The first thing that I painted in class that I really loved was a peony in permanent rose, with a delicate, wobbly stem. I loved it so much (and still do!) that I framed it and it hangs in my art studio/office. It's not realistic and it is imperfect and that only adds to my loving it. It was when I realized what I wanted my art to be: the essence of what I saw in the world, with tons of space for the observer to fill in the blanks with their own experiences.
Then, one night, a bird came out of my brush. It was a bluebird-esque bird and i COULD not believe I painted it. I loved it so much, I wanted to paint 100 more birds, except! I couldn't. It wasn't working. The more I tried to make a bird just like the bird I had just painted, the more i hated what I painted.
And friends, this is where all the parallels of art and life were happening. I realized that as I was working on my art, I was also healing some gaping wounds. Lessons about life and following your intuition and rolling with what comes, and accepting that there are no mistakes (just happy accidents like Mr. Ross says), and finding beauty in things that are unconventional and absurd and ordinary and disgusting and painful and dazzling…And changing my perspective of the WORLD because I could see things that I didn't see before. And letting go. All the letting go.
Those gaping wounds broke open even wider and showed me myself.
It's been a major act of courage to put my art out into the world. Fear of judgment nags annoyingly at me. But it can’t stop me. Fear has become the signal for something that I need to do, instead of something that I shouldn’t do. Fear was learned to keep little Jess safe, but I’m stronger than my fear now and I can tell it, “thanks but no thanks” and move full steam ahead on this wild and wonderful life.
I have to say that I have had the most supportive audience with which to share my art and my Self. I've found an amazing community of female artists to uplift and inspire me. I learned that I don't have to hide myself or be afraid of the world–that fear was learned at a very young age and it wasn't serving me anymore. The world can be beautiful and kind and abundant and I can contribute to that through my art. It's the only way now. It is the only way for me to keep darkness at bay.