demanding”. Going to bed and waking up that early to paint, then using my baby’s naps to take pictures, edit them, and post them to my website and social media - EVERY DAY FOR A MONTH- was hard, and exhausting, and a totally unsustainable way of life, but it proved to me that I can trust myself.
Now that this is over, I am still going to keep the schedule more days than not. I am, however, happy that it won’t be a public failure if I need some extra sleep or to use my energy somewhere else every once in a while. And life certainly won’t be so robotically repetitive, which is nice.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Stay tuned for Part II of this (probably) 2-part, informal artist statement, from which you will learn all about the "what" of this series. Specifically, the flowers. I'll divulge my weird decorating quirks, an embarrassing admission, and all the ways in which these flowers turned out to be the perfect subject for this month-long project.