Wrapping up

My Cultivate project is coming to an end this week. Here are my thoughts:

I will miss the extra space. It is nice to be able to spread out, have a small drawing video editing area separate from the painting area. At the end of this week, I’ll have to contract to my old space, and I will feel the difference. It will be too small. I will have to consider the following changes:

  • Create a separate drawing area away from my painting area. This may be by way of acquiring a drafting table at home. This might work because often I feel the urge to draw when I’m not in the studio, but not having a dedicated space at home often means I don’t.
  • Look for a larger studio elsewhere, either in the same location, or at a different area of the town.
  • Make better use of my current space.

I learned a lot about myself, in terms of work habits, what works, what doesn’t work. How I work, and how I can change some bad habits and reinforce good habits. Finding a structured time that worked for me allowed me to be able to turn on and off “work brain” and “create brain”, and will make it easier for me to apply that to the real world, so to speak. I work to pay the rent, and then once I’m finished working for the day, I put it aside and switch to create, and show up. I have learned how to discipline myself in terms of showing up, even when there are days where I’d rather just sit at home and relax. Being an artist is work, and I need to show up even if it’s not intuitive.

Art-making is dynamic. I cannot force creating into a neatly defined box. I cannot think: I’m going to make A this way, because to try and force something it doesn’t’ want be will end up an exercise futility. There are going to be pieces that will end up “failures” – except I don’t think of them as failures. I think of them as unsolved problems – and the best way to deal with that, for me, is to put them aside. I will come back to them later, and I may have a fresh perspective, but I cannot force it to happen if it doesn’t want to happen.

I started off being very rigid about things; I felt that I had to do this, and this, and this, in this way and in that manner. Then I realized that I was hating it, that I dreaded meeting with the mentor because I felt that I disappointed her if I wasn’t doing it right, and thus disappointing myself, and the world at large. I still feel this way sometimes.

Talking to other artists who have worked on grant projects helped me a great deal. The most important thing someone told me was that I was the boss. Not the grant provider. I do provide a report, but in the end, I’m the one who set the ideas, the visions, and thus I answer to myself. Not to the mentor, not to the grant provider (to a point), and not to the world at large.

This is a very lonely process. It can be very good and it can be very distressing. I am by nature a people pleaser that I forget in the end, people really don’t care how you get there. All they care is you’re there.

I hated talking about my disability. I’ve had to open up and be vulnerable. I hated it. I hated that I cried almost on a daily basis during this project. But I’m also very happy on a daily basis, because it’s a release of tension I have within myself.

This body of paintings is coming to a natural end. I have 3 more paintings to work on, and they are all almost finished; and I have 3 more paintings that I’ve put aside because I have not found the solutions to the problems yet. They are opening new doors for further explorations. I learned new tools such as video editing for audio visual works; incorporating my computer skills I have to date into creating video art. I have new ideas that I can’t wait to explore, which involves figurative drawings.

I am very appreciative of this grant, and the opportunities it allowed me, in terms of getting materials to work with; resources to rely on; mentor, and consultants that helps me get further ahead and outside my own box. It has certainly created some potential new opportunities elsewhere, and connected me with people who have shared with me their thoughts, their experiences, and their knowledge. My vision has been broadened, my ideas reinforced by actual data and experiences of others. Happy coincidences such as creating a very different painting (Rhapsody), and having it reinforced by a scientific study in which a microcamera was placed inside a singer’s throat to record what happens with the voicebox. Exploring a world of aural art of which I knew nothing before.

Communication is fascinating. It breaks isolation. It shines a light on darkness. Sometimes it’s someone or something shining a light on something. But most of the time, I’m the one shining the light on my own darkness and finding something incredible there.

Thank you for following my process.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Published Apr 26, 2016

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