watercolor pairsIn my last blog post, I acknowledged the artist in each of us. We each have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. These gifts have always been in us, but they take flight on their individual time frame.

I took my first art class in February, 2011. My goal for taking the class was to provide a source of conversation other than my work. I had grown aware that my work as an attorney had consumed and defined me. When people asked me what was happening in my life, all my answers revolved around work. I decided it was time to expand the range of answers to stories of exploration. Little did I know, my artistic foray was actually a soulful stirring that had been germinating for quite some time; it wasn’t a random choice.

As I step more powerfully into my artistic self-expression, I looked back in time to when it all began. I had the same doubts and insecurities as anyone who is learning a new skill and stepping far outside her comfort zone. First, I had to learn a new language: filberts (not a nut – a paintbrush), cold pressed paper, hot pressed paper, gum arabic, masking fluid… There was so much to learn! Second, and more importantly, I had to be willing to be uncomfortable not knowing what I was doing. I was intimidated and felt the unfamiliar feeling of the unknown. I like my controlled, comfortable environment where I’m in charge and know what I’m doing. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable was my new mantra.  I had a sneaking suspicion that adjusting to discomfort might be more challenging than learning how to paint!

Here’s a glimpse to when it all began, my journal entry on February 6, 2011:

2/6/11

I signed up for my first art class – water color basics. I spent Friday morning going to multiple art stores to buy the supplies on the extensive supply list. It was fascinating to watch my mind find excuses while it dealt with some fear and resistance. I had disempowering thoughts run through my mind as I took on this new and very foreign creative endeavor. Did I buy the right stuff? What did other people buy? Will I know how to do this? What if I can’t? What if I can’t find something to create? How will the teacher show up? What will she expect? I had so much unproductive mind chatter. I realized this is the same type of chatter that has defeated me in the past as it kept me from starting projects, attending events and forcing me to quit. This negative mind chatter has survived under the guise of self-preservation, reminding me of my need to look good and to do whatever it takes to not look bad, stupid or fail. I was sickened by this awareness.

Rather than be defeated by my unproductive thoughts, I decided to reprogram my mind. I stopped the negative thoughts and visualized myself in a wonderful setting with an amazing supportive teacher and classmates where my creativity would flow.

I showed up for the first day of class and the teacher was wonderful! It was a casual setting filled with ease, joy and fun. My only job was to show up. There were seven students and we all had the same questions before the start of class. Thank God, I wasn’t the only neurotic student. The teacher addressed our fears right up front. She acknowledged that most of us have not painted since grade school yet we expected to paint perfectly. She gently warned us that our work won’t be perfect and that’s ok. She urged us to have fun, enjoy, experiment and learn while she begged us to not expect perfection. By the end of class, I created my first piece of art.

It’s official. I started to create the life I want to live.

Water Color dabblingWater Color Mango