Art as Therapy; Messy canvas, clear mind.
Self Expression is Self Nourishment
Feel bad. Pick up paintbrush. Make mark. Feel better.
Why? This weird thing I do with paint is free - obviously not in terms of materials - but the actual act of painting is not giving me anything physiologically speaking. It doesn’t provide nutrients to my cells, it doesn’t push my heart rate, or hydrate me.
There’s something about this expressive messy substance called oil paint that allows me to be as painterly & creative as what it feels like to be inside my brain - there is no other medium I use that conveys this as well. Illustration and all of it’s simplicity in line, form and colour - trains me to keep my creativity well formed. Embroidery is a slow paced craft, making me notice and appreciate tiny intricate details.
Well formed, slow paced, intricate. Oil painting is the wild opposite. It’s got no form, it’s fast, and any tiny details are created through a sudden expression of feeling, or the result of a happy accident. This unadulterated expressionism is a visual interpretation of how I feel at one moment. I try not to plan, or elaborately sketch out what I am going to paint - I am seeking something that has minimum limitation, which is often why I work to a large scale.
I’d be lying if I said I paint to please others or bring joy into their lives. Quite frankly my oil paintings are an individual documentation of mini moments of clarity, and I guide them in which ever way I feel appropriate. This is something I do for myself, and my own brain and if that gives joy to others as an after effect, I’m elated. But ultimately, this art is my therapy, and it’s my brain space that I’m marking on the canvas (or wood, or often my jumper).
Personal Creativity vs. Growing a small business
May is shaping up to be a pretty busy month for Ink & Thimble, which is utterly glorious and I’m not willing to complain about it in any way. Commissions, projects, weekends with families, and my birthday somewhere in there, it’s all stuff I wouldn’t change if I had the option to. But it’s also all stuff that I don’t want to resent in any way shape or form, as it may limit my time for personal creativity (something that as we know by now is pretty up there on the keeping the JB brain somewhat peaceful and satisfied).
How am I going to create a space of creative freedom whilst enjoying the focus and growth in my wedding embroidery and illustration?
PLAN - I have a new Zelo journal, which initially I intended on using solely for Ink & Thimble head sort life. But there’s been a plot twist and I’m changing it up to consist of my own personal goals, which includes completing one oil painting outside a month. That may seem entirely achievable and easy to do, but actually sitting in the little busy bubble that we create for ourselves and that is created for us by external events, it feels like a big ask.
In 6 months time I want to will have 6 visual representations of dedicated time to being outside & painting in my favourite medium, for myself. I don’t need them to be perfect or to feel happy with how they turned out, because that’s all learning anyway and I’m documenting the experience. I want to challenge that small business rhetoric of working all nighters, the stress and the personal sacrifice. My business is my life, because I have made it so. It’s my more structured creative pal, who allows me and encourages me to explore self expression and creativity because it knows it’ll feed back into it.
Pick up your paintbrush JB.