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I am Not an Artist

That’s what I’ve told myself all my life.

So why, you may ask, did I create an online presence around my “healing doodles?”

Well, the most obvious reason is that it made me sad to have the hundreds of doodles that I’ve drawn since 2011 sitting in a box.

Of course, some are on the wall.

Some sit on a table.

Some I even wear.

A few styles of my graphic t-shirt.

And some have been given away to a nice home. But most of my drawings are tucked away in an archival black box, never to be seen. (And likely to be summarily disposed of upon my death.)

Art is to Be Shared

I believe art is to be shared with others, though the act of creating art is usually a sublime solitary pleasure. And today I no longer believe that only gallery-approved “great art” is worthy of being shared. Think about a child’s painting that brings tears to your eyes or fills your heart with joy.

But my goal for this effort is not all about the art, although it’s my hope that the feelings it’s intended to evoke and the messages embedded in it will resonate with you.

My Goal for this Blog

My true intention is to use this platform to share my experience around overcoming obstacles to creating art, finding courage in the face of fear and self-judgment, and about accomplishing what we think we can’t.

It’s about letting go of perfectionism and comparison and labels.

It’s also about persistence, practice, and patience, about doing stuff that’s really hard … and discovering that we can do it, even if it seemed impossible at the start.

It’s about discovering that making art can be a healing balm for those with health issues.

Finally, it’s about moving from artistic anorexia to discovering and embracing our own unique approach to creative self-expression. And having the courage to share our work with the world!

Who is an Artist?

Since 2011, I’ve explored many different art forms. But doodling is, by far, my favorite. It’s the best way I’ve found for freeing my creativity, calming my mind, overcoming my overwhelming perfectionism, bypassing my hyper-vigilant self-criticism, and dissipating my intense need for things to look a certain way.

Misguided though I may be, when I think of who can legitimately call themselves an artist I think of someone who may or may not have an art education, but who has a certain elegance and style. Someone who can probably draw a straight line, which, to this day, I can’t.

The label “artist” paralyzes me and has kept me from creating art in the past, and certainly has prevented me from sharing it with you. This “artist” label makes me feel less than and needing to meet a certain internal (and, let’s be honest) external standard of what work is “good enough” and should see the light of day. I can’t handle that much pressure.

Thinking of myself as an artist has kept me from being one.

For the first two years, doodling was a non-stop, driving passion because it was so soothing and calming. I know now that it was moving emotions that I couldn’t yet touch onto the paper, providing a visual entryway into a mystical healing process that has changed me profoundly. Doodling has now become an integral part of my life and healing process.

Today, I can celebrate that something I consider lovely comes through me onto the paper even though I have no idea how it happens. It’s my hope that you’ll give me the opportunity and the honor to share in your creative journey as well.

I AM an Artist!

The game changer for me came six months ago when I dipped my toe into Instagram with my art. I hired an amazing Instagram coach who gently held my hand and helped me walk through the door (kicking and screaming). It’s been the incredible support I’ve received from my very, very tiny following (more about all of this in a later post) that shifted my viewpoint and enabled me to not only believe I am an artist, but to begin experimenting and growing my skills! I now even have the beginning of an Etsy shop as well as a Redbubble and Fine Art America store!

I’ve had a blast trying new things, like stitching my doodles and pure abstract art! I would NEVER have had the courage to do this before! Much less share my highly imperfect results with the world!

 

I’m NO Expert!

I’m DEFINITELY no expert at any of this: art, healing, recovery. It’s just that, now that there has been a seismic shift in my life around making and sharing art, I feel a profound responsibility to pay it forward in the hopes that someone may find comfort, help, and healing through my experience.

In addition, I’d like to share with you my lessons learned through this process, from supplies I’ve tried, to methods, to technology. Maybe my lessons learned will help you to side-step some of the hard-won obstacles I’ve overcome in my own path.

So I invite you to walk with me down this path and we’ll discover where our journey leads together.

We are never cured from the human condition. Pain, and even suffering, are part of life. But, by opening our eyes to the beauty all around us, even in the darkness, and by embracing and engaging in our own creative self-expression, we can bring balance to the struggle.

2 Comments

  1. I loved reading this and am so glad you started sharing more about your heart and your journey!

    – your friend in insta

    • Susan B. Susan B.

      Thank you so much, Kira. I really appreciate it.

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