A few years ago, I unearthed a travel journal from a month-long trip to Europe that I took in 2006. As I reviewed its pages, I was struck by just how many details of the trip I had completely forgotten. And if the memories of a once-in-a lifetime trip that was so impactful to me could fade away – how much of my day-to-day life is lost? Sensations, emotions, achievements, losses, experiences from the mundane to the exceptional, all transforming from that specific moment in time to become that day, that week, that year, that life…

As I get older and gain a better understanding of how fragile, how brief, and how precious life really is, it's become even more important to me to me experience it to its fullest and to try to retain all of those little moments that might otherwise get lost. It's with this idea that I started the process of recording these moments – a travel journal, of sorts.

A travel journal for life.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

COURAGE IS FOUND IN UNLIKELY PLACES.



My cousin Dori recently posted on Facebook about an annual DIYpostcard swap in which she participates. I’ve been striving to get the old creative juices flowing again and I thought this would be a great project to push me a little further.  I love the premise – I love the idea of creating art that will go out into the world and find a home with someone who I don’t know and (hopefully) bring them a little joy. 

Also, having a deadline helps ensure that I will actually, you know, like – finish some stuff. 

Plus, I get to get stuff in the mail!  I’ll do pretty much anything to get fun stuff in the mail...  It's almost as though this project was made specifically for me!

Some pretty good pieces tapped for a new life.
I decided to use this project to push myself out of my comfort zone.  One of the things I struggle with in my art (and life, for that matter) is to proceed without fear.  I tend to be quite precious with my art-stuff.  I often get paintings to a certain point – that point is usually somewhere around pretty good. It’s at that point that I get paralyzed; I don’t want to keep pushing and ruin something that’s pretty good, because hey, pretty good ain’t easy to achieve.  Plus, pretty good can deteriorate into suck-fest pretty quickly and then I’d be sorry. So instead pushing past that fear of ruining pretty good, I often just settle for where I’m at and then a bunch of pretty good things get filed away and never used.

I also do this with materials.  I’ll find a gorgeous piece of embossed leather in the scrap bin, or darling mini canvases on clearance and I buy these things because I just KNOW they will be perfect for SOMETHING, SOMEDAY…  But then I get scared to use them because a more perfect opportunity to incorporate them might be right around the corner and then I will kick myself for having frivolously used them up on an experiment.  And then those materials get stored away and forgotten about along with the pretty good paintings.

Deconstruction. (Scary.)
So for this project, I made a rule that I would only use materials and paintings that I already have.  I mustered up all my courage and forced myself to deconstruct some pretty good pieces and to part with some of those precious odds-and-ends in order to breathe new life into my artwork that I will send out into the world.  

Reconstruction. (Fun!)
For me, this takes a great deal of strength and courage. When I first started this project, I was very tentative, only taking edges of paintings and cutting into my trimmings when I was certain they would work.  But each piece gets a little more daring than the next and I’m finding a lot of joy in deconstructing and reconstructing.  Also, I’m feeling stronger and I’m finding my courage.

Who would have ever thought that a little DIY postcard swap project could have become an exercise in finding one’s courage?

I guess it’s true… 

Courage is found in unlikely places.

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