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Making art from a place of joy, not fear or obligation.

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

a playful winged lemur on an orange background
Playful lemur
For me personally the quickest way to kill my productivity is making myself feel like I'm obligated to do certain pieces.

For so many years I struggled doing pieces that I really didn't love painting.

When you think of how much time you spend on art this seems ridiculous to me now. I loved the process clearly or I would have given it up a long time ago.

The end products although each beautiful in their own way lacked my voice. I find it hard to connect to them. They didn't spark that emotion in me and I had stopped challenging myself to learn new things.

In my mind I found the spot where I could be a successful artist.

Wasn't that the goal?

At that point in my life I had to really evaluate what success meant to me. I had lived my life by the standards of what others told me success was.

But was I happy?

By all standards I should have been. I had a beautiful family, a successful career I enjoyed and now my art career was finally starting to take off. But there was still that feeling that I was lacking fulfilment.

It was at that point that everything seemed to shift. Although not funny, I have to laugh at how life always routes itself to where it needs to be.

My home life fell apart, I was working at the 9 to 5 even more to support 3 children and my blooming art career I felt was dead. Not having the time or the energy, mentally or physically, to create or devote time to make something I didn't enjoy just wasn't a priority for me. I was literally fighting for my life.

Cue anxiety and PTSD.

Although I wish I had never had to deal with either, in a way they were both gifts. In a world that was filled with fear is where I found my emotional outlet in art. Where I seen hate and ugliness I had the ability to create beauty and joy. When the feelings were to overwhelming I now had a way to let them out. When the world turned sideways I was forced to slow down.

My life was slowly crumbling apart. I was on the verge of getting fired, losing my home and quite frankly losing my mind then throw on top finding out I was pregnant with twins.

It was this trigger, this amalgamation of disaster, that sparked in me the understanding that...

life is to short to be doing things you don't love.

This would start the journey to reclaim my mental health and in that find a voice in what I create.

But I still had fear. Now I also carried with me a voice who told me I wasn't a good artist or an artist for that matter, my paintings were ugly, no one would want to see these. Nor did I want anyone to see them. It was to personal.

I was too fragile to let anyone into that safe place I had created.

Thinking I was keeping myself safe I was instead creating an isolation for myself that in turn stunted my creativity and prevented people from really knowing who I was as a person. This trickled down into my personal relationship and always created a wall and prevented any meaningful connections.

Fast forward 10 yrs I am still not comfortable with showing my work. I'm still not comfortable interacting with people. I still struggle with anxiety and PTSD but have finally accepted this is who I am as a person, as an artist now.

Even if I'm never comfortable with letting people in the reward of making meaningful connections and loving the work I do is worth a little discomfort.

And in that mentality is where I found my success.

I may never be a millionaire, I may never be widely known but the experiences, the fulfillment and the interactions that have been afford to me by simply asking myself does this make me happy? Do I love what I am creating? Is priceless.

Do what you love and opportunities will present themselves that align with it or you'll have a direction to chase and create your own opportunities.

Jackie ❤️

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