Recovering a Sense of Safety…
Haha! I did it! One week later and I completed Week 1 of the 12 Week program The Artist’s Way!
Here’s the bit where I publicly Check-In – the accountability part which, in my mind, is precisely what makes coaching work, whoever you choose to work with as your coach. (I chose you!)
Here’s how I got on – the 10 tasks this week were as follows;
1. Write your Morning Pages every day.
How many days this week did you do your Morning Pages? 7 out of 7!! Even on the days I didn’t think I would, I managed to do them. Not always first thing in the morning, and I didn’t get up half an hour earlier, but always in the morning. Well done me?!
How was the experience for you? I’m not sure if writing them is making a difference in my creativity, but it’s helping me think out loud and get clearer on a daily basis.
2. Take yourself on an Artist’s Date.
I went with a fellow artist, Emma Plunkett, on Thursday to the Centre de Arte Contemporaneo in Malaga. We both felt uplifted and inspired after standing in front of so much great, and not so great, contemporary work. We’ll both be showing our work there at some point in the future… By the way, all these photos are from our trip to CAC – thanks Emma!
3. Create your Monster Hall of Fame – list 3 old enemies of your creative self-worth.
I kept putting this off, convincing myself that I’ve done this exercise before, so I’m doing it now…
- my teacher in my last year of primary school – exposure, ridicule – after that I shrink & hide
- my teacher in grammar school – ignored & overlooked any ability I had, was only interested in her ‘star’ student – not one word of encouragement. I know this now to be a gross exaggeration – she did praise and encourage in her own way, it just felt like she wasn’t interested or engaged. She probably wasn’t.
- my first client in New Zealand when I worked as a colorist in a tv post-production studio – he demanded another colorist take over, saying I didn’t know what I was doing and things like “you call that white?” – he ridiculed me & he destroyed my fragile confidence in my own judgement – after this, I avoid stepping up and taking risks
4. Write a Horror Story from your Monster Hall of Fame.
I can remember this clearly from my coaching course earlier this year;
My last year in primary school. I’m 10 years old. Art class. We’re doing paintings to look like stained glass windows. Everyone else manages to paint theirs keeping the thick black ‘lead’ lines apart from the bright colors in between. I get so into the process of painting the lines, that my black paint is thick and sticky and doesn’t dry, so when I paint the colors, everything mixes together… the bright yellows and blues and reds turn a muddy brown in many places. Our teacher notices this ‘mess’ even before I’m done and stops the whole class, holding my painting up for them all to see, saying, with a snide laugh “this is how not to do it!”. The whole class starts laughing at me. I am mortified and feel like crying and running away. Instead I stand there and take it.
5. Write a letter to the editor in your defense. Mail it to yourself. I haven’t done this yet.
6. Create your Hall of Champions – list 3 old champions of your creative self-worth.
- My art tutor: when I was 16, our art teacher at school went on long-term sick leave, so some of us got pro-active and took ourselves to night school. this teacher rationalised the whole art exam thing and brought out the best in all of us – about 6 of us exceeded all expectations, getting an the top grade for our ‘A’ level Art.
- Terry & Stan – my tutors at Chelsea School of Art – what fabulous mentors! All these two did was encourage us to enjoy and stretch and grow as artists. To find our own styles, to work through our weaker areas and love the challenge. I’m eternally grateful – in my year in their classes, I developed the confidence and drive to be able to
- David, my partner/soulmate – David was one of the first people to give me 100% honest feedback on my work. This has given me such a sense of security to build on – if I really want a second opinion, I can trust him completely.
7. Select & write out one happy piece of encouragement. Write a thank-you letter. Mail it. in progress…
8. Imaginary Lives: If you had 5 other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them? I would be…
- an Architect – Frank Gehry is one of my heroes – imagine creating models of buildings with swirls of paper – and then actually building the real thing and being able to step into your vision – awesome!
- an Astronaut – I love all that official countdown drill and flicking of switches, everyone knowing just what to do and playing their part in an out-of-this-world event. I love the idea of going places no one else has ever been. As a kid, one of my favorite movies was Star Wars. All that adventure and strangeness. The boys and I have been watching those films online for Virgin Galactic – book me a seat, I’m there!
- a Film Director – telling everyone what to do, crafting a huge incredible vision, knowing exactly what you’re after in terms of performances and the world of your film – what fun! Working with some of the best people in the whole industry, giving you their all… and then weeks in the edit suite, molding and shaping, finding the rhythm, creating the experience for your audience… and then the premier… the praise… and then onto the next one.
- an Opera singer – I worked for a season at the Royal Opera House and I loved it. The drama, the blood, sweat and tears, but most of all, curtain up – the amazing feeling of all eyes in the audience focused on the stage and that wonderful feeling of being swept away for a few hours into a totally original and unique performance. Magical…
- A natural history cameraman – this is because we’re watching the BBC’s Nature’s Great Events at the moment, but it’s always fascinated me – the dedication and sheer determination that some of these crews have to get the shot they are after, often trekking for weeks into the unknown, overcoming all obstacles and ultimately, contributing to increasing our awareness of this amazing planet we share with millions of other species.
Look over your list and select one. Then do something about it this week! I forgot to do this – will do it in Week 2.
9. Start a list of affirmations & blurts. This was a powerful exercise, which I’ve also written about over on my coaching website, Room on the Edge. I started, as Julia Cameron suggests you do, by looking back at my life in 5 year segments and working out where/who some of the negative phrases and self-talk may have originally come from. This is an ongoing exercise, as you keep adding to your list. Taking each negative statement, the goal is then to turn it around and make it into a positive, supportive one.
10. Take your artist for a walk, the two of you. A brisk 20 minute walk can dramatically alter consciousness. My exact words last week were “I’ll leave this for an intuitively spontaneous moment during the coming week…” On Wednesday, I found myself laughing, as I realised I was actually doing this ‘art’ walk. It was like an art sandwich – a journey from arthouse to arthouse – from giving my artist friend Anna DiGesu a blogging lesson – to the house of the client who commissioned a painting for Christmas. It was windy and raining and uphill all the way. It was the first walk I’d taken by myself this new year. It was beautiful and inspiring – with the ocean on one side and the super-green agaves and rocky cliffs on the other – everything melted away and the moment came flooding in… transforming.
And finally, part of the Check-In from the book;
Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant in your recovery? Describe them.
- I made a plan with my father to re-roof the yurt studio, which is in a dire state after the winter storms and presently very not waterproof. After doing some research, we now have most of the information we need – cost of materials, chosen technique and a rough date to do the work. A few month’s back, I was so unsure that we would stay here, that it was hardly worth thinking about long-term solutions and investments like weatherproofing the studio – now, it feels right – just get on with it – however long we’ll be here, it’ll be worth it.
- I paid my €15 to secure a pitch at next month’s local Nerja Art Fair. One small step for mankind… it’s a start and gives me something to work towards.
- I posted two series of images of my recently-completed paintings, “Shine” and “Transforming the Light”. It felt like an ongoing process is in motion. It felt good.
Join me in the 12 weeks along The Artist’s Way. Get your own copy of the book here:
And visit Julia Cameron’s Artist Way Online here.