Discovering……Posted: August 2, 2012
A few weeks ago, this layout went up on the Helmar blog. It is a collaboration between Helmar and Faber-Castell. At the beginning of the month, I was sent some amazing Aquarelle water color pencils, and Pitt Mixed Media Pens to work with, from Faber-Castell, and I was so excited.
Unfortunately, when I sat down to work on this project, a few weeks before it was due, I had suddenly lost my mother-in-law. I was deep in grief, dealing with children who had faced trauma, and also were grieving….and this was my first project to complete after all of the chaotic weeks surrounding her death. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake…an outlet…but, in reality, I was so completely at a loss. I played around with the pens and pencils in my art journal. Now, I don’t really “art journal” in the traditional sense….I tried at one point, and everything I made in there just looked pathetic, and like I was trying too hard. So, I use the art journal for experimentation and “warming up.” I tried drawing backgrounds…and adding water. I tried doing frames, doodling. It just looked like it belonged on a 2nd grade art project. At this point, I melted into tears. I was convinced I would have to tell my DT coordinator that I wouldn’t have a project.
I didn’t quit. More than anything, I needed the quiet of my studio, the comfort of my familiar space, that has never let me down. I just sat there for a bit, taking it all in…..and then started writing words that popped into my head. I’m pretty sure that I went to write “Discovering I’m not an artist”. But I stopped at Discovering. I looked around. I saw a picture of myself I had taken on the beach at the lake. I liked it. It’s clear in the photo that I’m not wearing makeup, my hair is a lake-water matted, wind-blown frizz ball, and I’m an aging chunky woman….but I’m me none-the-less. In that moment, and in the moments after, I am feeling: strong, brave, and wise. I’ve stood, unshakable, beside my husband during one of the most difficult times in his life. I’ve faced the darkness of leading my beautiful daughter through debilitating mental illness, and seen her come through to light and a beautifully blooming life. I have discovered…I’m so much more than I appear.
The truth is that the first changes are so slow they pass almost unnoticed, and you go on seeing yourself as you always were, from the inside, but others observe you from the outside.”
― Gabriel García Márquez
This is too bad. Because I feel as if others could see me on the inside…they would see the part of me I am most proud of. They would see that behind my outer appearance that I have started to push to the side, to focus on my inner self…there is something very worth knowing.
I’m pretty sure no one saw Mother Theresa as “ugly.” The beauty of her life’s service to others, her compassion, her faith…it far outweighed the wrinkles and look of age. I can tell you for certain, at age 20, I could see that, but not understand it. Getting older is a pretty revelatory thing for me.
I literally tore the page out of my art journal, and started embellishing from there. The completed project I ended up with, is imperfect. *Really* imperfect. But, each imperfect bit, each mistake that I fixed….adds up to something that I’ll count as one of my new favorites.
Thanks for putting up with my need to pour out my heart today.
Blessings to you~A