Somewhere, somehow, I’ve developed a habit of trust. Trust in myself, but more importantly, trust in the process of creation itself. Somewhere I’ve become convinced that if I give my all to a creative project, it will give me something in return. I will struggle, and I will very possibly fail, but the effort will be worthwhile no matter what.
I don’t strive to be a full-time artist so that I can feel burned out and anxious. I do it so that I can feel fulfilled, challenged, connected and joyful. And when I’m not feeling that way, I know something is wrong. This is because I’ve done a lot of work around figuring out how I want my life to feel, instead of just making a list of accomplishments to check off as I go. Most of the time, we’re encouraged to set goals based on outward measures of success. But when we’re not clear how we want that success to feel, it often doesn’t turn out how we thought.
Nat and I go way back: we first met working at a chocolate store here in Edmonton and later were housemates for a year or so. We cooked and crafted together and had long conversations about how to live a creative life. Every now and then she would pull out her cello to practice and I was in heaven. I've missed her terribly since she moved to Winnipeg but have loved watching her music career flourish from afar.
I've been using the bullet journaling system religiously. The first time I heard about it, someone was waving a fancy ringed planner around and raving about this system where you could buy all these things and decorate your planner and blah blah blah. It sounded dumb. But then I did some research and it turns out that underneath all the stickers, gold writing, and cutesy illustrations that pop up when you search #bulletjournal on Instagram, there is a rock-solid system at work. I tried it out back in January and it hasn’t failed me yet.
In the wake of the Charlottesville protests, I was encouraged to see some anti-fascist art popping up in my Instagram feed. It’s so easy to feel powerless when confronted with such powerful expressions of hate, but one easy thing we can all do is share images and messages that express what we believe in. I went digging for some art being made in response to hate, racism, and heart-breaking current events. Here’s what I found
Curiosity is a beautiful thing, but only when it isn’t an obstacle to doing your creative work.
It’s all too easy to keep putting off getting started because you just need a little more information. It can create a powerful mental block that tells you that you’re not ready, you don’t have everything figured out, and you won’t succeed without having it all mapped out ahead of time. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as ‘having everything figured out.’
I talk about fear a lot on this blog. Earlier this year I did a whole series on how I deal with social anxiety. Last year I wrote about what it was like to give a speech in front of hundreds of people. The reason I try to be so open about it is because the only thing worse than feeling afraid is feeling like you’re the only one feeling afraid.
“How do you take a big idea and break it down so you know what to do for 15 minutes or an hour, in the time that you have? Anything I could do today seems too small to make a difference.”
This all-or-nothing thinking trap is a particularly sticky one. It can be so hard to start a project that you’ve been thinking about for a long time because it tends to build up in your mind to the point where getting started feels hopeless. And things get especially tough when you have tried to work on it but haven’t seen the results you want. The answer? Put a stop to the mind games and sit down and do the work - no matter how much or little time, money, or energy you have.
How much do you know about printmaking? If you’re like most people who didn’t study art, the answer is probably not much. It’s a family of art-making techniques that are quite unique and beautiful but that aren’t well understood outside the art world, despite having been around for thousands of years - since the invention of paper.Since I love working in printmaking, and keep running into confusion when I talk about it, I thought I would share a little of what it’s all about and my experience with it.