"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we'll ever do. We own our stories so that we don't have to spend our lives being defined by them or denying them. And while the journey is long and difficult at times, it is the path to living a more whole hearted life". -Brené Brown, Rising Strong
Sometimes doors slam shut, right in our faces. And we are left feeling alone in the dark. Doubting ourselves, our work and questioning our faith. This happens to us all-it's a universal feeling. We fall down. And sometimes we hesitate to get back up and stay in the fight.
As a freelancer, I have to put continual faith in myself, my work and that tomorrow will bring me the opportunities I am working for daily. This is never easy. In fact, it is one of the toughest challenges for creative freelancers and myself. I could easily choose to live in constant anxiety over how I will pay my bills, if my work will even warrant any reaction or opportunities for me. While also questioning if I will be made fun of, and be told my work isn't original or any good. In fact, there are a million things I could spend my time worrying about. Instead of worrying, I have to choose to have more faith than fear. That I am here for a grand purpose. I know that through making artwork, I feel less anxious, stressed, and more alive and also full of energy. I have been concentrating on taking that energy of feeling doors close on me, and not letting that darkness sink in.
One door that recently closed on me, was a job opportunity I was really hoping would work. I had been talking to the US Tiffany's event manager for months about the possibility of illustrating at live events for Tiffany stores across the country. I was really looking forward to a new year, and a chance to get out of the studio to meet new people and get to paint in person for one of the most amazing American brands! I was visualizing how incredible it would be. I even started buying dresses that I thought would be perfect for it. Dress for the job you want, kind of a thing!
The new year started and the door for that opportunity closed on me. It really discouraged me. The negative side of me felt stupid for even dreaming that big-and thinking that it would work out for me. I even questioned my talents as an artist, and that feeling of not being good enough was trying to creep in. After internalizing what was going on and what I was feeling, I began writing down what I was feeling. Working out my emotions, and telling myself this wasn't a failure or a rejection. And I realized, that that door closed on me because there is something even more amazing waiting for me, if I am able to just get back up and get back in the fight. It was time to take that feeling of discouragement, and make some art. I knew, and I know, that I will be able to go on and do exactly what I dream of doing-that I will travel the world and meet amazing people and paint for the brands that truly have inspired me.
I sat down a few days later to try to paint. And I was feeling so discouraged. I wanted to just quit, and go sleep. But a voice inside me kept saying, "I promise you if you just stick around and try you'll paint something that will help you". I looked down at my palette and noticed I had so much paint left, that I would be wasting it if I stopped now. And then I thought about using the brush to create faces. So I began-and what came out of it, was a new fresh, energetic way of painting for me. And it hasn't stopped since. Every day I am learning and creating, and knowing that I am allowing new opportunities and doors yet to be opened because I was wiling to keep going. I even got an email from Chanel's PR team telling me they love my work. What more hope and encouragement could I ask for? :) The most surprising thing was the recent artworks have gotten more positive reactions, likes, comments on my Instagram than anything else. Which only encourages me to feel that I am doing exactly what I should be right now. And I am so grateful for the the support I am receiving.
In fact, I have already booked one illustration event based on these paintings for Jimmy Choo! It's in a few weeks and I'm so thankful for it.
Starting fresh and doing new things with my artwork is so hard. But I do feel like I am at a point where I need to continue to work in this new direction. I also know that it is pushing me to evolve and really focus on my work and dreaming bigger than ever. So stay tuned for more artwork, and more stories where I can share with you my failures and my successes. It's all to push you to stay in the fight!
You can check out more of what I'm working on, in The Bold Strokes gallery here :)