One of the biggest challenges I've tripped across as I've begun my foray into this new artistic venture is the 'artist bio'.
This is where I have a great artsy photo of myself to demonstrate my creativity (or at least that of my photographer).
It's where I:
Don't get me wrong - all those things are great! Having that intrinsic passion to draw/paint/etc is a real gift. I have the utmost respect for those who made it through the demands and pressures of art school. And shining as a self-taught artist is equally hard.
It's just that those statements don't describe me.
My childhood was spent with my friends jumping of alfalfa bales in the neighboring field, biking pell-mell down the road (sans helmet), inventing crazy stories about being marooned on a tropical island after a plane crash (where we were the lovely stewardesses who helped everyone survive), and reading, reading, reading.
I had planned to graduate college with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Turns out, it helps to like the subject first. So I switched to Interior Design. Only three 'fine arts' classes were required - Intro to Drawing, Color Design, and Perspective Drawing. The art professors grudgingly put up with us design students. Our program was housed in the school of Home Economics (a throwback to the 1950's), so they really didn't feel the need to do more than push us through the basic core and get back to focusing on the "true art" students.
And the idea of a "self-taught" artist just doesn't sit well with me. I've tried, but it feels deceptive for me. Am I likely to decide to try something new and pick up a book or watch a video to learn how? Absolutely. But someone is still teaching the skills, the techniques, the theory. There is still a retreat leader or instructor or featured guest or even someone who has been 'doing it for ages'. I may be a voracious and fearless learner, but I'm not "self-taught".
So this is where it gets tricky. I would like (love!) to step into the role of "teacher". That's where I've always gotten positive strokes. It started with tutoring failing math students in junior high and has been a part of my life (in some fashion) ever since then. It's a comfortable and familiar place to be. And yet...
Rather than teach or lead...I think of this space as one where I can be your companion - your artistic partner - on our journey through life. I would like to ask you questions about how you notice creative opportunities in your life and have you ask me about my own noticing. I'd like to support you in your ability to discover the no-nonsense truth in and for yourself. And I want to lift you up with generous, loving support for all you do (and try to do).
This is a risky thing to say in a culture where we often look for easy answers and 'experts' to help fix us. It might mean that you close this browser tab and say, "Next!" I am aware that I can't possibly be everything to everyone. (Although I have to occasionally remind myself of this when I start reaching for my super-hero cape!)
However - if you believe that you can be your own life "expert" - I hope you will stick around for all the wonders we can discover together. And if you aren't sure? Pull up a chair in our circle and hang out for a bit. I'd like to paraphrase a quote for you from Mark Yaconelli, which so eloquently expresses what I hope you will find here.
Let it be our role to listen carefully to your lifesong
and then sing it back to you,
until you yourself hear your own song.