Earlier this year I was going through a rough time mentally, and on one particularly challenging morning when I was feeling really heavy and frustrated, I turned on some music, grabbed my favorite oversized black marker and a pad of paper, and went to town dancing and scribbling on one sheet after the next until there was no more paper left. My energy went back to zapped afterwards, but for the elongated minutes it was happening I felt amazing and alive. If depression feels like being under the weight of boulders, this felt like flying.
Months went by before I did anything else with the scribbles. One day I picked them up and decided I’d make self-portraits of sorts out of them, selecting two from the stack and drawing one eye in pencil on each. I put down a tiny bit of color and added little by little over the next couple of months, pulling from my 30-day mixed media project back in 2014. Cliché sidenote: I can’t believe how quickly the last two years have passed. It makes me feel a little frantic, like, oh I hope I am making progress fast enough. (Fast enough for what, cheetah? Slow down. All in good time.)
I am trying to silence all the ‘voices of should’ that tell me what I should be making, how it should look, or what my process should feel like. Those voices are picked up everywhere and they are plentiful and hard to shake. There’s also been a paralyzing overwhelm of possibilities more recently, which tends to happen when my mood picks up. These scribbles are a way of cutting through that and just starting somewhere - doing what comes naturally and taking it from there. So many things I could do, so many things I should do, so many things I would do, so many things I want to do. Experience so far has taught me to go with my gut and find clarity along the way.
Plus... they're fun.
These two are on paper, which feels really natural and easy. I was talking with a friend the other day and she suggested trying them on canvas, which had never even crossed my mind before (I tend to keep my practices very segmented from one another in my mind - acrylic abstracts are on canvas, mixed media is on paper, etc.). It seemed like a fun challenge, so I started one on canvas yesterday. I'm trying to use some of the same materials, even though I've never used them on canvas before (like markers, pencil in finished areas, pen...). I've already learned a few tricks for next time, if I decide to make more on canvas. Obviously the canvas one isn't an original scribble from my flurry of dancing scribbles earlier this year, but I took the same approach. I love the feel of working on paper, but canvas feels so finalized and official. I think it's the cradled edges: perhaps I should try mounting my paper pieces to panels and see how that feels. On any note, expect to see more where these came from soon.