Pablo Picasso said:
"Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up”.
When I was studying at the University of the West of England I think I realised I had lost the child in me. I wrote my ceramics dissertation entitled “The Perfect and The Free” I was intrigued how craftsmen through the ages had toiled with the dilemma of control versus freedom in their work. I was naturally a perfectionist, and hence found comfort in producing work that was precise and developed with control. Although this was held in high regard by my tutors I also knew they knew I wasn’t really letting go of my fear of failure. My drive for perfection was actually a screen. My child had run away to hide from the expectations and criticism of society.
I found ways of freeing my style with techniques, holding a pencil with my left hand instead of my right or drawing with a piece of charcoal attached the end of a long stick; throwing on the potters wheel with mixed clays which inevitably took on a life of their own as they distorted with the rhythm of the wheel…This helped, but only to a point.
Gosh how we tease the freedom and innocence out of children as they develop and grow….they have such a purity to their observation and interpretation of life! Unashamed and bold. But as adults we forget how to really see the world, instead seeing things through lenses tainted with pained experience.
So how then to free ourselves? I suppose it starts with trust, trust in ourselves to take a leap of faith, forget about the risk that people will not ‘get’ our work and just do it anyway. By holding a paint brush in our hand we hold a conduit for capturing the essence and beauty of life itself…by being present we can flow freely, caressing the page as if we are caressing the object in front of us. It’s more than seeing, it’s feeling, imagining YOU are the paint brush or pencil!
My most recent surprise is that while I was so fearful of anything spontaneous and ‘loose’ at University…I am now starting to have the most unexpected love affair with Watercolour. Many artists would say this is one of the most challenging mediums to work with as once you put a mark on the page it is almost impossible to cover it, as with Acrylics or Oils. You are committed to your first mark, your intuition and mistakes are left bare. This makes me feel alive, scared but alive.
At long last I think I may have started to find the child in me again…she flits between the adult world of expectation and that of fun & joy, but she is coming back…maybe in my next collection…
Since my Art Studio has been laying ‘Fallow’ I have had time to reflect on my own creation of Art and consider the pressures of the modern day Artist.
This blog is about the tension created when one decides to make a living from their love of art and how to keep that glowing drive to create from ones’ heart…
In today’s world we are all reminded how we should be successful and make something of ourselves - whether that be in a traditional career within an organisation or whether working for ourselves in a more entrepreneurial role.
Society teaches us to set goals and aim high. We often compare ourselves to our friends and colleagues and measure ourselves against others’ achievements. I remember a saying my Grandmother used to say…. ‘She’s a hard worker that one…she’ll go far’. I used to hear her say this about many different people and it came with the knowing that this is what was expected - and sound words they were. For sure, hard work and proactivity is important in growing towards our dreams.
However, there is a risk in striving for ‘success’ (whatever form that takes) and loosing sight of what really matters along the way. One of my favourite books ‘The Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ by Dan Millman describes this enigma and by the end of the book uses the analogy of climbing a mountain to demonstrate how we are all too often focused on reaching the top; getting to that pinnacle, expecting that the goal will finally fulfil us. When what we have actually done in being so focused is to miss all the beauty of the journey on the way! We didn’t pause to take in the view and notice the flowers beneath our feet!
I started with a goal to produce ‘emotive art’ ~ images that move people in some way and ‘touch a part of their soul’. I knew I needed to start with a subject matter that I felt passionate about; this was a good authentic beginning for me, in line with my truth. But along the way I found myself imagining what people might expect of my art and feeling somewhat daunted by the pressure to produce work that people would like and ultimately want to buy. The irony being that as soon as I lost myself in this commercial whirl wind I was at risk of losing the very thing that would make me successful ~ painting from my heart. Instead I had started to align my motivations to produce customer focused artwork.
There is a saying Deepak Chopra shares ‘perform action without regard for the fruits of your actions’. This does not mean not caring what happens, but trusting that the when the intention is set you can let go and trust that the path will open in front of you. As long as you can be present and open to possibilities the next step will become apparent.
I had lost my quiet centre…I was striving to fulfil and satisfy outside of my control. Now I realise that all I need to do is keep the end in mind and be open to what opportunities appear in the meantime. Some works of art will sell and others may not, but as long as I paint from my heart and for the love of art and creation…I will attain my goal, without attachment but with joy and belief.
I hope you read this blog and it helps to nudge you back on your path if you feel you have strayed. We all do, but it’s fun finding the way back and when you tread back on your path with an open mind and keeping the end in sight, anything and everything is possible.
If you are interested to find out more about the ‘Energy of Attraction’ then please log onto Deepak Chopra’s website and download the meditation course, I highly recommend it.
My working ethos is 'Play & Revelation' where I continually explore new ways of working, sometimes even destroying works to transform into new!
From February 2019 Sonya will be selling her collections at 'Leaf Creative' in Huntley, owned by Peter Dowle. This beautiful garden centre specialises in unusual shrubs, acer trees and hand selected plants. The perfect place to showcase her leaf inspired ceramics!
Sonya is pleased to announce that having been a provisional member with the Cotswold Craftsmen during 2018, she has now been accepted as a permanent member and invited to be publicity officer on the committee. Sonya will be exhibiting her work at a number of County Shows in 2019 - watch her events page for more upcoming details.
Sonya is now offering 1 day 'Pottery Workshops' with a national craft course provider. Start 2019 learning something new! In 1 day attentive tuition with Sonya you will learn throwing, coiling and hand-building techniques.
website by Viper Marketing : (c) Sonya 2016