I took the time to paint a self portrait of sorts. It's a mash up of my logo and a photo that the very talented Cody James Barry took of me serveral years ago when he was first starting his photography career. Man, has he evolved into a magical photographer! You should seriously go check out his website (I'll put a link at the bottom). Anyway, the process of painting this self portrait really made me think of my own evolution, not just as an artist, but as a human.
It's easy to sit idle, doing the same thing, staying in your box. It's safe and cozy there, isn't it? But it isn't necessarily very interesting. There's no rush, no excitement. There isn't anything to get the ol' ticker pumping.
You've got to step out and challenge your skills, your thoughts, and your ego.
I'd found myself in a cozy little place of predictability. I hadn't done anything new creatively in a long-ass time. I'd recycled my routine so many times that my entire life had become habit and not something that made me feel like a living, breathing human with conscious thought or a soul. It occurred to me that I was evolving in years, but regressing spiritually, creatively, and intellectually.
So I painted this self portrait in hopes of opening new doors to my brain and heart. The results were astounding, and I'll tell you what happened. But first I need to back track a little.
I ALWAYS kept notebooks and journals when I was a kid. I'd fill them with poetry, sketches, and doodles. It didn't matter the quality of the work, it only mattered that I'd made something. I kept this habit late into my twenties, bringing my books to beaches, trails, and bars. Wherever I was, so was my journal. But for some reason I let this habit slowly drift away. I continued buying blank books to fill with things that grew in my brain, but my brain and the pages remained blank. Eventually I stopped buying the books because it seemed a wast of money. My world became digital. I stayed home more often, watched more tv. I started scrolling through Pinterest, hoarding other people's creativity. I'd covet the skills of talented Instagrammers. I became an art zombie, feeding on other's creativity, but still feeling empty.
And what was I doing about it?
Not a damn thing...until this self portrait.
Every layer of this painting literally brought me to tears. I made the decision to work on myself (in every sense). Putting ink to paper opened the flood gates to my creative brain. It was like smoking a cigarette after having quit for years (but in a good way, please don't smoke). And as I watched myself emerge from nothing, I began to see who I was; a creative person.
The woman I was in my twenties has collided with the woman I've become in my forties. I'm thinking creatively again, and I don't mean just with my art. My wit is returning, how I navigate life is changing, my lens into the world is softer and brighter. I feel an eagerness about life that I haven't felt in YEARS. I can't tell you how excited I am to see how this next phase in life evolves on and off the canvas.
Oh, and here's that link to Cody's website: Cody James Barry