Refurbishing. This is not a metaphor.
Refurbishing. This is not a metaphor.

The more I think about it, the more I understand that for me, art and life couldn’t be separated.

The way I live, I eat, sleep, meet people is the same way I want to make art: I love to laugh, to be curious, to constantly learn new things and to spend time with people who care.

For years I had the feeling that something isn’t just right: I’ve been regularly stuck. Making art sometimes even hurts me physically. I often have to do a lot of internal work before I’d start the actual work. – Even though that I know this one thing in my life for sure: I am an artist, and I don’t want to be anything else in the world. Period.

For years I’ve tried to fix myself from outside with helpful tricks and techniques. It has always been only helpful for a short moment, but haven’t lasted until the other day. – And I’m sooo tired of this.

These are qualities that I wish to meet when I work
  • Ease. Just doing things without worrying too much about the outcome.
  • Playfulness. Giving myself permission to experiment and to invite mistakes.
  • Freedom. Detaching myself from what others may think about my work.
  • Safety. Knowing that I’ll be fine and that I don’t have to do things that I don’t want to do.
  • Trust. Following my instincts and my needs.
  • Beauty. When I say beauty, I really mean quirkiness. Because I think it’s beautiful.
  • To feel home. Like knowing, “This is my place. This is where I belong.”

Except for rare occasions, I’ve had none of those.

I now want to try a different approach.

What if I’d invite those qualities into my every-day life first?

We bought our house three years ago and due to life that happens, we didn’t manage to make ourselves feel home in all rooms. Our kitchen is lovely. But the rest? Our living room has been crowded with stuff for months, our bedroom isn’t as cosy as I want it to be (except for my sewing table) and my studio still isn’t my favorite place to work. The garden is a mess. I don’t really like this situation.

My idea is this: How can I have those qualities listed above in my work when I am not applying them to my daily life? If I’d be able to invite them into my life, perhaps this will change my work as well.

That’s why I started to refurbish the living room today. A lot of the stuff is gone already, and I want to paint the walls in a sunny yellow and the wooden panes in bright white. Right now there are several shades of white on the panels due to careless former refurbishing. I’m removing the several layers of paint and wallpapers from the walls right now. We live in an old house, and we just painted the walls white when we moved in because we didn’t want to do this work then.

It’s taking a lot of time. But when I was scraping the several layers I had an epiphany: I took a step back to have a look at the half-finished wall, and I realized that my life is like the wall! I am like this wall: So many layers of other people’s wants and needs that I cover myself with. You can’t see the true essence since there are so many layers. But if I remove the layers, I’ll find a strong and beautiful core beneath. It has a few minor and major injuries, but I’m going to repair them with patience and love. With every inch that is dis-covered, I bring the qualities in that I’d wish to be here. Yes, I’m talking about the walls, and I’m talking about myself at the same time. So it’s probably a metaphor though.

My gift to myself: taking all the time it needs, and to bring ease, playfulness, freedom, safety, trust, beauty and feeling home back to my daily life. Babysteps!

Do you ever had a similar insight? I’d love to hear it, especially if this approach did work for you.
Hugs!
– Jessica