“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. ~Thomas Merton
2016 has been a year of losses, particularly in the arts world – David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and so many more – too many to list here. It seems that those stars we look toward for inspiration are extinguishing one by one. On a personal note, I was quite saddened by the death of David Bowie, whose music and movies I admired when I was younger. I admired him so much I even made an effort to draw his likeness; I must have been in my early twenties. But it was at the AGO exhibit, “Bowie Is” that I saw in one place the sum of what goes into and what emerges from a creative mind. What I find so amazing about Bowie is that his imagination seemed to know no boundaries. He could not be defined by one style or one means of expressing himself. In his lifetime he showed that one person can take many forms and be many possible things – musician, actor, artist, and more. He seemed to be saying that life is lived more fully when you are constantly in the process of creating and re-creating yourself. I think the way he lived provides a valuable lesson about how to approach living life. And now, at the age of fifty, I find myself thinking hard about who I want to be and to become, and what I want to do and create with this gift that is my life.
And so with the end of another year approaching it seems like a good time to look back on 2016 and reflect on the creative part of my life. I recall writing a blog post a while back
about my vast collection of art materials that has sat around, collecting dust, unused. Well, I am happy to say that this has been a year of actually using some of those materials. Messes have been made with paints and pastels. Songs have been played both on my guitar and on my brand new tenor ukulele (a generous gift from the families whose children I teach). And roving has been spun into wool. I have made time for things I really enjoy – painting classes, music and fibre art – and things I want to understand better, things I want to master. I’m sure I have written many times about how I have allowed fear to prevent me from doing creative things. Fear of doing it all wrong. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of being criticized. Fear of wasting materials that might be better used by someone with true talent. It seems that I have lost a lot of time to unfounded fears and to the negative voices in my head. I have resolved in the coming year to stop wasting time on fear. Instead, I will surround myself with people who inspire me, go to concerts and galleries and appreciate music and art in its various forms, and continue to make time for creating. By doing these things I will become more fully myself, and my life will be fuller. I resolve to play music – badly or well. I resolve to create art – whether it is realistic or whether it is rubbish. I resolve to write something remarkable. And I resolve to spin my own wool AND learn how to dye it AND then make something with it. So there. What are YOUR creative resolutions? Need some ideas? Here’s an interesting weblink to get you started. I wish you all the very best for 2017, and a year of creative inspiration. For heaven’s sake, feel the fear and do it anyway!
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~Neil Gaiman