This morning I went to an art book study group at the Riverside Art Museum. Good thing I did. The subject was recovering your sense of compassion...mostly compassion for yourself as an artist. The book being studied is Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. And, yes, this is the third time through the book for me. Sometimes I'm a slow learner.
Anyway, one thing that I am reminded of is how often over the years it has been easy for me to be judgmental, even cruel, to myself as an artist. Lazy, procrastinator, unmotivated...whatever. All of these things can be translated into a fear of actually doing those things that my inner artist yearns to be free to be doing.
And of course there is only one person keeping me from doing those things. Two guesses who that might be and the first one doesn't count.
So during the discussion it became increasingly clear to me that I once again have taken a creative u-turn. "Creative u-turns are always born from fear -- fear of success or fear of failure," says Cameron. Yes, indeed. It shows up as procrastination, avoidance, busywork and other things that keep one from doing what one knows he/she is meant to do. There you go. Once again, I have made a creative u-turn.
After the workshop, I toured the Riverside Art Museum galleries. There was a special exhibit of the work done by participants in Project 52*, a yearlong art project of the museum of which I was a part of only the last few months. I saw what can be accomplished when we get out of our own ways and paint, draw, write, photograph, sew, quilt...whatever our individual artistic proclivities call us to do.
And then it hit me. I experienced a revival of the way I look around me. Upon leaving the museum, I saw the sculpture pictured here which is located on the front lawn. I realized there and then it was time to get back into what brings me joy, what feeds my soul, to what I call my artistic self.
It's funny how I know what to do, what I need to do, and find ways not to do them. Fear? Perhaps. Sometimes a dry spell is necessary to appreciate the times of inspiration's flow. So now for a little "revival" music in the form of that old musical standard, That Old Black Magic, that is an earworm in my head:
"And so down and down I go,
round and round I go
n a spin,
loving the spin that I'm in
under that old black magic called [art]."
"* *The 52 Project", a part of RAM's Riverside Art Make, is about getting a group of creative people together to find inspiration and motivation from one another while working on a 52-week, self-directed art journaling project. The goal is to help you develop the habit of capturing your ideas and being more artful on a regular basis.
Below is a recording of Frank Sinatra singing That Old Black Magic