Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Facilitator: Alex Patchett-Joyce
In the online session, we acknowledged the breakthrough of an artist who had been suffering with chronic creative block. She had given her power away, and in the telling of what had happened had recognised this huge breakthrough with a simple step. A step made without thinking, just taken when opportunity came.
What struck me was how much resistance we place in front of a very small step, which could be as simple as picking up a paintbrush. It makes the step seem huge, when really it was the resistance that was huge that was placed in front it.
The resistance is a feeling onto which we pile on stories to validate it, really good ones, such as not being able to do what we need to do as artists and creatives because we have to rescue another person, take care of a child, a parent, a sibling; to earn money to pay for ‘bills’, are not good enough, don’t have the training, knowledge etc etc. All this we exhaust ourselves with so that when we get time to paint or ponder or draw or write, we have nothing to give.
Of course we care for others, and are responsible with money. But we also have a duty of care to our creative gifts, to not neglect our own needs as artists. In a sweet process, we each welcomed back our gifts, and let go of the resistance.
Our awesome facilitator asked a really key question: what if we set it up this way?
What if, on a deep subconscious level, we set up the resistance?
What if the people who we see as causing the problem,
are really playing the part we set up for them to play
so that we could have a very good reason to neglect our creative selves?
On one level, they’re doing whatever they are doing, but how we perceive or see their intention and behaviour is what we project into the mix that creates confusion, heartbreak, upset; that validates a refusal, a withdrawal, from our creative gifts.
In the session we each owned how we use situations to avoid our gifts, to stay stuck, and recognised the value of our creativity. Recognised our needs.
For me, it’s doing it ‘my way’, creating instead of co-creating.
My art is all about connecting to the spirit of nature and of place. On the walks I am inspired, make drawings and observations so easily. This follows through into my studio. But sometimes, I experience difficulty when I try to create without that connection. It is the small step of remembering to continue the connection in the studio, with the materials, with each mark, before I start. When I don’t do that, it’s like I see all my work through the critical eyes of others in which I project whatever I’m feeling at the time. It’s not the truth. Look again.
Alex explained about the symbol of the cross. As well in Christianity, it is also found in drawings, sculpture many years older in different cultures. The horizontal line representing being form in the physical world, and the horizontal being connection to spirit. Instead of crucifying or torturing my creativity, I could bridge spirit with form. This is also the subject territory of my work.
Another issue we explored was about letting go attachment to outcomes. It is something many creatives know, in their head, but can be easily forgotten. For me, it is about being in relationship with subject, materials and process, being in service to the gift of creativity rather than using it to gain ‘specialness’ or to compete. What can this gift bring into the world this month that will help? That will inspire? What are your gifts? What do need to support them?
[First Wednesdays run each month, online via Zoom video conference. See link for details: https://psychologyofvision.co.uk/first-wednesdays-artist-mentoring/]