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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finding Your Groove

Celebrate Louisiana
Well, I taught art in Baton Rouge this week at the Social Studies educators conferrence in association with the Louisiana Bicentennial committee.  The Bicentennial committee has adopted an art project I desgined this summer for a local church's bible camp as the official art project for grades 1-8 for the Bicentennial Education program.   I was given an awesome space and a great bit of help along the way.  Attendance was open for my presentation, so people wandered in, and made the project at varied times.   Teaching a step based project with everyone working at different steps is quite a juggling act!  Because making art is something that is part of my day, I forget how "unapproachable" it seems to people who don't play with paint and mod podge and paper...  It was great to watch people who do not think of themselves as artists or crafters get in to the project and have some fun.  Towards the end of the day, I realized that in working with adults, I had forgotten one of the things I say when I'm working with children-- I forget to mention to be unafraid--  There's always a "yucky" phase when you don't like the piece in front of you, there's always a spot you want to "fix".   But if you keep working and just trust yourself on the way to the "end" when you get there you'll have a finished piece that you enjoyed making.  Getting caught up in the fear is the hard part for all of us, in everything from facing a hard day at work to relationships to writing, to making art. 
I still have a hard time calling myself an "artist"-- I make art, yes, but the word "artist" just feels a little big to me-- a little kid tromping around in mom's shoes.   So when I teach art and when I talk about making art, I fall back on something that has really been a blessing to me-- I have a four year old who loves to make art with Mom.  I have a child who approaches every blank page and canvas with a sense of wonder and fearlessness that is contagious.  And WE ALL USED TO MAKE ART THAT WAY.   My son picks whatever  colours make him happy on any given day, and glitter and glue and paper to cut and just goes at his project revelling in the process and the way the making of art works...  He paints with a heavy hand simply because he loves the way the paint moves from the brush to the canvas (or paper).  He loves to cut shapes from paper because he is "making something from something else"  and when I try to steer his creativity, "Oh look, this is food pictures-- how about some of those?" he balks, because he has an idea in his head that he is getting on the page--  he is not making the "idea" I have.   He stops when he has had enough.  He likes to make art in stages... fifteen minutes or so, and then go do something else and come back to it later.  He never feels that he has to "finish" in one sitting, or that taking out the art supplies to get busy is too much work.  He enjoys just being and making art.  
As I stood, talking and watching adults take a "designed" project and make it their own, I was reminded that making art, like writing, like loving, is about finding your groove-- listening to that little voice inside you that says "Oh... do that"  and "time to stop."    Your groove is not anyone else's... and you can learn to make art, write, love from a plethora of sources, but the place where the magic happens is where the art, the words, the love, are the representation of that voice in you.  It's not about making the piece you were shown, it's about making the piece your own. 
So... I had a blast and found my groove, and remembered a few things along the way.  (yes, I'm going to bring this back 'round to Planet You)  I was reminded that I love to teach, that I love to watch people learn and that the voice in each of us speaks differently but about many of the same things.  Art, as a tool, is a wonderful way to get quiet with your inner voice and really listen.  Journaling is much the same.  I cannot encourage you enough to be that four year old, pick up a paintbrush, a crayon or a pen, and let your voice talk to the page.  You won't love everything that comes out, but you'll learn a bit (or even a lot) about you and you'll feel lighter and brighter.  When you give yourself permission to just find your groove instead of being perfect, you'll find that the voice in you is much more willing to share what it knows.   I debated teaching art techniques with Planet you, but my little voice said that the words were what mattered most, so Planet You exists as a writing workshop only.  Burn This Book includes a great little book making tutorial that shows how easy making a book can be, and a really intensive journaling course.   Come join me for some fun in either course (though Burn this Book is "hard" work)  and discover the voice in you that does truly have so much to say, to create.   Click here to visit the classroom, watch a preview of The Planet You and register
The Planet You  October session, October 21st
Burn This Book, October 14th

Make something beautiful with your heart and your hands,

1 comment:

kathy said...

LOVE the photo of the gentleman using the Cuttlebug!!! I am so glad your class was able to touch so many people and bring the happiness that creativity inspires. I hope you have many more opportunities to share your talent, your guidance, and your passion with the community!!