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What has been happening here in the world of me? I feel very proud and excited to have been accepted on to the MFA programme at the OCA after a year of trying. This fills me with positive feelings for my future as a painter; I’m also looking forward to interacting with other artists a lot more. I’ve isolated myself a lot from other people over the years, feeling scared to show who I am, scared of being rejected. Even people who really wanted to love me and have a friendship with me made me feel so terrified that they would someday discover that I’m not what they thought I was. Learning to accept myself and even love myself is an ongoing struggle that can be very hard but also very surprising and liberating, as I realize that actually I’m ok and quite like hanging out with myself.

As I’ve been painting a lot this year and rapidly gaining momentum in my work I started to feel like I really wanted this work to been seen, so I started sharing a lot of it on the internet here and there. I didn’t always get a response but sometimes I did, and it felt pretty good. Then I wondered how people had exhibitions of their work, where do they go and who do they ask? And I felt very small and scared by this. Another issue that cropped up alongside this was my studio space; it’s very basic with no insulation, heating, flooring and it’s full of holes. Luckily in Spain the weather is quite good most of the year so I’ve been able to get quite a bit of use out of it, but, all the same, in winter it’s freezing and in summer it’s sweltering. So, I thought, I don’t have any spare cash but I do have a lot of paintings and if I could just sell them I could do up my studio and make even more pictures. My boyfriend had told me about crowdfunding at some point and I thought it would be a great solution.

I started looking around at different crowdfunding websites and then it all got very scary because you have to present a project and if you don’t get all the money in your target you look like a failure and also doing this would mean taking a huge leap of faith and investing in myself much more than I ever have before. But during this second year of motherhood I’ve been going to therapy, studying art and working on learning to love myself and so after this work it suddenly isn’t impossible for me to do these things anymore. I can contact other artists and make friends with them, I can do an interview on someone’s blog, I can make a website of my work and now I can do a crowdfunding project! I can do these things and even though initially I feel quite sick about them, it all feels like a step in the right direction.

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Moreover, my fear of making terrible paintings has lessened and now I’m just curious to see what I’ll make next. This is beyond amazing for me, I have spent years and years feeling afraid of not being good enough but all the time harbouring this explosive creative energy that was bursting to get out. How do these things happen? How do you go through life thinking the wrong thing about yourself and being afraid to be you? That seems to be the battle; correcting negative beliefs one by one. I am a good artist, I am a good person, I am a good mother etc.

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Thinking about recent events… we’ve been in Maials (a medium sized village 40km south of Lleida) since the beginning of July. It’s on higher ground than Lleida so it’s slightly cooler and it makes the sweltering Spanish summer easier to bear. We’re staying in the top floor flat of my partner’s family home so we get a lot of help looking after our daughter Júlia. I was expecting to relax and slow down a bit, and I have but I miss being able to go to my studio every morning. In the summer I’m a full time mother and I get pretty bored and frustrated. I have been painting quite a lot actually but life here just seems to be hectic in other ways. What I love about it here is the silence and the stillness of the country, the breeze that always blows here, and the landscape is just breathtaking. It’s taken me many years to understand the people here, partly through my own doing, but since my daughter was born I’ve seen them in a different light. They are really good people and everyday on our walks around the village we always have plenty of people to stop and talk to. It’s a very simple life; we go down to the bakery to buy bread and Pepita gives us chocolate and tiny biscuits called pets de monja or nun farts, sometimes she shows us the big oven out the back. She always plays with Júlia and Júlia loves her to pieces. Then we keep walking and someone invites us to visit a kitten, then we go to the playground for a bit and it’s time for lunch. The mornings are nice, but then the strain comes after lunch when Júlia refuses to have a nap and it’s too hot to do anything else sowe just have to get through these times. When she does nap, I have time to paint and then in the afternoon she goes to play with her grandmother and great grandmother and great aunt and all the numerous relations who all live close by in the village. Then we, my partner and I have a few hours to go to the pool or go cycling, and it’s pretty great.

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2 thoughts on “Summer practice

  1. Thank you Judith for sharing this! I’m going through the same process (although without a child) and find strength and inspiration in your words. Thank you so much for your openness.Erna

    • Thank you Erna for your comment! I’m glad to share and find others who are going through the same thing. The hardest thing is to feel alone! Judith xx

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