"I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting."
What brings me creative joy? Pure joy—unadulterated by trends, financial potential, this-will-be-another-in-a-cohesive-body-of-work, licensing—what is the thing or things that stick? I had to take a deep breath and a big step back and really pause before answering…and that in itself told me part of what I needed to know. That it’s been too long. That in pursuing the ever elusive to me 'body of cohesive work' and delving into the commercial aspects of artmaking, I’ve forgotten the joy.
I hear it often, the do what you love, pursue your bliss, create your joy…but somehow I find it hard to do. I’ve lost my joy and my voice. And the answer to the question, “What brings me creative joy?” deserves a good bit of room and time to explore, and so here I am.
“See what sticks.” So, what HAS stuck, over hill and dale, over the years. Writing. Writing has been a constant. The writing for sure sticks and it brings me joy. So this is something to tuck into my pocket as a treasure I can keep, as glean through my creative life.
I’m not sure about much else these days. I feel caught somewhere in between graphic design, illustration and a slew of other messy studio art interests. I didn’t expect to feel so confused, so unraveled at this point in my art life, but I am. I suppose, in a way, this too—the lostness—has stuck and has been a constant companion on my path of artist. Has it brought me joy? A resounding, “NO!” But perhaps this lostness serves a purpose. Maybe this too then, is something important for me to add to the clues, as I search for my artist’s path. Maybe I am meant to say out loud, “I am a person who feels messy and mostly lost, and its okay if you are too!!! Let’s find our way through together.” And maybe lost means that I get to have the joy of exploration, and meandering through life, living as a humble traveler through the world on a journey towards God. Maybe feeling lost means that I’m not home yet and that ache is evidence of something more that I have been created for, but have not yet found. Maybe lost means that God is seeking me and that one day I will be fully found!
What else has stuck? Depression. It has been a faithful but brutal teacher over the years, and most definitely a constant. But it has not brought joy. Yet, depression is also a part of who I am—so then.
And the yearning to create a life for myself that feels meaningful and authentic, and the poetry, and the love for books and stories and messy art and my love of beauty in all its forms. The dreams of a life spent making art, making a cozy home for my family, the wanton desire to eat, breathe and sleep art—painting, and collage, and mixed-media, and illustration, and gouache, and ink and charcoal and printmaking and clay. And the knowledge that I am made for more. That I am made to be a blessing and a speaker of truth and encouragement to others and that my heart is big and open for others in their suffering and fear. All of these things have stuck too and have brought me creative joy.
Is this enough for me to begin again?