Thursday, April 09, 2009

Monkey, Bunny, and Mommy's Journey

Monkey Balloon ACEO acrylic on paper, 2.5"x3.5"
Bunny Flower ACEO acrylic on paper, 2.5"x3.5"

These mini paintings are in honor of my own little Monkey and Bunny... and in honor of Easter.

I don't think there are big momentous meanings behind them. I kinda just did them for fun.

I did a goddess girl at the same time... because I just don't like to waste paint, and I had extra blue and green and cream. I'll show you her tomorrow. Actually, that is a great benefit to these ACEO's... using up leftover paint before it dries. I am really cheap that way. ;)

But I did want to talk about a question that Converse Momma had yesterday.

"Do you create everyday?" she asked.

I started to answer in the comments but realized that it was such a big answer that it needed it's own post. And really, that's what this blog is about, living a creative life, becoming an artist in amongst the responsibilities of being the stay at home mom of two very young children-- who are at this moment running around like superheroes-- oh and crying. Ha ha ha. The joys.

The answer is: Yes, Converse Momma, I do create everyday.

But I didn't start out that way. About a year ago, I was barely creating at all. It was when I decided that last year, 2008, would be the year where I recovered my creativity. I started with my blog. I fussed around in my journal. I tried to paint. I cautiously avoided my novel that needed to be rewritten. But it started in my blog, where I began thinking about what kind of creativity I wanted in my life, about the truth and the fantasy of what it means to be creative. I faced dead on what it meant to be a mother and an artist at the same time, and how I could manage that. I had a big breakthrough where I realized that being a mom and living the creative life were not separate. One did not take from the other, but they were indeed the same thing.

If you go back to last April, it seems that every post is me struggling with my creativity. I don't think people who stumble upon my blog now would believe it, and that's why I link to all of these posts today. I WAS NOT CREATIVE. But I really wanted to be. Last April, I committed to being creative-- and that has made all the difference. If you made it through all those links, you must want to be creative, too.

How do I do it? I took it very slowly, and worked my way up.
I allowed myself to be inspired by other people, artists, writers, bloggers.
I joined communities and challenges... being in my situation, they are all on line, and yet, it still works.
I gave myself someone to be accountable to-- that's you, my dear readers. I post my creativity here, my paintings and projects and struggles and wins. And it reminds me that I always need something for tomorrow's post, so I don't give up when it would be so easy.
I steal time to be creative. Practice guitar while the kids are being read bedtime stories by Papa, and then show them what I've practiced and sing/play "twinkle twinkle little star," draw sketched in my journal while the kids are playing in the garden, write a post while they are watching Sesame Street, write a poem while I am on the toilet. I do not joke. People leave you alone when you're in the bathroom, and if you're a mom, you know how precious that is. My most fertile time being creative is positively opposite to all the collective wisdom of a room of one's own and good brain time.
My winning creativity solution is to paint while I watch tv on the sofa. I carry my bag of supplies into the living room and laugh at The Office while creating Flying Girls.

I forced myself to do it when I gave myself the challenge of painting a FG a day back in September-- I'd been too frightened to commit myself to painting every day, but it was in the back of my head and then it just organically appeared when I fell upon the old idea of Flying Girl. Now, I don't know what to do with myself if I don't have a paintbrush in my hand or a keyboard at my fingertips. I'm addicted, now.

Maybe that's the key. Get yourself hooked on creating. Make it a part of your bloodstream, so those minutes in the bathroom or waiting for the chicken to come out of the oven become like a hit of a drug. Art.

See, now I thought I was so healthy, skipping the myth of the addicted, drunken artist.... and it turns out I still fall into the stereotype... it's just the creating itself I'm addicted to.

This post seems awfully "me! me! me!" but that's another thing that needs to happen when you are creative. You need to be selfish and commit to it over other obligations. At least part of the time. I think that's one of the reasons it's so hard for women/moms to be artists, because they are expected to sacrifice for their families. Oy, I think that's a whole different topic.


Emma Newman said...

"I think that's one of the reasons it's so hard for women/moms to be artists, because they are expected to sacrifice for their families."

Hoh yes. Yes, yes, yes. I am an absolute ogre if I don't get space to write, and with a 2 year old and neglected full-time Dad, that can be hard. In this tug-of-war I am often the rope, being pulled between work and family. To yell "Stop! I'm going off to write!" seems selfish but oh so necessary.

I am so impressed by what you've done. You're an inspiration.

Leah said...

what a beautifully open and real post. thank you for sharing your heart! xoxo

Hi! I'm Wendi! said...

What a lovely post. I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I've found all the posts so inspiring - but this one about making the commitment to living a creative life really made an impact on me. It's something my husband and I have been working on for years - but I feel like this is the first year that things are really coming into focus. It's so nice to peek into the life of someone else struggling with the same things. Thanks for sharing.

ELK said...

rowena ~i am o glad you wrote this will help other artist am sure inspired me!

septembermom said...

As I type this comment, my little daughter is pulling on me to "lay down with her". I get what you mean about the dual pull of mom and artist. I guess my poetry will wait for a while. Spending time with this little one is a gift right now for me.

sema said...

an inspiring post.thanks for reminding we have to follow our creative instincts to grow as a person and take steps for that.
your link to painting a FG a day is not connecting.

Sara Moriarty said...

I love that you have embraced your addiction. :) It is easy to fight it and justify art right out of your life. I am so glad that you and your art have triumphed. Continue to share your art and thoughts with the world, Rowena. You are so powerful. I am honored to know you.


Rowena said...

I'm glad that people can get something out of my personal journey. I was hoping you would. I know I"m not the only one struggling with these issues.

Thank you for your kind words and showing me that I am not alone.

I fixed the link to the daily painting also. :)

Karen Salva said...

Rowena, I am so fortunate to have witnessed this transition year with you. It has been a beautiful year and your talent has flourished. You are not being selfish at all in this post, it is a joy to read about the REAL you. There are many who will read this and are at the place in time you were a year ago and be encouraged to do it.

hey...the word verification is "shell"...maybe there is some inspiration in that!

Unknown said...

Oy is right!

I agree. Women are creators in so many ways, from so many small acts but to really get that feel you have to be a bit selfish. I'm completely ok with that, but that's because I don't have other obligations. I think balancing that act is hard, but I so admire the way you do it.

Mariellen said...

I guess I was ready, and led by the universe to your post..thank you for making it, and ensuring it was crystal clear that there are probably very few good excuses to not just go do it, make space and fit it into the space, even if its a 5 minute space.

Ashley Inzer said...

"Get yourself hooked on creating." I love that. It is so possible. I have done it. I can't stop. Much better than heroin or crack, right?

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