Anyone who exercises their creative muscles on a regular basis, will tell you that creating is inherently risky business. Especially in a culture that only values that which produces financial gain or stability. The arts are often neither financially viable nor stable--sometimes anything but! Yet, as artists we persist in our belief of the viability of our dream, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary. It takes faith, courage and a dash of stubborn stick-to-it-iveness.
Practicing my craft in both art and in music makes me happy. And I am one of the lucky ones who can make enough of a part-time income doing what I love to keep the debtors away. But when it comes to performance art (that is, painting in front of a live audience start to finish), I admit I still struggle to completely let go and just have fun. When being watched, all of us tend to second guess ourselves, and artists are no exception.
Normally, the best art (no matter what art form you are talking about) happens when you are in a flow state... a state where your mind is not really thinking actively, but you are completely in the moment, acting and reacting to each brush stroke or chord, and not thinking about your next steps or about how you are being perceived. Obviously, it's much more difficult to enter into that sacred place when you are in front of an audience. But I do believe it is possible. One must breathe... one must reject all self-conscious thoughts... one must be one with the paint, or the music or the pen... and most of all, one must let go of the idea of achieving perfect results. Perfectionists cannot perform to the point where magic happens until they learn to let go of striving to be perfect. Not an easy task, to be sure; but one well worth pursuing.
I am not 100% there yet, if I'm honest. My inner critic is difficult to silence and doesn't often nap, try as I may to quiet her. But there are times I come very close. When I'm lost in the music or in the brush strokes and completely immersed in the magic of the moment. Those are the moments that define my life. Those are the moments that make my life shine. Those are the moments where I experience (and share) pure bliss.
This fall, I am again involved in the "Belmont Village Bestival"--a two-day festival of art, music and food in Kitchener, Ontario. I will be doing a live painting demonstration alongside Hugo Alley (a high energy indie rock band from Kitchener)... their music will indeed bring a sweet energetic inspiration to my brush!
I am also the creator of a live painting competition game also taking place at Bestival--CutThroat Creating. For this type of live painting, not only are you creating while being watched, you are also vulnerable to many types of sabotages thrown at you by the other contestants in a cut throat creative race to win the $100 prize. This pushes the artists to their creative limits and gives the audience the opportunity to vote on their favourite painting. Last year was its inaugural year, and it was a highlight of the festival for many.
Bestival is free to attend, so if you're at all curious about what live painting is all about and you would like to experience the thrill, please come and check it out! Go here for more details on all that is happening: https://www.belmontvillagebestival.com.