The Experience of Growth

I remember staying up later than my bed time with my mom when I was 6 or 7 years old because I had what adults told me were growing pains. I clearly remember the aches in my ankles, knees and wrists while imagining my body being pulled in every direction by some outside force seemed ludicrous, it was the only explanation I was given. Both of us on the couch, I would curl up close to my mom to feel the warmth of her body and to find comfort in her touch as my body silently tortured itself into adolescence — experiencing growth in a physical way.

That's me on the far right, my adorable sister far left and our best childhood friends, Susan and Lori, circa 1985 (??)

That's me on the far right, my adorable sister far left and our best childhood friends, Susan and Lori, circa 1985 (??)

What also occurs to me now, years after the growing pains ended and the real pain of life began, is that while we were teenagers experiencing the emotional growth that nobody prepared us for, we were often told that it too would end. That once you were an adult it would all sort itself out and you would understand your place in the world with more confidence and grace. We were also made to believe that all those zits on our faces would magically disappear one adult-filled day in the distant, magical future. Well, it seems the adults in my teenaged years had it all wrong. I still get zits and I am only now mildly beginning to understand my place in the world with wobbly confidence and unfledged grace. 

Grade 7 I think, circa 1993

Grade 7 I think, circa 1993

This all being said as a preamble to the experience of growth as an artist. As some of you have seen on social media, I am taking Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells course for the second time, which was a decision solely based on the desire to see how far I've come, if I've gone anywhere at all. 

The latest assignment was to design plates with clients such as Anthropolgie or Crate & Barrel in mind. Of course, being a hoarder of beautiful dishes I was eager to get the assignment right — to create a set of dishes that I would love to own. I obsessed over it all week and the only thought that ran through my head was 'I can do better.' Not better than anyone else but better than what I thought I was capable of. Each time I sat at my work table I told myself to create something that I would be proud of, not just something that would pass as a job well done. And in the end, I created artwork that I consider beautiful.

My submission for this week's Make Art That Sells assignment

My submission for this week's Make Art That Sells assignment

The clarity I gained this week about how we allow old habits and fears get in our own way was, for me, monumental. I just always believed that other people could do it better even though I knew that I could do it too. It's as if my heart knew the truth of my ability but my mind would just tell my hands to go to the places I've always known. This week, I let something go. This is not to say that these plates are my masterpiece, not even close, but they are a seed planted for a new and exciting direction.

This was my submission for plate design the first time around! Zero photoshop/illustrator skills, and no idea what I was really doing -- but trying my heart out.

This was my submission for plate design the first time around! Zero photoshop/illustrator skills, and no idea what I was really doing -- but trying my heart out.

When I look back at where I started almost two years ago with this course, I am blown away at how far I've come and, for the first time in maybe ever, feel proud of what I've allowed myself to do. When I took Make Art That Sells in 2013 I never dreamed I would start a business in stationery, art or anything like it. I was simply dipping my toes back into a place I used to know. Turns out it's a place I am meant to be in — a place I was born to explore, understand, challenge and find comfort in. 

Until next time,

mMxo