In this post, I'm going to share how creativity has helped me find purpose and solace during recent challenges in my life. In order to show you how creativity can help you make sense of chaos, I'll take you on my art journey!
I have been a deeply creative person my whole life, even during the times when I forgot this, where I would get distracted by destructive habits when this creativity wasn't expressed.
I started learning formal techniques when I was young. I learned oil painting when I was growing up in group classes I took in middle school. It was casual, at a local woman's home, with people I knew from school.
I really loved this, and it was a great technique to learn because it takes patience and over the weeks we could keep adding to our paintings since they stay wet. I also always loved art classes in school, especially the photography class in high school.
I enjoyed finding the subjects, usually nature and my friends. Things that were most important to me at the time, but I would also take simple photos of things I had around the house that came out really nice. My favorite subject was English, I loved writing and reading, even won a reading contest at my school that I was super proud of. #overachiever
Then when it was time to choose a career path and university, I actually explored a fashion career because I loved the fashion class I took in high school, where I made beautiful dresses and a jacket for the school fashion show. Crazy right?!
I ended up choosing a business school not only because it was the most practical choice to invest in, but because I could apply this to a fashion career and I really felt that a logical, business skillset & mindset was needed to balance with art.
So I focused on marketing, and continued writing a bit in my university's fashion club for our annual editorial piece, but other than that I was very focused on my classes which were challenging.
Then when I graduated, my career started in a corporate marketing agency, and that became a big part of my life. I was climbing the ladder, living in London and then NYC, and during these five years after graduation I completely lost track of my creative outlets. Not one of the healthiest times of my life but I believe I truly needed this detour to find my way back.
Then in 2016, I experimented with stopping drinking and then quit completely, so I wanted to find better ways to relieve stress. I started going to paint nights with friends from time to time.
I also started journaling which became my writing outlet. It wasn't until 2018, that I took a major turn back to my passions. That was the same year I started this business, plus this blog. I generally just started focusing on doing what I love, which I really hadn't for over 10 years. I'd given up those dreams in order to survive at the time.
Through my business, I met a new friend who had a creative studio that intertwines spiritual development and art. I began to see how they are connected and started joining writing workshops and crafting & meditation circles. Art is meditation!
My writing after we were led into a shamanic meditation in a memoir writing workshop
Basically I found that I could express my inner emotions in a creative way. I was starting to feel like creativity was this huge missing part of me, and I always felt better after creating.
Then there was an opportunity to join a non-juried art exhibit at the center.
The theme of the show was Shadow, and it just so happened that I was learning about and healing my shadow at this same time with a course I was taking. Our shadow includes our disowned/hated aspects of ourselves that we hide from because it's too painful to look at.
It was even a step in the course I was taking to draw or paint what I felt the shadow looked like! I took it as a sign that I should submit my painting to this show, even though I did not feel ready at all, it just seemed like I was supposed to.
I created a moon painting symbolizing the shadow sides of the moon and its healing powers. Here is the painting!
I painted again over the next few years, but focused more on my new business I had started and growing that. I wasn't fully committed yet to incorporating it into my life. Then in January of this year, I went through a challenging time. I unexpectedly had to move from the living situation I was in one day, and so I moved in with my mom for a few months.
While I was there, the crafts store Michael's was close by and I had been watching Youtube videos on how to make pour paintings. It was so random that I was watching these, and I was fascinated by it. I had seen some of these paintings in the exhibition I was part of in 2018, and remember wanting to try it but feeling intimidated by it.
Now I had the time and the incentive (to feel better) and I just knew somehow it would make me feel better. I could figure this out! My mom and her partner set up a little 'studio space' for me, basically a table covered with a sheet and newspapers.
I really appreciated this little space and made some beautiful creations during this time. Not only had I lost the living situation I was in, but it was due to a falling out with a friend. I was grieving losing that relationship and the most healing things I found during that time were yoga, meditation, and painting.
I think it's because I could create beauty in an otherwise 'ugly' looking season of life. That felt empowering.
One of the paintings I made at my moms:
In the years following the exhibition, a few different friends suggested I sell my paintings but I never felt like I was ready or even good enough! Even though I wanted to after they mentioned it, the time just wasn't right yet.
Then I was approached on Instagram by a few people that were interested in making prints of my work to sell on their website. I realized people were resonating with my paintings and then, boom, a pandemic hit. I stocked up on supplies to paint, and one day I stumbled across a few helpful blogs on Pinterest that taught you how to sell art step by step, and it seemed so out of the blue.
The only thing stopping me was a lack of knowledge and now I had it. I had even more time now to dedicate myself to painting especially to process all the uncertain feelings and anxiety. It really put things into perspective for me. We're never going to be 100% ready and done is better than perfect.
So I realized it was time to put my paintings on my website and I finally did! I also truly believe that timing is everything, and one thing that a pandemic can do is inspire you to create.
Along the way in my non-linear art journey, I got a little too caught up in only doing the necessary 'adulting' in the real world, since we're taught to believe that art is frivolous or that it's not a viable career option.
I love that my paintings are intuitive, most of the time I don't have a plan at all and just paint what I'm led to. Sometimes I'll get a vision and know I have to paint it, that was the case for my painting, Guardian Angel. Painting connects me to my inner child again, and I work out any stress in the painting.
I've realized that art is integral to my well-being.
With that said, I'm so excited to announce that my original art paintings are now available for purchase from my site here!
Each one has a story, and perhaps I'll write about those in a series of blogs soon if you're interested. These are spiritually themed and supportive of different steps along the personal development journey.
I've been blown away by the support and how much many of you have already resonated with this art. Consider these pieces another aspect of leading a conscious lifestyle, surrounding yourself with beauty and positive energy.
More paintings are added regularly as I paint each week, so keep checking back!
Excited to share more of this journey with you, and I hope this inspires you to find a creative outlet for more purpose and solace in life