I’m deep into my dissertation work now, which incorporates painting as part of my process. My dissertation is a combination of things, which only feels right given how I usually operate. It is an exploration of personal journals and my experience in a critical, autobiographical way. It is also a journey to understanding through a reflective painting process.
That being said, it is a LOT of writing and a LOT of time spent going through old journals, painting it out, and working to answer some key questions about my experience, what persistence looks like, and how the many ordinary everyday events of life have shaped my program.
WORKING ON IT
I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with my creativity and artwork. I am the one at fault in this relationship. I get distracted, my priorities get out of sorts, and then I find that I’ve gotten so far away from my creative self that it takes time to repair that relationship and get back.
This is usually due to pressures of what I feel I should be doing. Or the fear that spending time on artwork is not time well spent when there are bills to pay and my “real” career path to pay attention to. Artwork was always viewed in my life as something “on the side”. This has been damaging to both the value I placed on it in my life and the constant apologizing I’ve done for spending any time on it. Time making was viewed as a hobby by some in my life and eventually I allowed that narrative to weave its way into my brain.
But, while working on my doctorate, I felt a stronger and stronger pull to get back to prioritizing creativity.
Last year my husband and I decided to do a little life reshaping. We were about to welcome our son into the world and we’d also been through so much personally and professionally that we were feeling like we were at a crossroads. It made us examine where we were at-emotionally and geographically. We found that we were asking ourselves what we really wanted out of (and to put into) our life.