This is what I do.
This is what I am.
And maybe if I repeat that often enough, I will believe it.
Though The Man suggested something wonderfully wise: Belief isn’t the issue. Acceptance is.
The past couple of weeks have delivered completely unexpected and schema-shattering messages from people whose opinions mean a buttload to me. People who I admire for their abilities, which far outweigh mine from my point of view. Comments about my creativity and ability that have honestly knocked me on my ass.
I call myself an artist, but artists produce.
I call myself creative, but I am usually inspired from outside.
I call myself a fraud.
I need a new perspective.
Yes, my output is loooooooow, but each piece is outstanding (when viewed from enough emotional distance). I’ve reviewed the few pieces I’ve done over the years and have access to with open eyes and am amazed. The painting above was the first and only time I’ve ever used watercolours. That in itself is worthy of praise and recognition (from myself). The character design below is one of 21 sketches that I banged out in the space of maybe 2 hours total, each one with the same proportions and personality.
Many times my inspiration comes from outside my head… initially. But once I’m done with it, it is truly mine. I realise that a similar melody runs through each of the pieces I’ve selected here: the “trance” state. I distinctly remember not being completely in control when doing these. The vectors were done over the period of a week of 18-hour days. I paused briefly to eat and sleep only. I remember viewing the painting from a somewhat detached distance while it was happening, marveling at what was happening under the brush. The pencil drawing below (mmmmm, Johnny) started… and then it was done. I don’t know what happened in between.
I have been ridden by the Muse. The evidence is right there. I just have to accept; unbolt the door. I am only a fraud in that I deny myself what I so desperately crave and what is so obviously there for the having.
It’s all fine and good to be so focused and clear and rational in the daylight, but it always ends up in the same 9 of Swords place (I don’t know where the whole “tortured artist” thing got it’s reputation for being so cool and awesome and inspiring, because it SUCKS!) Sooooo, I’m thinking I’ll play along with established patterns and use tarot to guide me when the wheels fall off! If writers can do it, why can’t artists? Right before I went to bed last night I consulted the Fantastical Creatures Tarot on the matter. Just a 3-card draw, open to interpretation (and can I just rave again about how fantastically lovely Lisa Hunt’s artwork is? LOVE!):
 9 of Swords – Harpies
Hilarious, right? 9 of Swords; my theme song (*ominous background music*). Harpies are the embodiment of the most destructive nature of wind. Yup, that about sums it up. They’re usually sent by the gods to torture those who attract their attention in the wrong way (which, when it comes to the Greek gods, is pretty much any way). Their name means “snatchers” and that’s what the 9S does: it snatches everything good away from you. They seem especially mocking in this card. interestingly, Harpies were once associated with Athena on her bad days; another war-like goddess of the mind. The LWB links past lives and karmic debt to this card. Something to explore? I’m going with this card as where I’m moving from.
 7 of Wands – Valkyries
On the other hand, we have the Valkyries, sent to collect warriors fallen in battle and deliver them to an afterlife of non-stop brawling and boozing (the Vikings were a simple people, with simple needs). I like the way she’s charging towards the Harpies. Better flap away, bitches! The Valkyries selected the bravest of the slain for Odin’s feast table… To get to where I’m going, I’m going to have to let things go, sacrifice and very likely die a little (or a lot). It will take courage and bravery, but the rewards are tremendous. The LWB defines this as a card of success and dreams achieved, after a time of struggle.
 Death – Anansi
One of the original trickster gods. Hmm. This is almost a “be careful what you ask for” kind of transformation… and it confirms the 7W “death” theme. We’ve got the spider and the snake here – both symbols of wisdom and Anansi is indeed seen as a bringer of wisdom (though he originally tried to hoard it all for himself) and a creator god. Snakes shed. It is a necessary process for them to grow and heal old wounds. The LWB talks about this card as being a sign that illusions are going to be stripped away and unforeseen drastic changes are a-comin’.
Time to strap in! Time – and Valkyries – wait for no man, least of all emo artists crying in a corner (Odin doesn’t want me for a raincloud!)