Long, long ago I made art, as a student of Fine Arts, then, over the years squeezed in between work and family. I then became an artistic craft maker rather than an artist, but eventually put it all aside to focus on my equine facilitated learning program. To cut a long story short, in 2015 I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and spent the next 4 years learning to prolong my life. In 2018, having shrunk my tumour so that it was not threatening my life, I started to question where my art practice would be if I had continued it and not neglected my God given abilities.
The hardest thing for my new art practice was to be middle aged, decades away from my youthful creative times, with not a clue where to to start or what to draw. I tried one of those 30 day challenges by drawing mealies, in pencil, ink, charcoal, big, small, until I got so bored I went back to focusing on my horse work in the fields!! Anything to avoid drawing! But that niggle was still there...growing slowly but surely.
In July 2019, on the same day as I got the diagnosis from my latest MRI that my tumour was so dormant that it might as well be dead, an advert for a free, one week art course popped up on my Facebook news feed. "Find Your Joy". Sounded just like the perfect solution! I signed up and had the most fantastic week of my art life...even 4 years of varsity art was eclipsed by Louise Fletcher's introduction of exploring the WHY of art, not the HOW. I found the starting point of my art practice but needed more! Woo-woo Moment One!
When Louise announced her 6 week subscribed course of £495, the only funds I had set aside was for the next month's horse feed bill. If I used it and had no Horseplay courses sign up, I was in deep trouble with 34 horses in the middle of winter! I checked the exchange rate: £495 was ZAR90058. The feed bill savings was ZAR9000! Green light! I hit the PayPal button and committed! Woo-woo Moment Two: over the next few weeks I had 5 small Horseplay clinics booked and the feed bill was covered! Find Your Joy 2019 was mine to dive into.
I learnt to play, not looking for end results, but exploring why something felt good, to find a vocabulary of marks, colours, tones, values, all within compositions....but with little representation features. Before I knew it, 6 weeks were up and the second course, Find Your Voice, was the next step. And I so wanted to take a leap into it. But now there was no feed bill savings waiting to be used up. Woo-woo Moment Three: I used an overdraft facility on a dormant account, convincing myself that I could pay it off within 3 months. Click! Subs paid and a negative balance in my account. Within 24 hours I had Horseplay bookings that paid twice as much as I needed...the next month's feed bill and the art fee covered!
Find Your Voice taught me to find an idea, a theme, to turn into a series. Louise asked us to find something that resonated with us and to explore that something. I spent much of my time in an arena with non horsey people, introducing them to horse sense, and the connections it makes between horses and humans. So my theme was how horses see the real us when we step into their space. Non judgemental, but expecting us to try our best to show up as authentically as possible. Similar to how Louise was teaching us to be within our art practice.
By December of 2019, my art practice was growing in leaps and bounds, I even sold two of my horse paintings, one to a fellow FYJ student, in America!! However, the biggest lesson of 2019 was that if you want something, you have to take a leap of faith, some action and take a risk. When you do, your thought patterns and mindset will send you into places where your dreams can become reality. Woo-woo, green lights, leaps of faith...whatever you want to call it, make it happen for yourself because it won't happen on its own.
For info on Find Your Joy courses and the amazing Louise: