Okay, I did it. I actually entered into an art contest. Luxembourg Art Prize, to be more specific. Really last minute decision, as deadline is tonight. I wanted to enter last year too, but I didn't have anything I felt was worth entering. As I'm slowly building up my portfolio (and confidence), now I have more pieces I'm actually proud enough to show off. I don't really care if I win or not; the point is to toss my hat into the ring and show the Universe that I mean business. What that leads to, well...that's just part of the mystery, and what makes life exciting, lol.
I had to sit a few hours and really think through what my artistic motivation is - to put words on something I've never put words on before. And I'm actually really happy with the result! Here it is. It's vulnerable and honest. Trigger warning: topics relating to mental health.
"I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. But I was told by my disapproving family that I wasn't good enough and was wasting my time. I even received a scolding when I was accepted into the art program at age 15. It was drilled into me that one needs to be born gifted, and talent is not something that can be learned and developed through hard work and practice. "One either has it, or not," and according to my family, I didn't. And I believed them.
Growing up in a household where I felt invisible, and being targeted by bullies in school for nine years, I felt alone, like I had no allies in the world. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for most of my youth. It cast a very dark cloud over my existence for years to come, and I walked through life in an apathetic numb zombie-like state, feeling I had no purpose or drive, thinking myself too weak, unremarkable and unintelligent to succeed at anything. Believing my critics and bullies, and feeling defeated, I gave up on life, and I also gave up on pursuing art after high school (though, I kept it up on a recreational basis). For years after, I simply went through the motions, working just to survive, feeling numb and disconnected from my body, heart and soul. Feeling empty and trying in vain to fill the bottomless void with distractions - ultimately to distract myself from the passing of time and the guilt and anxiety I felt over squandering my life, existing on autopilot.
My awakening came in 2015, when I ended up in the hospital from burnout, and my body was screaming at me to listen. I could no longer continue living a life so disconnected. My intense search to "find myself" began, and in healing, I walked through Hell, facing my deepest terrors, my darkest nights, and learned to love and accept myself - to embrace what my heart desired the most. I discovered a new reinvigorated passion and irresistible pull towards art - and expressing what is hiding within me - that I haven't felt since I was a child. I realized then and there, that I was meant to paint and draw - I was always an artist, and I was born for this. My heart always spoke to me - but I chose not to listen, because I lacked the courage to trust it. Trusting my heart would mean that I would have to show up - and I was so used to being invisible, that the thought alone terrified me to my core.
So, in creating, I am guided by my heart, my compass to become my truest, most authentic, naked self, and show myself to the world as I am. Art is my prayer to the infinite, the divine, the sacred. When I paint, I worship and I love. I lose myself and find myself at the same time, constantly pushing myself further and further. I paint the natural world - and the soul, the subconscious, and dreams inspire me. When I see a subject, or receive a vision, I feel drawn to it intuitively. It is a feeling in my chest, a warmth, like coming home. A knowing. An intense pull to express what's in my heart, and to channel the beauty, mystery and drama of existence. I work with watercolors, because the water lives its own life, and in learning to work with the water, I learn to surrender, to release control, and trust.
My deepest wish and profound motivation and need is to share myself and my creations with the world, to inspire the courage, curiosity, passion, joy and play in others, to express who they truly are. I already see that my enthusiasm and love is contagious, as many of my friends and family have also begun to discover the joy of painting. I am working towards freedom - towards making art my full time purpose in life, to paint every day, mastering my art, share it, and teach and support aspiring artists to believe in themselves and their inner compass.
Thank you for reading!