Artists need each other.
Whether you think of yourself as an artist, or simply recognize yourself as an innately creative soul (because you are) - we all need other creative kindred spirits in our lives.
We remind each other of important things that can be so easy to forget in the practicality and details of the day-to-day. Things that keep us coming to our creative practices, that spark our curiosity, expand how we see, and feed our souls.
Last week, we had a live-online meet-up for Essence in Making Art Medicine. There were ten of us there who are working through an exploration of portraiture and our sense of self.
The women who showed up shared just the perfect truths and inquiries from their own practice, and I was reminded of things that my own creative heart can so easily forget in the face of life's challenges.
We discussed some simple, easy touchstones that can keep our resisting gremlins at arm's length, so that we don't forget to just dive in to our creative outlets and express ourselves... giving ourselves the space and time to release and reveal the depths of our soul's truth... and to remember what our own sense of peace and inspiration feels like.
Here are just a few of the wise and simple reminders that came up, and that may help your creative practice:
1. Honor your pace and timing!
You are not behind. If you create slower, process slower, need more time to fully revel and take things in... know that you are not alone! Artists are observers... this 'slower' pace is common among us, and is exactly what allows us to open to and see connections in expansive and creative ways.
2. Keep your supplies simple and limited!
Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or not knowing where or what to begin with. Less can be more in opening up the floodgates to your intuitive creativity.
3. Play with new supplies (or approaches)!
Likewise, if you are feeling a bit uninspired by your routine, try a new supply or approach you've been saving or are curious about. Shake it up!
4. You are not your art! Or who you see in the mirror. Or your moods or behaviors. Or any outcomes you do or don't cause - beautiful or messy.
So go GENTLY about it all as you express and create.
Even when it feels wild and exhilarating, we can be allowing, seeing from a lens that is gentle toward the soul. This frees us from our unhelpful ideas or expectations, so that we can truly get to know our unique creative voice.
5. Your body knows what you are really working with in your holistic-creative process (in art or life) - and has messages for your highest good.
So - Listen closely. Start with sensations. Loosen up how you hold your self, your tools, your ideas. Hydrate. Stretch. Move. Take up more space. Soften. Strengthen. Trust your hunches. Follow your instinct. Work it. What are you hungry for? What feels tight or in knots? How can you dance (literally, or on the page)?
6. Portraits - particularly self-portraits - can be an amazing way to bring awareness to and align what we feel on the inside with how we show up to ourselves, one another and our outer lives.
Whether they even look like people or not in the end, whether they are abstract or realistic, implied or detailed - they are practices in seeing, practices in presence, relating and learning (remembering) to be loving.
Sometimes certain reminders we might need - like these - can only come from other artists or creatives, because we are in the practice together. Experiencing it. Living the ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and moment-to-moment realities of being called to explore and translate our truth, stories, intuition and ideas into expressive life.
It is not always easy work. It is about more than making pretty art. We get it - and we have a connection with one another because of it.
So even for those of us who are introverts and require a lot of alone time (which many, many creatives do) - artists need each other. To remember. To heal. To keep us true to our creative hearts.
To help us remember to stay on this beautiful path anyway - even though there are a thousand directions we can go to talk ourselves out of the practice.
Because on it, there is peace. In simplicity. In seeing and being seen. In movement. In unity. In being who we are, expressively, alive.
One step at a time, Creation moves through us. One step at a time, we can be a conscious participant with it.