The Master’s degree for which this blog exists is almost at an end, and so as I let the dust settle on the last three years of my life, in which I have become a mother of two children, developed my artistic practice, studied for this degree, taught English and translated, I feel the need to come back to this place of reflection.
During the last few weeks as I wrote my essay it dawned on me that I have been trying to be another artist, a better artist since I was very young. I have always imagined that one day I would be this amazing other and all my work would have this amazing otherly quality.
Prior to this realization a series of significant events caused a mini earthquake inside me, let me explain; I had two tutorials with guest tutors, one praised me and said my work was brilliant, funny and touching, the other said she wasn’t very convinced. I had a very extreme reaction to both these evaluations. Following this I visited my therapist and explained these reactions. She asked me to draw how I was feeling about the whole thing. I drew my art self, which was bursting with colour and energy, but inside it were some dark splodges. I also drew another side of myself; the teacher, the mother, the adult. This picture was calm and cool with stone arches and reflecting water.
The upshot has been that I have come to recognize that for a long time I have needed to believe that my art self is the better part or the best part of me, and that if I didn’t have this part I would cease to be of any worth whatsoever. But this belief was a trap. Because I need all of me to be the best me and I have other qualities that make me worthy. I am a teacher, a mother, a friend and an adult. I guide and listen to others. Combining my art side, which could also represent my inner child, with my teacher or adult side I become a whole person that is able to grow and feel strong and rooted.
The reason I had such strong reactions to my tutors’ evaluations was part of this painful and toxic relationship with my art side. Since then I have also realized that I do not want to be another artist anymore, and I do not want to be a better artist, I want to be myself.
I have stopped looking outwards and started looking inwards and celebrating what I am and what, actually, I have been all along. Despite opinions from others, and education and what have you, there are some sorts of persistent inclinations that I lean towards time and again and now I am ready to listen, to follow and to fall.
Below: some recent work on paper (16x24cm) and one on canvas (40x50cm approx.)