Hello again! It has been a long time since I’ve written here. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you know I’ve been busy during my time away. I found that it was easier to complete work and post it there than it was to compose and format a blog post here. And with limited time, I needed to be efficient with the few free moments I had. However, I found that more often than not, I was stretching to the limit for length of Instagram posts and editing them down was becoming more time consuming, and sometimes difficult, which made me realize that I needed to writing blog posts and not trying to squeeze all my thoughts into 2200 characters.
I feel that all of my recent growth as an artist can be attributed to challenges. It all started when I participated in the monthly drawing challenges a year and a half ago hosted by Creativebug. They kept me accountable and gave me a goal to work towards. I was also able to build a community through Instagram and connect with others who were working on their drawing and painting skills as well.
By the end of the year, I didn’t’ want to lose any of the motivation and momentum I had gained so I decided to take on the goal of completing a 365-day challenge. I was incredibly lucky and won a giveaway that Tori Weyers from @drawriot was hosting which included a tiny daily Moleskine journal. I never would have chosen a book that small or with that type of paper, but that little book quickly became one of my most cherished possessions and I absolutely adore it.
On January first of this year, I created a page and wanted to add a message so I stamped a word on top of my artwork. The next day I wanted to continue the thought and did it again. I never intended for that to become “my thing” for this project, but it stuck and every single page has a word on it that has something to do with my post for the day. Most of them are stamped with a tiny alphabet stamp set I have, but there are a handful that have words from a printed piece of paper (newspaper, a fortune from a cookie, etc…).
I had only been writing brief posts to accompany my journal pages. A few words to describe the process or style, something vague and generic. I was too scared to get too personal or reveal too much. It was easier to hide behind my artwork. But the more I connected with people on Instagram, the more I realized it was because of their stories. I learned that I had a lot more in common with the people I followed and admired than I ever thought possible. And it was through their stories that I found strength and inspiration. So, I decided to be brave and started to share a little more of my stories. Then they became longer, longer and longer. I never imagined that anyone would read them, but they did. And I started connecting with people through those words. My words.
I have always loved writing. I have always wanted to be “a writer.” But fear and lack of self-confidence have always seemed to talk me out of it. Many times, I have set my writing aside. But it finds me. It always finds me. It doesn’t give up on me even when I give up on it. And through all those challenges – the drawing, the painting, the collage – somehow, words are what rose to the surface and emerged through all my layers of color and paper. This realization does not mean that I am giving up on my other art, not by a longshot. In fact, I’ve learned that I need them both. They need to work in tandem, that’s where they get their strength. That’s where they belong.
Thank you for following along, for taking the time to read all the words, for pausing to look at the pictures, for commenting, for connecting. We, like art and words, are all stronger together. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for the community I’ve discovered on Instagram. I was terrified to post my work, worried about harsh criticism and cruel comments. But all I’ve gotten are friendships, support, encouragement and the most amazing inspiration. And that’s what I hope to give back. My dog Murphy and I are still taking walks in the morning, still finding lots of amazing stuff and I have a lot of exciting news to share, places I’ll be and stories to tell, but for now, I just wanted to say hello. And thank you for stopping by.