Who I Am
I’m an artist who tells stories. That’s who I’ve always been and who I’ll go on being. I wouldn’t so much call it a choice but a proclivity. Does a tree suddenly say one day, I’m going to bend the other way? Does a flower decide to turn its face away from the sun?
When I was a child I lived in a fantasy much of the time. I created stories – daydreams I didn’t write down. Those stories are gone but others have come. Mainly I tell stories with pictures. I love telling stories. I can’t forget.
I live in a fascinating historical old city and have been wanting to tell her story for a while. Yet, all year I didn’t pick up a pencil to begin. So what’s held me back? Why didn’t I start to draw this idea when it first came to me?
It is easy to look back and see I forgot who I am. I forgot who I am when my eyes were focused on others. It was Envy that got the better of me this time. Envy seems harmless but he’s not. He’s like one of those free apps that are so desirable until you download it and realize the full app will cost $50. It started innocently enough, I simply thought other artists’ landscapes and plein air paintings were so cool. Then gradually my thoughts turned from admiration to “surely they must be better artists;” Envy had begun twisting my thinking. It’s happened before. And the result is the same.
Friend and artist Fred Bell who’s opinions I respect, recently looked at a painting I showed him. I was pleased with the watercolor-in-progress. Now understand, Fred is a very encouraging friend, always ready with a positive comment, so he surprised me when he said the word “hesitancy.” It’s the only part of his critique I remember.
He saw hesitancy in my painting
I knew he was right. I had been hesitant. That’s why it was taking so long to finish. Hesitant. One who is hesitant is insecure, doubtful, and procrastinating. A hesitant artist doesn’t know who she is. And there hung the truth blatantly in front of me.
Whenever I forget who I am, my work suffers. It’s very confusing for an established artist to be comparing themselves to other artists. There is a difference between trying new things – experimenting and incorporating them into your style – and seeking out change altogether. Some phenomenal artists paint in modern, expressive, free-flowing styles or abstract techniques, some of my friends’ works are innovative and surreal – but that’s them. They are who they are. And I am who I am.
And when it is all said and done, when I accept who I am, when I relax and settle into myself, I’m perfectly happy. Envy is gone along with self-doubt, and all hesitancy is out the window.
I came back to full acceptance of who I am. I laid fresh paper on the table and began anew. And I promised to never again forget who I am… just like before.
9/11 – Lest We Never Forget
Yesterday in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a moving tribute to the firemen, policemen, emergency workers, military, and civilians who died on the airplanes hijacked to attack us 15 years ago on September 11, 2001. On display was a mangled I-beam of one of the Twin Towers that came down that day.
If I thought for a minute I could ever forget the events of 9/11, that thought is disintegrated like one of the crumbling towers after yesterday morning’s tribute. Everyone in our nation would benefit by attending a memorial of that horrendous day at least once in their lives. It will seal the image of sacrifice and the price of freedom surely never to be forgotten.