And I don’t mean the person. ‘Joy has a sparkling personality, is afraid of snakes and likes taking photos of bees whilst walking along the canal.’ Although that Joy sounds endearing and I’d like to be her friend, I am obviously referring to the feeling.
Over the last many days my joy-o-meter has hit highs, plummeted into a chasm of despair, then bounced back up again. All the feelings seem so much closer to the surface and all of those nasty ways in which we measure ourselves seem even more difficult to control. ‘What?! No Likes?! What do you know, Twitterland. Oh wait…but this one has 35. I am now awesome again’. Guh. So tired of that game.
This week and next, I’m going to be redirecting my attention to those small moments where joy resides. I have found that although I do like the spontaneous moment of joy (and by part of its definition, there is a spontaneity about her) I need to ring-fence time to let it happen.
During lockdown, I have given myself permission to treat art like the fun activity I know it can be. It’s easy to get stuck in the notion that what I make HAS to be of worth to someone else. In order to make a living, I need people to buy my art. I have avenues for that (please feel free to visit my website and etsy page) however to grow as an artist, as a person, I need to let loose and experiment. My current series within a series – Lockdown Art Experiments – gives me just that. I have been painting in the alla prima style of painting and love it. This is when you create a painting in one sitting. There is a freedom to this as it intensely focuses my mind to solve this one problem right in front of me. I feel lighter, happier, more like myself, when I have put boundaries around this special time to create something just for me. Joy finds me here. She finds me when I put two colours next to each other and they just sing. She finds me when I paint a line that does what I was hoping it would do. She finds me at the end when I survey what I have done and think ‘it’s not perfect, but it is the direction I have been wanting to go for a long time.’
So, what is it that you do to allow Joy to find you? This week during my artist interviews, I will be asking artists this very question. You can find these interviews on my Instagram page starting from this Wednesday.