This month’s word update is yet another me-unpacking-my-personal-baggage kind of post. Actually, it’s turning out that this word . . . space . . . is leading to a lot of that kind of “unpacking” for me this year. Which isn’t really something I expected. (And I promise I’ll spare you the details.) But you gotta go with the flow, y’know?


October had me thinking about creativity. And art-making. And why I can’t call my “studio” a “studio” without using quotation marks. (Because . . . I’m not a real artist and a poser can’t have a “studio?”) And why I can’t call myself an artist (real or otherwise) — even WITH quotation marks. (Because . . . only artists can call themselves artists, and godknows I’m not an artist?)

Mostly, I was thinking about how these messages became so deeply ingrained in my head, my heart, my whole psyche. About how these messages don’t serve me in any way. About what a disservice I’ve done to myself because I’ve held on to them for so, so very long. And about how . . . damnit . . . I’ve wanted to be an artist for my entire life, but have held myself back from exploring and allowing it forever. (And, yes. This is where I’ll spare you the details of how that came to be and why I believed what I believed. Because I’m sure most of you can imagine it anyway.)

These last few weeks have been about . . . digging deep and trying to unpack some of that crap. So I can allow myself to . . . well. Be an artist.


I started by completely gutting and rearranging and organizing my “studio.” The fact that I have a space (Brian’s former bedroom) is a gift! The fact that there is a big window is also a gift. The fact that my work desk was nowhere near the window, though? That’s saying something about how worthy I thought of myself . . . as an artist (real or poser). So the very first thing I did was to rearrange everything . . . so my work desk could face the window. (See top photo in this post.) Because . . . if I’m going to BE an artist (real or poser), I need to – in fact deserve to – soak up any natural light available.

Then, I put a self-imposed moratorium on taking any technique classes. While I know that taking specific, focused watercolor technique classes have been very helpful for me, I’ve become overly dependent on them. And what’s happened to me as a result? I’ve lost my way! I’ve come to follow my instructors’ techniques and styles (and even their content and composition) at the expense of developing my OWN style. And worse? I’ve come to judge my work . . . based on how closely my finished work “matches” theirs. Such dangerous territory for someone with I’m-not-good-enough messages dancing in their brain.

So. No more technique classes! (A workshop once in a while? Fine. More open-ended, creative exploration classes? Good.) I need to give myself the (ahem) space to figure out my own art! I need to make mistakes. I need to take risks. I need to make messes. I need to allow myself to fail (however defined).

I’m giving myself . . . space.
And maybe I’ll find a style of my own.
Maybe I’ll become an artist . . . worthy of a “studio!” (Even one without quotation marks.)

Your life is already artful — waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.
— Toni Morrison