One of the things I’ve been struggling with since finishing the Gaian Tarot is finding a new direction for my artwork. Over the last few years, I immersed myself in learning how to market myself authentically. I launched the Gaian Tarot Limited Edition, which was an incredible success, and promoted the Llewellyn version of the Gaian when it was released last fall. I’ve created e-courses, a membership site (the Gaian Tarot Circle) and taught workshops in person. I’m branching out into leading retreats.
I love my work! I’ve been a teacher of Goddess spirituality, tarot and earth-centered spirituality since the early 90’s and I know it’s part of what I’m called to do.
But somewhere along the way, my creative mojo started withering on the vine. I kept trying to jumpstart it.
I took a weeklong course in encaustic at Sitka two summers ago. Loved it, but haven’t tried the medium again since then. I’ve gone back to nature journaling and art journaling. Love that too, but it’s not totally satisfying. I’ve played with mixed media, and have had a lot of fun getting really messy and finding the lovely surprises that come when you don’t plan out your artwork ahead of time. I’ve gotten more intentional about my photography, seeing it as a contemplative practice.
Last fall I reached down deep into my psyche and my gut and came up with “Elder of the Scar Clan.” Now that is the piece I am the most proud of. It’s not 100% colored pencil, like all the pieces in the Gaian Tarot, so it didn’t take me frickin’ forever to create. It’s a mixture of happy surprises with oil pastels, ink and watercolor — along with the precision of colored pencil, in places.
That’s the direction I want to go. I want to do more pieces like that.
And yet, I have felt frozen. Stuck. Unsure of myself. Unable to block out portions of my day to dedicate to new artwork. To just playing with new techinques, new subject matter.
What’s that about, anyway? Not allowing ourselves to do the thing we want to do the most?
Scrolling through Facebook one day last week, I happened to see a post from Chris Zydel recommending Lisa Sonora Beam’s class on Creative + Practice. (I have Lisa Sonora’s book, The Creative Entrepreneur, and love it.)
After a bit of correspondence with Lisa Sonora, I decided to jump in and do it.
(Yes, I am taking an e-course in addition to teaching e-courses!)
The thing that pushed me over the edge? Her emphasis that “creative practice” is like “spiritual practice,” and that it is literally PRACTICE. Practicing to make art, but not art itself. The art we create in our sketchbooks is not art, it’s PRACTICE.
Well, that blew the lid off my resistance.
Practice, in my head, means play. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be professional.
I wrote this to Lisa a few days after the class started:
Simply creating the container — the set time, the pairing with morning coffee, the new sketchbook — was revelatory. Within five minutes I had filled two pages full of sketches and notes for new art projects. And I thought I was stuck? Yeah — no. If the first step brought this much abundance, I can’t imagine where I’ll be at the end of eight weeks. Deep thanks, Lisa Sonora!
I’m excited. Have I mentioned that? I have two different projects humming in my brain, each with dozens of pieces to them. I have this weekend set aside to make art. Whooooooosh! Here I go!
Sometimes . . . (often in fact) the teacher needs a teacher. Blessed be.