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daily fieldnotes » Making art
 
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Making art category archive

Unravelling Course 2

This week I started an e-course in photography and self-discovery led by Susannah Conway (thank you Christina!). Susannah’s 8-week course is called “Unravelling: Ways of Seeing Myself” and it’s a journey in picking up a camera and using it as a tool to unlock how we see ourselves and the world around us. Already it has me looking at my pictures in a different way, flashing back to college when I would take rolls and rolls of black and white and then spend my Saturday nights in the darkroom developing photos into something meaningful.

It’s different – I’M different – when I’m taking my pictures more seriously. Allowing for creativity and experimentation to spill through as I snap pictures,  then looking through them with an eye to what they say, what they mean, how they speak in tandem with each other.

It’s thrilling to be re-encountering this creative pulse that I carry in my blood. Photography, pottery, sewing, drawing – all were hugely important to me growing up. Yet I’m realizing with ever more clarity just how thoroughly I had sidelined it from my life since those college photography classes. Not that I never did anything creative; I just did it less and less, and saw my career as needing all of me. But when I ask why I gave up these things, I don’t have an answer except the inertia of everyday life took over.

I’m excited and terrified as I open to the possibilities of this creative pulse.

And it makes me wonder. How many of us abandon more creative pursuits as we grow into adulthood? Childhood overflows with creativity; children are wellsprings of ideas and energy for stories, art, making things. Where does it all go?

Another drawing, another step 5

Another day. Another moment where I let myself sit down and lose myself in color and the waxy texture of the oil pastels. Another evening drawing until I have to stand, release the energy with feet wide apart in front of my desk. Another step toward opening to the possibilities of my life, letting myself imagine things can be different from what I’ve been so focused on.

Thank you for the kind wishes of courage. Stepping off a career track you’ve been on for a long time is one of life’s most difficult things, I think. All the parts of you that do well in it, enjoy it, find satisfaction battle with the parts of you that have doubts. For me, the academic track had become a narrow, rocky canyon that I was pushing myself through, despite questions. This + the personal challenges of trying unsuccessfully to start a family = depression and other health issues.

So I’m starting to re-imagine my life. Letting myself do things I haven’t done in years. Like draw sunflowers. Maybe it will become a series, called “Saying Yes to my Life”.

***

Have you made a big career change in your life? What was it like for you?

A new beginning 6

I faced the need to make change in my life this week. Faced all that’s been brewing and swirling below the surface. Faced the enormity of my unhappiness with the pressures of the academic track. Waited until late Friday afternoon to send the final, most important, freeing emails. And then I sat down at my desk, pulled my box of oil pastels out of a drawer, and drew for the first time in over 5 years. The sense of possibilities in my life washed over me as I lost myself in the colors.