Lessons on Waiting on Yourself...

Lessons on Waiting on Yourself...

I found myself hiding under a pile of expectations this year…

2022 has been something unexpected, hasn’t it? All we thought we knew from our experiences didn't prepare us for re-emergence this year. Like a butterfly peeling itself from it’s cocoon only to find no wings…I don’t know about you but I had a lot of expectations set up for myself and it doesn’t look a bit like I thought it would at the end!

Life is the Little and Big Moments…

One thing that surely changed my year was the engagement and wedding of my eldest daughter. I realized soon after restrictions were lifted that my time in the cocoon hadn’t given me energy and stamina for the real pace of living. Learning to accommodate my limits was both a challenge and an opportunity to make new habits.

Rather than continue focusing on the art business I had been growing steadily since Covid, I only had time and energy to focus on the changes coming to our family. To be fully present as my first child had her last months and weeks with us. And to remember the year fondly and not regret how quickly it passed.

Art is the Human Experience…

It was also time to reflect on what I was creating. I recently listened to a podcast called “I Like Your Work” that talked about how an artist ‘mines their soul’ for the work that they have in them. Once it’s been mined and the artist has allowed vulnerability to share it, it finds others who see their human experiences being told.

I’ve always believed this and often referenced my art being a page or chapter of the book of the collector. So was I telling a good story? How could I tell one if I kept comparing my work to others or focusing on how to appeal to a wider audience?

What Would it Take to Combine Life with Art?

I reflected on this. My art was certainly about the human experience of women. It rekindled the affection we have with childhood. It showed awe for nature – But what was I saying?

Someone recently commented to me that their sister collected art of a mother and child because they really adored motherhood. And oddly, that did not sit with me as I thought it should. I love my girls. I’m eternally grateful to be a mother. But that is not what motivates my work.

It’s ALWAYS about You…

What part of you do you most protect and cherish? That’s what you’ll want to see in your home and in your art. Maybe it’s your memories. Maybe it’s your independence. Maybe it’s the child you were or the role of motherhood you have taken.

I realized what I most cherished was that I still remember myself before becoming a wife and mother. That before others’ expectations I was a whole human with a love of stories and animals, nature and children. I adored caring for my own younger siblings and cousins. I loved pets and drew all sorts of animals. I read books both for academic and entertainment. I soaked up what I could about cultures and art. And I loved whimsical movies that tied reality with absolute fantasy. I loved being curious and being gentle and aware of the environments around me. I loved the landscapes of my rural childhood.

When I had my children I wanted to share that with them. I hoped they’d love who they were. I had the privilege of witnessing little humans grow into themselves. To be little and in awe of the world, to learn about their own likes and interests, and now even to see them move into adulthood with many adventures to come. I wanted to share my story but they have their own to tell. This is not all about them.

So Prepare for it to get Personal…

When I look back on my art I have always had a touch of whimsy. It’s not the art that will grace the walls of a show home. It won’t appeal to those who favour popular choices and big brand style. It probably won’t go with the curtains and you may think it only belongs in a child’s room. That’s ok.

But if you still love ‘Alice in Wonderland’, if you love your kids because children are amazing creatures and not just because they’re yours, if you have vivid memories of running through tall grass or climbing trees for the best views and also loved being alone in your room with a book reading all night…well, I might have something special for you!

I’m trying to think of a way to sum up 2022 and it’s more than I can put into words. But I will say the challenges and curiosities and lessons have changed me. Perhaps you’d like to weigh in on how it’s changed you?

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