Where I tell you about myself in lists of ten pieces at a time...
Looking back at my arting journey so far, I realize I had to move through a series of steps before I could make arting a part of my life. I hope you'll see your own arting journey somewhere in the folds of mine—whether you're far ahead or maybe you're at step one (and if so, keep going! It's worth it).
1. I had to acknowledge that I want to create and express myself.
I think I had a form of amnesia during much of my adult life. For so many reasons, I forgot what I loved to do. Before I could art around, I had to simply recognize my own desire to be creative.
2. I had to hold myself in enough esteem to honor that desire.
Once I recognized I wanted to create, it was altogether another step to see that I needed to do it, to make creating a priority. Ultimately, it’s about self care. I had to care enough about myself to honor what I need.
3. I had to release long standing beliefs about my art-making abilities.
I came to believe growing up that I wasn’t “good at” or “talented in” art (especially drawing). It was an open and shut case …even though I'm a visual thinker whose mind works in images. Now, I see “ability” in a much different light and anyway, I don’t much care whether what I create is any good (for anyone but me).
4. I had to be exposed to art journaling.
This was a critical step in my arting development. About three or four years ago, I learned that people expressed themselves visually in journals, not just in writing as I had done for years. It totally opened my mind to playing and experimenting with paint and ink and glue and all the other supplies I could get my hands on. In retrospect, art journaling was the best entry possible into arting because art journals provide such a safe place to play and experiment.
5. I had to get over the fear of creating my first page.
With that said, even though I wanted to make art journals I was so afraid of actually doing it that it took me well over a year to start! That’s how deeply I feared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that I didn't have the "ability".
6. I had to be willing to steep myself in learning.
To learn anything new is a risky venture. It doesn’t matter what, whether learning to walk or to read or to program a computer (or to paint). You have to be new at it, fail some, and have some faith at the get-go that you can learn. And then, when you’re up on two feet, you have to make sure you learn everything possible about things like balance and gravity and someday, how to run…
7. I had to take “fail” out of my vocabulary.
Learning "what not to do" and "what to do next" is so much more useful. And besides, two great techniques that always work: cut it up or cover it up. Easy!
8. I’ve had to carve out time and space for arting.
Somewhere along the line, acknowledging my need to create became an arting practice. In a space in my home. At regular times throughout my week. This isn’t just about physical space, either. I had to make mental space, too.
9. I had to learn to trust my intuition.
I can’t say I’ve mastered this step quite yet (see AJJ: About Self Talk), but while I may not trust it enough, one thing I do know is that intuition always leads the way.
10. And finally, I had to come to see arting around for what it really is.
Yes, it’s being creative and playful. It’s self expression and experimentation and a whole lot of learning…but really? When I’m arting, my spirit comes calling…and now after taking all these steps, I'm around to open the door.