A Leap Forward ...Jul 08, 2020
July 8, 2020 - Such strange times we are living in. This is a perfect time to trust that little voice deep inside. I'm not referring to the little voice that belongs to the imp sitting on my shoulder whispering to me, constantly reminding me of everything I should worry about today, tomorrow and forever. No, I'm talking about that voice that speaks to me gently, nudging me forward to learn more, explore more and put all those new experiences into a form that shares the vision with the outside world. I'm talking about that voice deep inside that belongs to my inner artist, my spirit, my soul.
For the past ten years I've been either traveling or glued to my computer in my office at home. Even when I travel, I'm connected to my phone, photographing and filming, or my laptop, editing, writing and posting my day's journey, sharing it with those of you who love to sit on my shoulders as I get lost, get excited by utility covers, meet new people and am swept away by the beauty and wonder of the world. I love sharing those moments with all of you. And ... I will continue to do so.
However ... I will do so here on my blog and perhaps on my other two blogs ChrisCarterArt.com and Bizarre Horizons.com. I will no longer post to social media as I have been for the past decade. I am giving myself back the precious time that posting to social media has drained from me.
My schedule has not really changed as a result of the current pandemic. When I'm home in New Jersey, I spend most of my time alone. What has changed is that the birds are more plentiful where I live. They start singing before the sun rises, sing all day long and into the darkness of night. I have lifted my fingers from the keyboard, poured a cup of tea and gone outside to be with the birds, to listen to them and to hear their songs. those precious moments made me realize that I have not been listening to my own song. I could no longer even hear my own song, not clearly anyway. And when I did hear my song, it was an old song. There were no new songs being sung and certainly no new songs being composed. Visions of large oil paintings began to haunt my waking hours. It's not just the time necessary to paint the large paintings that is required of me, it is also the time to contemplate where I'm going with these paintings, what I am pulling out of the ethers, what the language of my strokes means to me and what those strokes might mean to others.
I admit that it's a bit scary. I've invested time spent on social media to market my work, my online classes and to reach more people that perhaps will be inspired to take pen and brush in hand. The problem has been that I've not been left with enough time to stay in contact with all my online students, only the ones that are currently active in my classes. This bothers me.
Last month, the dialogue between two of my Skillshare students and me was, in a very good way, a slap in the face ... waking me up. I felt more satisfied, inspired, excited, delighted and re-energized by these two students than I've felt for a very long time as an online teacher. I felt the same thrill and excitement watching the lightbulbs go off above their heads as I do in live workshops when students ask questions that let me know they understand enough about what I'm teaching to ask the questions!
It's more important to me to open doors for a handful of artists than it is to have seven thousand views in a day, three hundred likes or 400 new followers. The social media satisfaction is like cotton candy ... it vanishes almost instantly when I take a day off from posting. I want the students who also step away from their phones and computers to pick up a piece of paper and make marks on it ... who stop and listen to the birds.
I am trusting that inner voice deep inside of me. I trust that my new work and my dedication to singing the song of that inner voice will draw the students to me that will take part in changing this crazy world for the better by giving voice to their own inner song birds.
Yes, I know I will lose followers. I'm okay with that. I will also open my door to more dialogue that is meaningful to me and meaningful to others. I am a teacher who teaches skills so that artists can add new tools to their toolboxes and hone current skills to become masterful in whatever it is they do, whatever that might be.
The world definitely can use strength in creative thinking and creative living these days. It's the underground community of artists, the musicians, painters, dancers, mathematicians, poets ... who will heal the earth if it's ever to become healthy again. I'm not giving up on my beloved planet in this amazing universe.
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