… or something like that. I dunno. Here we are in the middle of summer, which is normally my most productive time of year. So far, I’ve spent way too much money on art supplies… which I’m now a little afraid to plunge in and use.
It’s artistic paralysis, a limbo that has plagued me every so often for the past two years when I started making art a priority in my life. I have ideas, I have materials, I have vision, I have the desire to create. For whatever reason, these four elements aren’t connecting.
But I’m committed to keep doing something, whether it be cleaning my desk space or prepping collage images for future use. And I made a portfolio (well, a flickr anyway–just to group everything together) because I should probably have one of those, right? And I’m trying to figure out how to take good photos with my not-so-good digital camera in the dark (in preparation for the night-to-end-all-nights, July 22, when I finally see Ryan Adams!!!). And I’ve written 16,380 words of a novel that’s been clawing its way out of me for months now.
So there’s always progress, just not in the ways I’m expecting; this is my lesson for the week.
Here’s a link to my Flickr (FEATURING NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN WORK!): https://www.flickr.com/photos/elizabethmsnowdon/
Emotionally, I’ve been in a bit of a fragile period as of late. I’ve been drowning out the background noise of self-doubt and insecurity with senseless tasks– watching YouTube videos, going to parties I have no interest in attending, taking night walks, microwaving countless half-emptied mugs of peppermint tea. Distraction is my M.O.
So last night I had the most amazing late-night talk with my roommate. And I realized that the reason why I’ve been moody and unhappy, despite being in an enriching environment with basically no other life problems, is because my avoidance behavior is slowly killing me. I am not being me. And I don’t mean that in the sense that I’m being fake. I’m just not doing things that express my core traits and values.
This afternoon I came upon this Cracked article by David Wong that articulated what I really needed to hear today (Warning: Contains NSFW language).
It’s basically the same message I got from my professor Brock Clarke last month:
Brock: “Have you been writing?”
Brock: “Why the hell not?”
It’s also the same message my mom has told me at least three times: “You need to do things that are in tune with yourself.” But as this is my first morning trying to be open and honest with myself, I think I’m finally reading Mom, Brock, and David Wong loud and clear. It’s not about me not being enough, it’s about me not doing enough. I’m a nice person– why aren’t I volunteering? I’m an artist– why aren’t I creating? I’m a writer– why aren’t I writing?
Art-wise, I haven’t been up to much lately. There’s just been so much going on– new people, clubs, meetings, classes… so today I took a break and set out a large chunk of time for myself. I listened to Phil Collins and doodled here and there in my art journal while I sat under a tree on the quad. Very collegiate.
So this is what I have been up to art-wise:
This is my work-in-progress shot of the Matisse drawing I did for my first assignment. My drawing class is amazing and I’m quite pleased with my work thus far.
Our second assignment was to draw an object of personal significance, so I drew my bangles. I’ve worn them almost every day since seventh grade.
Dueling mixtape covers for my pre-orientation trip leaders.
And a quick photo recap of what I’ve been doing during the rest of my time:
Quick shameless plug for my radio show on Wednesdays from 5-6pm EST. The provided link allows you to livestream, so even if you’re not in the 207, you can still jam. Okay.
En route to the super special secret nook in which I am presently ensconced.
So. Hopefully I can be more diligent about posting. The next giant chunk of time I allow myself will be spent photographing my art journal so I can post a quick page here and there. Thank you for checking back despite my absence!
So this is exciting: the book featuring three of my Zentangles comes out October 11th and Amazon has uploaded the preview. Guess who gets the first page of Chapter One art and quote?
Here’s the link to preorder the book on Amazon:
Yesterday I paid a visit to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine with my lovely friend Sam. Their summer exhibition, “Maurice Prendergast: By The Sea,” has had rave reviews in our community, so I was more than happy to see it.
My art history knowledge is limited, but I found Prendergast’s work to be unique, lively, and the perfect relief from this summer heat. The paintings are done in the Impressionist style. Most are watercolor which lends a light, luminous quality to the works. The oil pieces were equally as impressive, but there was something more organic and inspired about the way watercolor captured the energy of the coastal scenes.
But what I found to be the most rewarding and exciting portion of this show was Prendergast’s sketchbooks. They appealed to my recent interest in watercolor sketching and gave a glimpse into how art involved itself in Prendergast’s life when he wasn’t working on large paintings. He would even dedicate annual trips to the New England coastline for sketching and painting. Williams College has digitized his sketchbooks, which I was very excited to find. As we were gazing in awe at these books, Sam said: “I just really need to get in there and turn all the pages.” Now she can, and you can too!
The show is up until October 13th. You can find more information about the exhibit and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art here.
I found out on Friday night that I was accepted to Bowdoin College (which, for those not from around these parts, is a small liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine). I screamed. And then I cried.
And then I got the financial aid package and I cried again because I can go without crippling debts when I graduate.
Last night, I drove by the campus for the first time since receiving the news (I live five minutes away). I cried for the third time.
I couldn’t help myself. I feel so incredibly blessed and humbled and I wish I had an outlet for this energy radiating out of me. I don’t know what I should do first, or how to process all that has happened these past few days.
I have officially enrolled and I could not be more ecstatic!
My other college options did not unfold as expected/planned. Had Bowdoin not accepted me, I don’t know what I’d be doing with myself right now. I just… I’m speechless. For the first time in my life, I am truly speechless– about how my life is unfolding, the gifts I have been given, and the opportunities just around the corner.
If there’s one thing that I best remember my grandmother saying, it’s the ever-present echo of one single word: “Persevere!” Every time I’d get frustrated or want to call it quits, she’d sing-song this word– which, of course, would send me through the roof.
I was such an impatient kid, but I am becoming increasingly more aware that I have never truly conquered this childhood struggle. At this in-between phase of my new life, it feels like I’m often trapped in a revolving waiting room door: waiting for college acceptances, waiting to become aware of my purpose, waiting for the rest of my “real” life to begin. It hasn’t been since these changes have occurred that I’ve realized just how much I crave– and, to a certain degree, expect– immediacy. The old adage of “Good things come to those who wait” seems to me to be the most asinine phrase. Surely there can be nothing “good” about the restlessness, the anxiety, or even fear that comes with treading the waters of the unknown.
My need for patience has infiltrated every corner of my life, and it seems to me that this convergence must be a sign that now is the time where I have to learn my lesson. There’s no sense in putting it off any longer. I will wait for college acceptances and have faith that I will end up where I’m supposed to be. I will cut out the self-deprecation for X, Y, Z and wait for improvement and enlightenment. I will stop settling for things or people I’m not happy with and wait for something/someone right to come along. I will stop trying to force personal relationships and let them progress easily, naturally. I will not wish my youth away in anticipation for adulthood.
I will also have to wait to see the results of patience. The irony of this just seems too ridiculous to be real.
But it is. So I will wait, and I will savor it. Slowly, and with no reservations.
I started this new blog as an outlet specifically for my creative thoughts– for the words coiling around my brain, for the art itching to be seen, and for the occasional playlist or two.
I also started this blog to snap out of the Winter Blues. Here in New England, it’s a long, wet, miserable season that often decimates my motivation to create. I figure that with the added encouragement of a prospective audience, it just might give me the spark to get me going again and to maybe offer advice and guidance for those in a similar situation.
Finally, I just wanted to have fun with something! Art, music and literature have become opportunities for people to pursue elitism and general snobbery. That’s not what I believe the arts should be about. Art should be enjoyable for everyone, not just for those who are creating. Art should be open. Art should be freeing. Art should be a connection to our world, a reminder that the human experience is a shared one. So I’m not going to think, I’m just going to do. I’m going to open myself up and make what I make and write what I write. I am going to have fun.
Maybe this blog will help make a difference with my fight (or even yours!). But in the meantime, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the process.