Above Painting "Dancing in the Light"
Last week I took a break from Fairy tales to nurture my inner Diva, with Shiloh Sophia McCloud-Lewis's class DivaX, and it was awesome.
The intent behind this piece was to connect to my body at a soul level, and check in on my relationship with my self. This is the first time I have shared a nude-ish painting. I have a little secret, I really want to do more nudes. I have always wanted to, even since I was a child. I Can remember being at my grandmothers and drawing a naked women when I was 6 or 7. My grandmother never judged me, and in fact she saved them and now I have them. I would share them except I think they are more risque than the one above. As I got older I still wanted to draw them, except I would throw them out immediately for fear, and maybe even shame. It felt like I didn't want to be caught with them. Even now I feel anxiety posting the one above, even in her early form, I didn't know if I could post her. What does that say about my relationship with my body?
Something else that came up for me during this process was how I behave when I paint by myself versus how I paint when I am around others, including my husband Peter. When I am alone and creating I dance crazy, sing, skip, act out...it is when I feel the most free and the most myself. When others are around I am very aware of their presence even if they are not paying any attention to me. I am more reserved and less likely experiment with my supplies. When I became aware of this I felt sad. What a shame that when I feel the most me, no one is around to share it or witness it. I am not sure where to go from here on this. I feel like I have extreme social anxiety-it stops me from participating in most things. Even something as small as going to a store, or making a phone call can set me off. I am constantly battling what-if's, and what to say, do and act, watching others around me for reactions, and also what I should be doing or how I should be acting. I feel I have made some huge leaps over the past 5 years, but I still have a ways to go. Somethings are getting easier, I take more 'risks', and search out opportunities more often, and I would say that nurturing my creative side has played a huge role in this.
As always, I sat down with this large painting and wrote a letter to myself from the perspective of this dancing Diva. Usually when I do this my ladies have a soft, meditative voice, but not this one. She was forceful and excited and dropped the f-bomb all over. I don't even think I can share the whole letter. It starts like this:
"Dear Wild One,
Yeah you! You are cosmic and don't you ----ing forget it!"..."Don't let this day to day worldy bs get you down!----in' rock it, shake it up-make your own gd grid-you create your world. Stop hiding. It's okay to shake in your boots, but for god's sake get out there and shake what your mama gave ya and ---- it if they can't take a joke. You don't owe anyone enough to lock yourself away."
...I am already feeling butterflies in my stomach at the anticipation of posting this but in a good way.
So what is your relationship with your own body? What self love and kindness can you offer yourself today?
How will you shake up your world?
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.