If you’d told me two years ago that I would be spending my days writing a book, working as an editor, singing and arranging music as well as making things out of clay and paint and wax, then I would have laughed at you. Loudly. I scraped a C- in art in high school, and was told that I didn’t have the patience, motor skills or finesse to be an artist. My pottery would always break in the kiln, my paintings were dramatic and confusing; I was drowning in my own self-hatred, and already deeply enmeshed with a perfectionistic art form that was slowly sapping my creativity with every A+ I needed to earn, every award, every return on investment. I wanted to be a writer too, and was told that journalism was my only path, but that it wasn’t suitable for someone so sensitive and emotional.
I say this on behalf of every creatively stifled 40-something year old out there:
Fuck the 90s.
This year I’ve learned to not just be my own parent, but also my own teacher. So when I found writing sliding into that same place of perfection that I reserved previously only for music, I allowed art to save me; testing the limits of my patience and skill through pottery – holding newborn earth in my hand, learning to keep it centred on a spinning plate, softening it with water, gently guiding it into a usable vessel, being at peace with its final form.
Watercolour has also been a bit of a journey – balancing the right amount of water and paint dilutions with different paper weights and grains doesn’t involve maths and micromanaging, I am learning, rather but faith and intuition (and instant forgiveness). When you let go, then you’re half way there. Sometimes I try my hand at a painterly (what does that even mean?) scene, sometimes I go completely abstract, depending on how I feel (believe it or not, the abstract is harder – the permission I’ve had to give to myself to create any kind of works of imperfection has been monumental).
I’ve always been obsessed with trees and dark forests (and the Germanic name for this: Myrkviðr) and I’ve been finding myself absent-mindedly painting them from the start. It wasn’t until Stephen and I started planning our 10 year anniversary trip next year (fingers crossed) to Scandinavia, that I realised that you create what you are drawn to, and something has been calling both of us there for a long time.
I’ve actually spent the last few months trying to create a card design (no joke, months) – torn between my desire to paint a beautiful scene, and my love for dark, abstract shit. In the end, the scene won (pic in the previous post) because a) my goal isn’t to depress my friends at Christmas b) I wanted to prove that I could do it c) Myrkviðr.
But I love this little piece, created by the fifteen year old in the velvet chokers and eyes rimmed in black who fucking needed to make art like this 25 years ago. I’m proud of it. And her.