I've been silent for a while, figuring out my new direction and just fully enjoying the lazy days of summer.
A couple of months ago my art group made the big decision not to have our Dec. show anymore. It was a hard decision because our shows have been a lot of fun and have been hugely successful, but to many of us, myself included, they took over our life and our art too much.
Our group has been adjusting to the idea of not having a show this year. Some of us felt a loss of not having the show to focus on and look forward to; others were thrilled with the idea of new possibilities, and most were experiencing a mixture of emotions. We decided this would be a good time to have a party--both to acknowledge where we've been and to celebrate where we are going.
To map our journey, we were all given handmade, accordian-fold journals, covered in our choice of artful papers.
Suzie led us in a journaling exercise in which she took us through all the stages and events we experienced over the years in connection with the show, ending at what we are feeling right now. Using a pen, we made marks to represent each of these stages. Some used realistic images, others abstract ones.
We then added colors to our pages.
Some of our members in deep contemplation.
When we were done with the exercise, we went around the room and silently held up our journals one-by-one. We didn't comment, we just silently witnessed each other's experiences. And of course, the pages were all unique.
We were asked to each bring 1" squares of paper that somehow represent us or our artwork. We took these home to add to our journals and will share the final results at our next meeting.
We each went around the room and talked about our new art goals. Some wanted to learn new techniques, others become more proficient in ones they already know. Some wanted to try new media, others wanted to work in series. Some wanted to find new avenues for showing their work, others wanted to do more personal artwork. We toasted to our new goals and support for one another.
Of course, there was lots of great food.
And party favors. We each chose a bird with a word that resonated with us.
We've shared many wonderful events in our almost 10 years together, and I think this was one of my favorite ones. As Stephanie said, "I love that the focus is now, not the show, but us."
Lorraine responded with this beautiful post:
"So often for us women the focus is outward, for others. Now we get to check in with ourselves and ask, 'What have I been wanting to create? What new art challenge do I want to take on without fear of failure or judgment? Can I spend time in the present moment, in the process, with no concern for the finished product? Can I learn something new? Can I say goodbye to something that does not work for me anymore? Can I give myself permission to release a tried and true art form and recreate myself as a beginner again? Can I forgive myself for the time I will spend creating art just for me?'"
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to rediscover how to work from a place deep within my heart without concern for producing something to sell.