What kind of artist are you?
The possibilities are endless 🤍
I have some time off this week because I love a good, new year and I always like to start mine with the kind of reflection that can only come with solitude. During this week, I usually stay quiet and alone, contemplating the blank slate ahead, what I expect from the new year, how I intend to show up over the next 365 - or, in this case of 2024, 366 - days.
Since we’ve been back at it, post-pandemic, I’ve relished the opportunity to pack up my laptop and hit up a coffee shop. Nearby or far-flung, it doesn’t matter. I’m willing to travel.
Today, on my first day of vacation, I stayed in bed, reading my first new book of the year and very slowly started my day. By the time I had completed my morning routine, I’d decided that I was going to head out to a favourite coffee shop and try to get started on a few things that have been languishing since the interruption of the holidays.
As I got ready, I realized that I’d left my regular honeybee raincoat in the car on my birthday and I wasn’t sure that I had an alternative. I knew I’d need one for the rainy trek I was about to make and when I glanced in the closet, I was reminded that I do, in fact, have another raincoat. It’s an interesting shade of yellow. It isn’t the bright yellow we expect from a raincoat or a rubber duck, nor is it pastel. I could tell you that it’s the same colour as the bedsheets I used in my first studio apartment, but that’s a reference for a very niche group of readers. Think, maybe, a little chick at Easter. It’s a cute colour on a small item, but on a whole jacket, it’s bolder.
Being someone much more motivated by function than fashion, I shrugged it on, packed up the too many things that would accompany me where I was going and headed out the door.
When I walked into the elevator, there were two men already inside, each on either side of the space so it was hard to tell whether they were together or not. As the doors closed, one of them observed, “that is a great jacket.” The other audibly agreed. I turned around and said, “thank you. I actually really needed that today. My regular raincoat isn’t here and I’ve never really worn this one before.” The original complimenter expanded by saying, “between that and your hair, you are winning right now.” He talked about the specific colour of the coat and how it is as hard to name as it is to describe. He told me that he was a painter so he is very interested in colour. I asked, “you were a painter? What happened?” He gave me the legit elevator pitch version of the timeline between thinking he’d be interested in it, receiving an easel as a gift from his partner who had since scooted over to be standing beside us both, learning to paint, having a gallery show, deciding he was no longer interested in painting, giving it up. He, the painter, looked at me when he was done and said, “you? What kind of artist are you?” I told them, “I have committed to drawing every day this year.” They were elated. We walked out of the building together comparing notes and experiences related to learning something new and they assured me that practice really does make progress.
After we said see you later and went our separate ways, I felt so energized by my exchange with them. It boosted my mood and made me feel excited and refreshed about all the things I have in mind for the coming year, but am feeling a little intimidated by. At many times in my life, someone asking me, “what kind of artist are you?” would have completely shut me down because I don’t really think of myself as creative in any way. I know this isn’t true, but I have known incredibly talented and creative people in my life and I don’t feel like the things I can produce are as awe-inspiring in comparison. If I hadn’t already been thinking about the things I want to do this year, I might not have been able to answer the question so easily today, but we’ll never know because that isn’t how it played out.
Here I sit, in this new favourite coffee shop, sipping my second decaf americano and thinking about how maybe someday I’ll get to see that former abstract painter’s work or maybe I’ll never see him and his partner again. No matter, for at least a moment of time in my life, they became the centre of it. That, in my eyes, is an art of its own.
This piece, titled Everything I Love, was painted by Jamie at Sunlight After Dark. I bought a print of it last year and I love it so much. You can get yours here. I also support her on Patreon and it’s like a magical gift every time her packages arrive in my mailbox. ❤️
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