Rereading a book that you loved the first time is like visiting a long lost friend. And when you've grown and changed, it's like finding out little things about that friend that you like and appreciate all the more.
Photo by Matthew Henry
Take Big Magic: a book written by Elizabeth Gilbert, also the author of Eat Pray Love. Big Magic is the kind of book that creatives seem to embrace. Have you read it?
One takeaway from Elizabeth is to give yourself a degree or certification even if you don't have formal training. It is something that could be called your BIRTHRIGHT and something that without it, the light inside you would turn off.
Initially, that was my experience as I stepped foot (publicly) into the art world in 2016. Full throttle, with no looking back, I ran around saying, "I'm an artist, I'm an artist, I'm an artist!" Generally, I was met with blank stares and people running (full throttle). I celebrated little successes, having applied to artist calls. My artworks hung in local galleries. I was accepted into an art association where I participate in critique groups monthly.
Life was full, but something was missing.
It was that feeling, like Elizabeth described. The feeling that when I met fellow artists or gallery directors and am asked, "Where did you go to art school?"
The only formal training I had was a masters degree in social work and a bachelors in music therapy. Art, however, was my "Doctorate" degree. It was the glue in tying up all my past personal and professional experiences.
And then the idea came. I needed to give myself a big, fancy art degree so I could keep the creative juices flowing. I mean, I'm over 50 years old now, so how much time do I have left on this earth to get this right?
What a better date to receive this degree than on 11/11/18 at 11:11 a.m. If you're one of "those" people that when you see 11:11 am or pm on the clock, you think to yourself, "Wow. Of all the times to look and see that time... well I am going to make a wish", then you would understand the significance behind the fancy art degree date and time.
I went down to the Hermosa Beach Pier, my home for the last 20+ years. You could see the layer of smoke in the sky, what with the Malibu and Agoura fires leaving their marks. It felt like a summer day. People were out playing volleyball, surfing and basking in sandcastles along the shoreline. I continued to walk on the Pier thinking I'd set up at its very end.
I heard the song, "Take me Home, Country Roads to the Place Where I Belong". This wasn't West Virginia, but it was a song from John Denver that I listened to as a young girl, before the times of "I'm not good enough, worthy enough" and all those other thoughts could take hold through the adulting years.
So I stopped. And I arranged 4 spray painted pillows in a half circle formation. I put the degree on a table top easel. I put stacking dolls, crystals, a mermaid ornament and a chime underneath and on either side of the easel. Pom poms went on top of some feminine lace fabric all in the middle of this circle. Sage was the next item to stage. I lit it and it blew from one side of the pier to the other. No one seemed to mind; not the fishermen nor the people walking.
(Photo of an artist's shoes (say no more).
And then came a fellow artist: Drica Lobo (owner of said shoes). Drica is someone of whom I've watched evolve in her own artistry, to the point of having her own solo show this past month (it was awesome). She sprayed "Kai" perfume all over me, the kind sold by one of our local surf shops, with the scent of gardenia flowers. The perfume brought back memories of my grandmother Josephine's favorite, and to me, she represents the epitome of creativity, so she was a welcome guest.
Watch the video for the "ceremony" and by bringing attention to my art degree, I'm hoping it will inspire others to pursue their own creative pursuits without provocation.
No more excuses. No more stickiness. On your mark, get set, go get that paint brush or finger paint.
It's time to go create.
Photo by Sarah Williams
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