Moonwater and Other Rituals of Navigation

Photo of a small black and white ceramic vase I bought as part of the #ArtistSupportPledge

Every weekend I open a “new post” window, and there it sits, staring at me with its blank, accusatory stare. No, the accusation comes from within.

The pressure I put upon myself, the spreading myself too thin, unwittingly, every time a create a ‘weekend’ list— I hobble myself with overwhelm! I did cross lots off my list yesterday but today I’ve been lazy, reading the sunday paper and blogs.

One of the missives from Louise Fletcher‘s Art blog + podcast had an interesting outline of “types” of artist, and it resonated with me immediately. I’m not going to put her words here with the descriptions, but it sounds like it will be a future post on her site, so look out for it there. They are somewhat self-explanatory, but she really nails them in her descriptions (The People-Pleaser, The Disciple, The Perpetual Student, The Critic, The Perfectionist, The Producer, The Artist).

I’ve decided to share my response to her below. It aligns with what I wrote last night after a friend’s zoom ritual of making moonwater for the new moon, followed by jotting ideas around letting go of what doesn’t serve you, and finding new ways to do, to be, to move forward— very timely under the sway of a pandemic which has upended our lives in such far-reaching and often devastating ways.

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Thank you so much for this! It prompted a visceral response, as I recognized myself in most of these classifications.

I know that I have elements of most of these in me— but my approach / stilted practice is usually not aligned with “The Artist”. It’s always been (and remains) my goal to get back to it, as I was in college more than any other time of my life.

— The People Pleaser 
— The Critic
—The Perfectionist
— The Producer (this one has majority rule in me; is an aggregate of the first three)

— The Artist— I do occasionally stumble upon the Artist in myself, and it’s been coming round primarily in my etching classes. In fact, my most recent piece I started on, and was rudely interrupted by the Pandemic, is the closest I’ve gotten to the Artist mindset in years, and it was thrilling! I had a little of this in my masked portraits early on in lockdown, but those were still very safe as working digitally is, by its very nature, safe. 

What’s frustrating is that I know, intellectually, that when I get out my supplies (any of them!) and really start getting into it, and don’t worry about making a mess or ‘wasting’ supplies, that I usually find my way back to that curiosity and exploration! But I often get frustrated because it leads me down so many paths. I’ve worked in so many mediums over the years, and each one has quite a different ‘feeling’ or visual outcome. And what I’ve always wanted was to arrive at a place where my work is instantly recognizable as mine, which has never been the case. I attribute this in part to being a professional graphic designer / illustrator, so a lot of my work has to suit a specific need. That way of working —efficient and project-based— invariably bleeds into my art practice. It’s very hard to separate them, emotionally.

I’m in need of a distillation; to actualize the knowledge that just because I ‘can’ do this or that decently well isn’t a reason to continue doing this or that; to get to the real work that creates joy in me, and that is only my authentic voice.

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The photo at the top of this post is a piece of pottery that I purchased as part of the #ArtistSupportPledge on instagram. I plan to join the pledge (one of the many things on my list), so perhaps my next post will be about that.

4 thoughts on “Moonwater and Other Rituals of Navigation”

  1. I think you are an amazing artist and have a recognizable being in whatever you create. Maybe that’s just me seeing so many of them so often, but I think your work is always part of some sort of family. I love that family and always look forward to meeting whichever member is born next. xoxo Z

    1. Thank you so much for this, Zac. It means a lot to me. I think there is often some thread running through, but it can be difficult to find readily at times, so I’m looking forward to a bit of editing 🙂 xoxo

  2. Though I loved playing guitar, I got to the place where I decided to put it aside to allow me to focus on piano. I don’t regret it…but I do miss the guitar.

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