When art makes you feel naked
It's a windy day, out in the country where your neighbors are seasonal, and at the moment nothing but dried up stocks from last year's crops the wind blows freely, fierce, and shakes branches free from trees. It takes me back to a few months ago maybe bordering on a year. Time tiptoes just beneath my radar most days I can hardly see it passing…
a year ago…
It's been 3 days since we last had power. Heavy wind storms in our area have rocked trees, twisted and wrenched these stoic beings apart, spitting them out to interrupt power lines and remind us what we have in this life.
I feel peace in the creating. I feel protected and surrounded by beauty and calm. Yet also so naked. Exposed and vulnerable.
We have so much. We don’t realize how much we truly have until we don’t. When we find ourselves without our everyday conveniences like heat, power, and water, it can be stressful. In the moment you pass it off and just do what you need to do, but that tension builds inside you. You aren’t sure when that life that you are so accustomed to is going to come back. You don’t panic because you know it will… eventually.
I found myself with a deep sense of gratitude and empathy for those who don’t know if their way of life, lived or imagined will ever come back.
I find myself relating this experience to how I feel about the pandemic. Sure I’m “used to the masks” but I will never really get used to the masks. I miss seeing people's faces. This is our new normal, but we don’t know for how long, likely longer than we want… It always feels longer when we don’t have a definitive time. You’re left wondering will it be today, a year, or two?
Those 15 mins you had to wait in line, for traffic, your take-out order feels like it's taking forever, or waiting for your Doctor, feels like hours. That overdue baby feels like it will just never be born when in hindsight you kinda wish you got to keep them bundled up safe in their cocoon a little longer.
We are getting used to it. We are adjusting and trying to do the best we can. Yet our “normal” way of life still nags at the edges of our consciousness. The little voice inside wonders how much longer???
Right now I’m working on a new painting, it started off with some flowers. We had been without power and water for 3 days and on day 3 we got a generator going and I could use the water again. I had a craving to paint not a project, not anything specific…I had just seen these black canvas and thought wow I’d love to see what oils look like on those.
I just started painting as usual without a plan or direction. I let the paint move and flow. I followed. I listened. I marveled at the way the colours popped against the background.
As I was playing with the paints here lines began to come together and make a form. An image of a girl surrounded by the beauty of nature and the burst of colour from the flowers. There was peace and calm to it. As I laid the basic shape down, I found each time I went to put clothes on her I would blend them back into her skin.
This feels hard to post but in line with a promise I made to myself to show up when it feels hard here I am.
Here I am because it's bugging me. Here I am because I feel so much. Here I am because I want you to know it's real, it's hard and sometimes it's uncomfortable.
I feel peace in creating. I feel protected and surrounded by beauty and calm. Yet also so naked.
I feel at peace in creating. A hush to the constant chatter in my head. Protected and surrounded by beauty and the sweet embrace of love. Exposed and vulnerable.
When life was chaotic as a child I found myself running off to the forest. To be surrounded by nature. I found comfort in the trees. I felt at home among the flowers. I am so blessed to have lived near the river. I would sit by the trees listening to the water flow. I'd tell my worries and secrets to the river. The silence comforted me. Whispering winds flowing through the trees embraced me. I felt safe.
The message that kept coming up for me as I worked on this painting was vulnerability. This is how I feel when I paint when I share, when I let the paints teach me what they want me to see.
I feel so naked.
I found it interesting my young boys never asked why. They said she’s beautiful. I felt like they understood instinctively. She wasn’t created to be seductive, suggestive or sensual in any way but to convey what it means to put yourself out there.
I have learned so much in my work studying Brene Brown's books I read them again and again because it helps give me the courage to go after what I feel burning in my heart. I read them again and again to give me courage to keep showing up, to remind myself that its scary for all of us.
It gives me an opportunity to absorb the message and power of vulnerability. I love hearing the toddler-type tantrums writers, artists, and creators describe of the mental process of getting themselves down to work. It makes it all ok. It helps me know this is so natural and normal to feel like this.
The process, the art supposed to be messy, terrifying and vulnerable.
We all feel a little vulnerable right now. As we continue to adjust and shift to our circumstances. We’re on edge whether we acknowledge it or not its hard.
It's so important right now to do the things that make you feel safe, bring that sense of calm, and take a breath before we react to someone acting out. Remember its not about you, it’s their own struggle with uncertainty and circumstance.
Be kind. Take care of you. Do the things that feed your heart.
Like the seasons this too will pass… like an extra-long and cold winter you never know when but hold on to the feeling that will flood you when you finally see those first signs of spring.
There is power in vulnerability.
Hi, I’m Leah spelt Ligia, thanks for reading!
I am an artist, a writer, a speaker and an all-around lover of life and learning.
This is my journey into the world of following my creative dreams. I’m the author of “Living with Dirty Glasses” if you are ready to clean your life lenses and start creating the life of your dreams you can grab your downloadable workbook here.
Thank you for reading. This is my journey into the tumultuous world of following my creative dreams.
You’re welcome to join me for the ride (: