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Creative and BulletProof

April 17, 2011

There has been a blank canvas of a little summer jacket hanging in my studio since… oh… last summer, taunting me.  It was so cute in the Dharma Trading catalogue, I knew I’d just dye / paint / fix it up and it would be the perfect wrap over bare shoulders as an evening cools off.  But I couldn’t start.  It totally intimidated me: it’s an awkward shape to paint on, it’s a big project for me, I wanted it to be sooo awesome, I had visions far beyond my current ability.  And so it hung, mocking in it’s pristine yet boooring whiteness, looking vaguely like a scrub shirt.  I was cowed by a flimsy rayon ladies’ garment.

When an on-line class called Nurture Your Creativity + Be Bulletproof was offered by amazing artist lady Kal Barteski, it sounded like something I needed.  It has been eye-opening, mind-bending, and soul-charging.  She is an artist, but it’s not an art class.  She doesn’t teach how to draw a bowl of fruit or the proper technique for using oil paints.   Do It Yourself resources are legion; anything that works to   Get   You   Doing   is so much more valuable.  That’s the Bullet Proof part.  Identify what holds you back, why you don’t do what you want to do, and find the ways to get around, get past, get rid of those bullets.  Her usual advice for how to use art medium X is to just use it.  Jump in up to your elbows and don’t worry about how it’s going.  If it really is awful, it can go away.  You can start over.  But what if it’s awesome?  That is my favorite answer to all those negative What Ifs…  What if “they” hate it and say mean things?  What if I hate it?  What if it’s just a waste of supplies?  What if?  What if?  What if?!  Yeah, but what if you love it?  if “they” love it?  someone wants it?  This is just a peek at what I’ve been working on through this class, but the final outcome as we are finishing the last assignments now, is that the plain white jacket isn’t plain or white anymore.

The dyes I have for not-necessarily-silk fabric can leave a heavy hand.  Meh.  The fabric itself was a shade heavy to take the resist especially well.  Eh.  I was careful to keep my expectations very basic:  yellow like sunshine, red like flowers, simple stencils of kanjis for Love and Peace and cherry blossoms.  If they show, great!  If not, I know they’re there.  Undertaking a project like this for the first time, my goal really was just to complete it, even to see it as a practice, just testing out how these media will work together.  So now, it doesn’t look much like even the very hazy image I had when I started, but I did it.  And I like it!

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