Blog hop! and a rather "distracted" girl...
Hey there! This post is part of a blog hop! At the end I'll answer some questions about art and writing + you'll get to meet the lovely artist I'm following and the 3 awesome artists who will be following me in the blog hop next Saturday! But first, I'd like to share some musings on a topic that a friend recently asked me about: distraction... Dear D.,
You wrote to me on facebook, a few days ago, looking for advice, asking me how I handle "distraction". Well, as much as I would have loved to answer you that day, I didn't. Instead, I told you I would get back to you a little later. Why?... Well, maybe I needed to think about it for a little while. But most importantly, your message came as... a distraction! A sweet one, for sure, but a distraction all the same. I know that on facebook and other social media, we tend to think that people expect a fast reply, a quick comment, instant attention. And we often flutter from answering an email to chatting with someone who just messaged us, to clicking on a link, to answering the phone and then back to the email. Distraction all over the place. I'm not sure I'm "handling" it all that well. I do, nevertheless, struggle with it quite a bit on a daily basis. Just like you, I guess.
As you may know, this is a very, very busy year for me, with very little time for art-making, even though it's at the top of my list, right after my husband and my kids. Last week, with lots of work at the nursing home, I also had a big exam to pass. This week, on top of being at school full time, I performed in a play for children twice, as part of my training program + I still need to draft a text for a coming art show because the deadline is, well, now + I also committed to participating in a blog hop, maybe because it was a good opportunity, but above all because I just couldn't stand not blogging for so long + this week-end is fully packed with my little sister's bachelorette party and another gathering with friends on Sunday.
So if I take the example of your message again, here is how I "handled" this "distraction": I took a step back, resisted answering you on the spot, took the time to breathe and get back to my own pace and priorities. Decided I would answer you, but a little later. I kept your question in mind and started thinking about itfrom time to time, mostly on the bus. I worried that I would never find the time to answer you properly. Then tried to see things differently, changing my perspective, and had an idea: I would answer you in my blog hop post! Sometimes a distraction can turn into an opportunity...
Last night I decided to make time to start writing this very post. But another "distraction" got in the way: my 7 year-old son couldn't sleep because something was bothering and scaring him: the lyrics of the french national anthem, the "Marseillaise" that he had been learning at school (thank you soccer world cup, grrr...). Very often, when he interrupts me in what is supposed to be my quiet time, as well as my creative working time, I lose patience and get pretty angry. Last night, though, I could feel he was not faking it but was truly scared (and rightly so, our anthem is awfully bloody and violent, don't get me started on that!). Anyway, I postponed writing this post and took the time to have an in-depth, soothing conversation with him: we talked about violence, about the french revolution, about human rights, about democracy, about responsibility, about God, about freedom, about peace. And then he fell asleep. Sometimes a distraction is also a priority.
Here is another recent example: last week, on Thursday morning I had this very important exam. Not the kind where you sit in a classroom and write a paper. Rather the kind where you gather 7 elderly people with dementia in a small room to tell them a story and sing them songs, with 2 examiners taking notes on your every move and interrogating you afterwards. The kind when you need to be fully not distracted. The night before, as I was about to shut down the computer, I had this impulse to check when the next issue of Somerset Studio would be released, as I knew I had an article in it for the very first time. I was feeling stressed because of the coming exam and just needed to think about something different, fun and art-related for a few minutes. Sometimes you actually need a little distraction! But I was in for a huge surprise and a rush of pure, pure joy, and excitement and gratitude. But I had this exam coming and was supposed to go to bed early. Except I really didn't want to sleep anymore! What I really wanted was to delight in that joy, to embrace it and share it, in the moment. And I allowed myself to. Sometimes you need to surrender and just enjoy distraction. But the next morning I just forbade myself to think about it. I had to stay focused and do my best. Sometimes you need to make an effort to shut out distraction. Had I not allowed myself to take the time and enjoy it fully, it might have been even harder not to think about it the following day. I don't know yet if I passed, maybe I did, maybe not, but in any case, I know I won't regret enjoying that moment, because that "distraction" was even more important to me, to this journey I'm on, than the exam. Once again, it's about knowing your priorities.
That said, when I decided to go back to school for a year and a half, I knew I just couldn't do it all, and had to reassess my priorities. Even if it's not easy to admit, some of them had to be put on hold. That's what happened to my facebook page, to my blog, to some art shows opportunities, but also, to some extent, to my family life. My beloved little sister is getting married and I would have loved to get more involved in the preparations, but it has just not been possible. My training program still has 8 months to go and I need to avoid burn-out. When you've got too much on your plate, some priorities can become distractions. Sometimes it's important to know your limits and say no.
So here it is, dear D., I hope I answered your question... But I'm not done yet, I still have the blog hop questions to answer too. I'll try not to get too "distracted" and give shorter answers here!
1) What am I working on/writing?
I'm allowing myself to enjoy writing this long long blog post after what feels like ages of not pouring my heart out! On the art side, I'm working on an abstract painting, 10 minutes a day and for now I've titled it "quiet time"...
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
I think, I feel that my art is a full expression of me, heart, soul, imperfections and all. Each of us is unique, so I guess it's unique too.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Like many other mixed media artists (who rock the world by the way), I write this blog because I feel the urge to connect and share my journey with others. Because it makes sense to me. I don't really mind artists who prefer to keep their process to themselves or surround themselves with an aura of mystery. That's just not me. And I want to be me.
I also write positive intentions, thoughts and intuitive musings all over my paintings because words hold power and work their own magic. They are part of my way of expressing myself. They tell stories. And I love stories.
Another reason I write (and I know it can seem a bit odd, but well, that's me) is that I need to express myself in English, and have very little opportunity to do so where I live. It's not a choice, it's a gut feeling. In fact, I know that writing on my paintings in French would probably be a smart marketing move, giving them that fashionable "french touch". Except that would not feel right to me. If I were to explain it, I guess you could say that French is the language of my left brain and English the language of my right brain. And like most creative people, I'm more of a right-brainer. So really if you think about it, it's not odd: it's scientific.
4) How does my writing process work?
I don't really have a process. Sometimes I start with an idea, something I've been thinking about (on the bus, waiting for the bus and running after the bus are usually where it happens). Sometimes I have a new piece of (he)art to share, I start with the pictures and then let the story unfold (some paintings have a lot to tell...). And other times I just feel the urge to write, write, write without having any idea what is going to "come out".
And now let me introduce the artist and friend who asked me to join this blog hop: Michelle Quesada! And 3 ladies I loooove who are amazing, inspiring artists and beautiful wild souls : Ginger Deverell, Jessica Brogan and Galia Alena! They will be publishing their blog hop posts next Saturday, so stay tuned!
Michelle Quesada is an artist, a creative, and a social worker living in southwest Washington with her husband, son, and teenage daughters. When she is not fighting social injustice or spending time with her family, she pours her time into her creative pursuits including acrylic painting, mix-media journaling, and writing over her musings. You'll find her on her "Mused" Facebook page and she is also owner of Facebook community page Mused which champions the cause for a more creative life for all of us. She is a regular contributor to creativity challenges for people who aspire to live more fully in the creative flow. This year Michelle started up Michelle Quesada Art to showcase her artwork, Connect with her on Facebook art page, her website and blog and Etsy shop. Read Michelle's blog hop post HERE!
Living in Vancouver, Canada, Ginger Deverell is a mixed-media artist and designer who paints for beauty and healing. She feels there is such power in beauty, in growing, in being and knowing yourself. Creating is her way of processing her experience in this world, a journey of self-discovery. She expresses this in her art with the hope that others will use it as a mirror to see and celebrate their own beauty and truths. Ginger is also the talented creator of Red Pear Creative, a boutique art and design company producing exquisitely simple designs coupled with eclectic and colourful art. To find out more about Ginger’s creative journey and art, visit her blog, her website, her Etsy shop or connect with her on her Facebook page!
Jessica Leigh Brogan is a published photographer, writer and frequently published artist in magazines such as Art Journal Magazine, Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors. She also facilitates the wildly popular, International Card Deck Swap. Her mission is to encourage women to free themselves from self-imposed limitations and shackles. You can find her musings at www.jessicaleighbrogan.com
Light chaser, wanderlust gypsy, clay slinger, paint splasher, word crafter, sacred journaler, beauty unveiler, adventure seeker and soul feeder... Galia Alena is a “coeur”ageous pioneer artist with a poetic vision exploring intuitive wisdom. Her images evoke tranquillity and infinity, coaxing the viewer to participate into the self-exploration which successfully ties the lyrical to the universal. They reflect an understanding of mythical and archetypal wisdom common to us all, yet from a supremely vulnerable individual perspective. “It is through my creative practices that I feed my soul and return to myself always afresh.” Galia lives in Sydney, Australia. Find out more about her art on her beauty-full blog, her Facebook page, and her artistic website.