Monday, November 17, 2008

A clean studio, a fresh perspective, and of course more thoughts about Raleigh….

I spent a lot of the day yesterday cleaning and reorganizing my studio. As I was unpacking art supplies from my trip, I came across these leaves. Suddenly I remembered the walk I took on the second morning of the convention.

Although everything had finally worked out (amidst the canceled flight, the lost luggage, and the panic that I hadn’t actually registered), I was still feeling a little lost. I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I got up that morning. There wasn’t a session until 1 p.m. and I hated wandering through the hotel looking lost. Since I didn’t really understand the competition room upstairs yet— as in "where" exactly I was supposed to set up (since everyone seemed to have already claimed their “space”), or that everyone was just supposed to start drawing everyone else (and of course I felt too shy to ask people to pose for me), so I decided to go for a walk.

It was raining, which I love because then I’m automatically (but of course theoretically) allowed do all the things I love to do inside like paint, write, draw, or read. When its hot and sunny outside, I feel like I should be out windsurfing, even though I don’t actually windsurf. Anyway, as I walked in the rain, I suddenly felt lighter. The colours of the autumn leaves were vibrant and back lit by the water, and since “our” autumn leaves fell over 5 weeks ago, seeing them again was such a treat. As I looked for special ones to pick up, I automatically felt like myself again, doing what I love to do outside— wander, think and collect souvenirs of those moments for my journals.

While the intense caricature world that I had just flown into was very exciting, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all AND the fact that I only had 5 days left away from my family— to replenish my depleted mothering patience and enthusiasm. I walked and thought a lot about what I was doing in Raleigh and how I fit into this new world of obvious and remarkable talent. I found a coffee shop and sat for a while trying to figure out what I had really come for and what would make this the most fulfilling week for me. Then figured out a strategy that I could adopt to keep me a float the rest of the week.

All that I came up with was my automatic “default settings" plan— retreat and be alone. I figured the best thing I could do was to take the time to really enjoy my 'free' mental time (without my motherhood duties) and just draw and paint in my hotel room away from the competition. This way I wouldn’t add stress to a trip that was meant to de-stress my life. By spending the time alone, I would certainly have had enough quietness by the time I was heading home.

But that’s not what I did. What was so amazing about this convention was that as overflowing in talent as it was, everyone attending seemed to have some feelings of artistic insecurity on some level, and was open to sharing, experimenting, encouraging and supporting others in theirs.

In that atmosphere I slowly began to open up. I spent less and less time alone in my hotel room and by Wednesday I actually brought my art supplies down into the competition room and began to draw and paint. Eventually I didn't even want to leave the energy of the room as it was so enjoyable and addictive.

Now as I sit here breathing in the fresh “after convention” air in my clean studio, I feel so grateful, and really honoured to actually be a part of this community that acknowledges and encourages each other to grow in a helpful, honest and supportive enviromnent.

When I got home, my husband Mark said he was so happy I chose the new path. He was afraid after talking to me on the phone the first night that I would spend the whole week in my room writing and painting and not taking full advantage of what might be there. This experience has shown me that while being alone at times is important, connecting with others can nourish and balance me just as much, if not more sometimes.
and its only getting better...

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