As I mentioned previously, the name of my blog was inspired by an art project that has been in the works for several weeks now. In light of everything I have been struggling with spiritually and emotionally these past months, I find myself turning to art as a means of both coping and processing what is happening. This in itself is a demonstration of personal growth for me--in accepting my identity as an artist as well as understanding the power of art to heal, awaken, bring clarity, and give others a window into my deepest self.
In January of this year, I decided I wanted to create a "vision board," a visual representation of my hopes for the future in regard to character development, spiritual growth, my relationship with God, etc. I wanted something tangible I could look at every day to remind myself of what is important, what makes all this struggle worthwhile, what hopes I am holding onto in order to keep me moving forward. I have created a few collages in years past, and this seemed like the perfect medium from which to generate my vision board.
I bought a stack of magazines from the Goodwill (only 49 cents each!) and set about cutting out words and pictures that caught my attention. Once I had a good supply of words, I spread them all out so I could begin the process of choosing words and phrases that I wanted to include in my collage. Now, it might be interesting to point out where I chose to lay out these words:
Yes, that's right. I laid them out across my work desk—the one I spend 40+ hours a week at, transcribing hundreds of medical records. What makes this an even odder choice is the fact that, only a few feet away from my work desk, I have a beautiful table whose sole purpose is to give me space for working on art projects. Why didn't I lay them out on my art table? Well, perhaps because it looks like this most of the time:
In all honesty, it never really occurred to me that I could (and probably should!) clear off the art table and use that instead of my work desk. I just happened to be sitting at my desk at the time and really didn't see any reason not to use it for my current art endeavor. Of course, I soon learned that sneezing, coughing, and sighing deeply where no longer acceptable activities while working at my desk. Not to mention having to check my sleeves, arms, hands, pants—pretty much everything—on a regular basis to make sure I had not inadvertently attached myself to a word or two or twelve. Perhaps the oddest part of all, however, is the fact that I did not really find this whole situation in the least bit odd! It's so good to know that I am an artist in EVERY sense of the word. I finally had time this week to clear off the art table, so the rest of this project will take place in its rightful location (how boring!).
I have enjoyed the process of making this collage immensely, and I am excited to see how it turns out. The words and phrases that are surfacing are not what I expected them to be, which doesn't surprise me in the least. The most prominent phrase so far has been "Growing Is Beautiful," and I have decided this will be both the title and theme of my collage. I have a feeling I will be creating a series of these vision boards, each with a slightly different theme. In the end, I hope to find that I have not only created visual reminders of who I am, what matters in this life, and who God is to me but also that I have taken a few more steps in the direction of healing.
(Click here to continue the story in Part 2, posted in November 2010)