Life Wins Again

I’ve got the blog blues. Right now, as I sit down to write my number one blog entry, I am thinking: This was the most terrible, horrible, no-good idea I have ever had. Stop right now and go eat some potato chips.

This is a blog where I attempt to share with you the heart of my hearts. The beating, bloody mess that most people hide so well, they don’t even know they are hiding it. The all of me.

Um, yeah, definitely a dumb idea. But, for some reason, life thinks it’s a good idea, and somehow, life always wins. My big-gun mind has always proved to be no match for the samurai sword of life.

So, here I go.

The first thing I know is that I want to share some of my paintings with you, but I’m afraid. Mostly, for two reasons:

  1. I have no artistic skill, training, or talent. My skill level is that of a seven-year-old, and I couldn’t make it any “better” if I tried. I’m afraid you will look at my paintings and laugh.
  1. My paintings are generally, well, a bit intense. I’m afraid you will look at them and think me a mad woman.

As a child, I naturally followed my creative impulse, but then, like for many people, my early life experiences taught me to shut down to creativity. I learned that because I didn’t have artistic skill or talent, I should leave creativity and art for those who did—and spent years walking around with a burning, unfulfilled desire to create. Then, at one point, the desire became so strong, it trumped my fears and beliefs, and I was compelled to pick up a paintbrush and see what happened.

This is what I discovered:

  • The paintbrush doesn’t have an opinion about the strokes I make with it.
  • The paint doesn’t have an opinion about what I paint with it.
  • The blank piece of paper doesn’t have an opinion about what my paintings look like.
  • The creative source has no agenda or preferences—only a desire to be well used.

This doesn’t mean it is easy. It's actually amazing how much an opinion-less blank piece of paper has managed to mess with everything I have ever thought to be true, and expose places inside me that I would much prefer stay hidden. Along the way, my personal will has proved to be a total bitch—but desire the queen. She pushes me to places in my paintings—and life—that I would never go on my own. No matter how much I kick and scream, the queen reigns again and again.

And, fortunately, I found an expert navigator when I happened upon a place called The Painting Studio: Center for Creative Exploration in San Francisco and met Barbara Kaufman—who has been my teacher and guide in the ways of creativity for eleven years now.

If you were to ask me why I paint what I do, I would have to tell you: I don’t paint it—life does. So it would be totally awesome if you would ask it and let me know what it says so I will have something interesting to blog about.

But, for now, my desire to come out of hiding has trumped my fears not to. Life wins again.

So, here you go.

P.S. In life’s endless quest to push my edges and have me stretch into uncomfortable places, I will be teaching my second-ever creativity class for adults—Painting Wide-Open—on Sunday, November 24th from 2 to 4 in San Francisco. If you live in the Bay Area, I would love it if you were there. No experience or artistic skill necessary.