For the next few weeks, I’m reading the book Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.
Creative Thursday is a book about learning to make creativity a daily habit. Over the last few years, I have made creativity a priority, but just like any habit or practice, it requires consistent attention.
Chapter 7, Finding Your Voice, is particularly relevant to me this year. This is the year I chose to focus on my painting…in particular, painting girls. This chapter discusses how to find your voice. It was not difficult for me to find my voice, the difficult choice was to focus my voice. I don’t think narrowing your focus is necessary for a creative life, but I do think it is helpful for an artist who wants to create a recognizable style or body of work.
Chapter 8, In Search of Encouragement, is one of my favorite chapters and deals with sharing your work and being encouraged. I love what Marisa says, “If I were to strip this book down to the bare bones, that would be the message. This is about creating for you. Whether professional or hobbyist, never lose sight of the fact that this practice is always about creating for you. Tune out other’s ideas of what life is supposed to be and tune into your own voice.” This is often easier said than done, and Marisa talks about how to start sharing your work and arranging supportive environments. Sharing my work at this stage of life is much easier than it probably would have been when I was younger because I’m much gentler with myself, and I don’t put as much stock in other’s opinions. This is not to say that it doesn’t make me feel scared and vulnerable to share my work, but I’m better able to walk my way through it. Marisa also suggests using tokens or totems…symbols to remind and help yourself along. My favorite totem is a picture of myself as a little girl, that I have hanging in my studio. It’s helpful to my creativity because when I look at it, I remember that as a small child I didn’t compare myself to others. I was curious, happy and loved to creative. Remembering that child-spirit helps me to be myself.