Brave Moves

Over the past two weeks, a dream of mine has come to fruition: I am a soon-to-be renter of my very own art studio!  It felt like a brave move to seek out a space, to do those scary number crunches (sit-ups are less painful!), and, most importantly, to claim the importance of art in my life.

Artist Flora Bowley with her bold paintings from her book Brave Intuitive Painting. [Photo credit: Tara Morris.]

In my current home, there is very little room for me to create, so I usually create small pieces, and there is no place for me to be messy and to leave an unfinished project out for musing and speculation.  When I have carved several hours for messy-ish art making, I’ve had to take over the kitchen and dining room (and sometimes the living room, too). After my arting frenzy, I have had to clean it all up as if my artist paw prints had never been there. (It’s hard to make a nice big pot of soup if my encaustic wax is all over the place!).

Art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

Mostly, I have reserved art-making to my art journal, which has very little impact on my environment. I will continue to have my art journal at home for the late-night craving for using watercolor crayons, stamps, and collage images.  I do love these wispy, whimsical art journal sessions for sure, but I feel rather tiny when I am creating. I hunch over my desk and fill a little page with my fingers which feel like baby fingers. This can be just the nourishment I need, but sometimes…sometimes, I need more, I need something bigger, I need a place to move. I want to dance when I paint. I want to do yoga poses and look at my pieces while standing on my head.  I want to “let go • be bold • unfold,” which is the subtitle to Bowley’s book (see below).

Art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I’ve had to be creative about space and time and even art materials, which has been good for me.  And yet, there has been this yearning inside me for a place where I can make a fantastic mess and create BIG pieces of art — a place of my own where I can experiment, keep all my art supplies, and leave unfinished pieces out in the light of day.

Artist Flora Bowley in her juicy, messy art space. [Photo credit: Tara Morris.]

And then a book arrived in the mail called Brave Intuitive Painting, by the colortastic artist Flora Bowley and my hunger for my own art space deepened.  In this brave and bold book, Bowley not only shares her process, but also her space — which is messy and full of color. At night when trying to sleep, I’d imagine having my own space with dripping paint on the walls and my very own paint-covered wellies — and I felt that creative resonance that is like having goosebumps on the inside.

I do feel quite bold in my decision to have this space and yet it feels like a natural extension of me. There is a part of me that says, “Of course you should have a place to create art!” Smile. Another part of me says, “Remember that you need to make the rent each month.” Nervous eyebrows. I move in on Friday this week and look forward to hauling all of my canvases, paints, images, brushes, glues, and papers with me to my lovely high-ceilinged, south-facing space.

A brave move? Yes. Super-yes with whipped cream on top. And coconut shavings.

What brave moves have you made in your life?  What brave moves would you still like to make? What teeny, tiny brave move could you make right this minute that would honor some aspect of yourself? Do it!

Viva la valentia!

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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4 Responses to Brave Moves

  1. Binky Bergsman says:

    I’m proud of you for taking the big leap. I hope you find it a good one. Is it big enough to have painting days with people?

  2. Thank you, Binky! Once I get all of my things in it I will have more of a sense of the space, but yes for sure I can have a guest or two — especially if that guest is YOU!

  3. Juliet says:

    I can’t wait to hear all about your Friday!

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