Four Little Ones

Standing next to my encaustic display at Iridio.

One great thing about being part of an art show is that a little creative push happens from the inside.  It’s like a baby kicking my liver — although, in respect to all women who have been pregnant, I have no idea what this truly feels like.  But still, I imagine it, coming from my sacral chakra, a little nudge to produce something new.

I was invited to participate in a group show at Iridio in south Seattle, and those little butterfly kicks started to happen. I could very well have shown all older work — I have plenty of it hanging on the walls of my house and in storage boxes in my closet under the stairs.  But when there is a deadline — even a small one — and there is the opportunity to create something new, my maternal artistic instincts kick in.  Does this happen to any of you?

In addition to the nine pieces I’ve had for a long (or little) while,  I created four new pieces to hang in the Iridio show this past Saturday.  These little ones are new to the world, so they are still working on their identities, but I wanted to share them with you now.

Lift Off, encaustic, 5" x 5"

Healing the Downturned Heart, encaustic, 5" x 5"

Bird is the Word, encaustic, 5" x 5"

Autumnal Renewal, encaustic, 5" x 5"

As I post these new pieces here, it is clear how my acceptance of Autumn seems to be growing — at least through art-making.   My friend Robyn feels like Autumn is actually quite like Spring: she feels it is a beginning, a time for renewal.  I can see her influence in these pieces, particularly the last one.

So back to the idea of these little ones kicking from the inside.  How do we keep the creative fires aglow when there are no actual deadlines?  My trick has been to create arbitrary deadlines.  Just like the writer Natalie Goldberg makes writing dates with herself, pretending that she is meeting someone (which makes her accountable), I sometimes pretend I have a show or a deadline of some kind. I even write it down to make it seem more real. The funny thing is that often, an actual deadline does appear and what was once a little creative facade becomes true to life.

Try this: In whatever creative medium you work, try making a faux deadline for yourself.  Pretend that a publisher just called you and needs a new chapter of your book by next week or your imaginary dream boss is asking you to produce three photographs by Sunday.  Go for it. Pretend.  What is not imaginary is your process and your product.  Those things are real. You will feel invigorated engaging in the creative life and you will make something happen.  These are all good things for your mental health and self-esteem.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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2 Responses to Four Little Ones

  1. Wheylona says:

    It’s good to see you embracing fall and its reflection in the new pieces–I really love the colors and the themes. I am like Robyn: fall is such an exciting time of newness for me; my energy, optimism and enthusiasm come back in anticipation of all the new things that will be coming.

    I also have to say you have helped me to be on more friendly terms with summer. There is still much about it that I dislike, but I’m learning to appreciate it a bit more, partly through your experience of fully embracing it. 🙂

  2. Wendy,
    I love how fall is a time of renewal for you! It inspires me to embrace that possibility, too. A student of mine described Fall as “cleansing” the other week. She said all the rain represents a cleansing, a clean slate, a renewal. I love that.

    And I’m glad that you are getting to know summer in a better way now. I hope in Spain the leaves are turning beautiful colors as they are here!


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