Sunday, December 1, 2013

Departing Thoughts

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” – Stella Adler

The last couple of days at the Station Gallery have been quite different. Last night there were 3 extra guests in the house including a friend of mine who visited and stayed overnight, The new artist in residence from California and a new friend of hers who also stayed the night! 

Also, the place was a buzz with a working bee in the grounds and sound checks etc up on the stage for the band coming to do a show that evening. And, it had been raining all night for the first time in 3 weeks, so the ground was very wet creating puddles everywhere. I even had goosebumps from the cool air and had to pull a jumper out for the first time in 3 weeks, from the bottom of my suitcase!
I did pray that I would adjust well to the change of pace once I arrived home to the city but I think I had a crash course before I even left!

Before the exhibition that evening I continued to add finishing touches to my paintings, even though they were already hanging in place on the gallery walls...just can't help myself can I? I know when a painting is finished, but leading up to that moment there are a continuous stream of questions streaming through like " Is that  finished now?" or "It needs something else" or "something's not right" or " not happy with that one, maybe I should I take that one out of the exhibition" and so on.

EventuallyI I got everything packed up into my car so that I was ready to leave early in the morning. During my stay I ended up selling nine paintings and doing two workshops so I was very happy.

 I also learned that I daily need time to be still, to reflect, to write, to become aware of a higher power, to focus my thoughts and paint. Everything else in life flows out from that. I'm conscious that not everybody needs this way of life to be content, but for me this is a necessary and maybe a way to be able to offer something of meaning and value back to my community and world.

The challenge is always working out how to incorporate these values and disciplines in my everyday life at home. Not just as a list of things to do that get ticked of each day, and only when I have the time, but as my full-time job. As the heart and core of my day. As my work. It is really as simple as that.

What makes it so difficult to administer on a daily basis is the long list of negative beliefs that I burden myself with and that can also be backed up by society beliefs.  It is good to be aware of them and name them because then I can control how much they negate the blessing that I want to be in society rather than a burden. 

Negative beliefs: I  am unsociable, a hermit, a recluse, withdrawn, selfish, too analytical, too spiritual, too philosophical, not practical enough, uncaring , unsupportive wife, just not right, a weirdo. Working as an artist is a luxury, lucky to have such freedom, not a proper job, wasting money, couldn't do it if I was on my own, I'm spoilt, you can't always have what you want , you are not trained, not good enough etc. 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr Suess 

So that is a robust collection of thoughts that I daily sift through to stay on track with my art career. I  ask myself, are true or false? Are they helpful and kind? Do they build me up or drag me down?  On the residency I was strengthened to keep on going because of the soul connection I experienced while doing my art. And being true to my soul is what matters most. I am learning to listen and respect and be guided by my soul a great deal more these days?

William Shakespeare put it this way:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Hamlet, I.iii, 78-80

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