Friday, 22 October 2010

Messy Canvas - FREE Artist eBook by Mandy Steward

I recently downloaded an interesting eBook, Messy Canvas, and just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about it.  It's written by one of my online friends, Mandy Steward.  I first met Mandy several years ago when I joined the Scrap Girls Design Team.  Over the years, after I left Scrap Girls, I continued to follow Mandy's blog and also shared more intimately with her through her Angry Homemade Noodles group.

I've always loved Mandy's deep, uncompromising honesty about her life and embracing imperfections. I think most of us would agree that we all would like to be perfect.  Perfect wife.  Mum. Homemaker. Artist. The list goes on.  And you could be easily fooled into believing that your peers are living perfect lives.  Start blog hopping and very soon you could find yourself trapped in a world where you believe all your fave artists, writers, photographers, website designers, digi scrap artists etc.. are all perfect.  "Wow!  How are they so prolific?  And they make such wonderful "from scratch" meals.  Look at their homes.  They're spotless".

I've been there.  It's one of my faults.  My weaknesses.  Comparing myself to others.  Believing that they're lives are somehow more blessed than mine.  That they've got more talent.  More time. Perfection is easy for them.  It's all lies and it can literally paralyse you.  It has me, in the past.  And more recently since my Daddy died.

Through reading Mandy's blog, she unwittingly helped me face some of those untruths in my life.  I found it odd really as she's quite a bit younger than me.  I have 4 grown up children and 2 grandchildren so I was a little bit fascinated that this young woman could teach me so much and inspire me so strongly just by sharing her life's experiences.  It made me realise that you should have your hearts open, pliable and ready to learn from anyone and any situation.  Learn.  Embrace.  Move forward.  Share.
It was about embracing imperfections.  My imperfections.  Her raw honesty about her anger took me back 20 yrs when I was at home with 4 small children under 5.  I remembered those days as if it were yesterday.

Mandy spoke about her anger.  Her frustrations and her imperfections in a new and refreshing way.  Rather than hide these usually negative emotions, she embraced them and shared them.  Rather than hide it and pretend to the world that she had it altogether, she wrote candidly about it.  Sharing like this opens up hearts and minds.  It helps you realise that you're not alone.  That there is someone else out there with the same issues.  The same human frailties.

These issues may seem unrelated to being an artist but believe me, they are intrinsically related.  Being true to yourself and learning to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly is freedom.  That freedom will then reach deep into your soul and help you be who you want to be.  Whether you want to write, paint, draw, play the piano, sew, knit, illustrate... the list goes on.
I'll be honest with you, those of you that are regular to my blog already know this, but I'm still struggling with finding "myself".  Diane.  Life has thrown me a few curve balls over the past 10 yrs.  And I had the biggest crisis of identity after my first husband "came out" about being transgendered.  It knocked me for six.  20 odd years of marriage.  Gone.  And so much more.  I guess one day I should write about it.  Anyway, slowly though, I've moved on.  Little by little.  Getting there.  And then my beloved Daddy got sick recently and died.  For some reason that sent me into another emotional tailspin.

Searching again.  Who am I?  Why am I feeling so paralysed?  Why am I finding it so hard to get back to my life?  To create.  I want to create.  I want to draw.  Paint.  And so on and on... That's kind of where I've been stuck for a little while.  I know I'm still in the throes of mourning and grief counselling has been a huge blessing in my life.
And then I read "Messy Canvas".  Mandy unwittingly gave me something magical and soul boosting.  My creative soul is awakening.  I can feel the yawning and stretching.  She reminded me to embrace those imperfections.  Her book is a massive kick-start.  Whether you're a seasoned professional creative soul or someone who is just feeling a little lost.  Perhaps you have "blank canvas" syndrome?  Or you just have that yearning to create but don't think you have the talent and yet it's all you think about.  All you dream about.  Try reading Messy Canvas.  It's an extraordinary read.

Mandy, thank you!  Keep on doing what you're doing!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hi Di,
Sorry not to have visited for a while but time is just slipping away with work. Every year I think it may get a bit easier, and every year it is twice as hard! I loved this post-I am like you-often commparing myself to others, even though I know it is destructive. I do try not to, as I know that everyone has their problems, despite appearances. I think I use my blog as my happy place where I put the things that make me feel good. I wonder what it looks like to a stranger? I don't think I pretend about anything, but I do show the good things more often that the bad. Your friend's book sounds interesting. I am glad you shared it.
Thanks also for the birthday wishes-much appreciated!
Sarah x