As I sit in my apartment surrounded by my art, I realize I wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm constantly reminded that I insert pieces of me into each painting that hangs on my walls or tucks between my furniture, some more intentional than others. Organic experiences, stories, feelings, etc. Sometimes I wonder if they know who I really am, simple yet complex. I wonder if they know the questions about me are answered in my paintings. I wonder if they know the true meaning behind my creations.
My walls hold so many stories etched within each corner. I thought I'd share one - her name is "3." She started off as a sketch I completed at a bar in late-January. I met up with a friend to brainstorm ideas for an exhibit, which came to fruition as "The Collection" exhibit that March. I sat at the table, listening to Warm Winds by SZA feat. Isaiah Rashad on repeat, and let my hands do the work. I tuned out all the outside noise and about 30 minutes later, she was complete. I was pleased. The weeks passed and I never got the chance to paint her in time for the exhibit. I decided save her for another time because I don't like rushing paintings. For some reason, this sketch was one of my favorites. I had to save her for the perfect moment.
I decided that moment was in mid-June. That morning, I woke up needing to paint. It had been a month or so since my last painting. I started with the background, then the line work, then the face to tie her altogether. The finished product was okay, but not what I expected. I knew it wasn't my best work, but I couldn't put my finger on it. What did I miss? Was today not the right day? Did I force it? So many thoughts ran through my head until I accepted the painting for what she was, signing and dating the bottom right corner. Maybe she'd grow on me.
It wasn't until an outside opinion came into play. "Honestly, I don't like it at all. You're capable of better than this. I think you should just start over." I'm not going to lie, those words shocked and initially stung. No my painting didn't look like the sketch but also, no one's ever said that to me. The honesty was constructive criticism, something that I had asked for. Instead of shutting down, I listened and let it sink in. I reached for my last blank canvas, and set out to create a SZA portrait more in her likening. I wanted to prove to myself that I can produce better. She came out beautifully. One of my favorite abstract portraits to date.
Now that I created a piece in confidence, what was I to do with the initial painting? I decided not to rush her. Maybe that was my error the first time around. I said to myself, "she will sit and stare at me everyday until she inspires me to complete her." Little did I know a few stressors would uproot about a month later. Naturally, I needed to express myself. After exhausting reckless and impulsive behaviors, I resorted to the only positive outlet I know he best, creating. I got the urge to paint again, more specifically, paint her. I saw shapes, patterns, and colors that I wanted to emulate on her. I painted accordingly and everything fell in place. She felt right. This felt good.
I was proud of her but had no idea what to name her. I noticed that she had many circles so I decided to count them an hopefully they would somehow add up to some combination of 11, my favorite number. Each combination I counted, gave me a 3. I tried big circles, small circles, circles with lines, etc. and still ended up with 3. So there it was, her name became "3." I immediately researched the angel number 3 and found this below:
"The meaning of angel number 3 is self-confidence. The angels are telling you that this is the time to demonstrate all the great things that you can do... Now is the time to share your talents with the world. Be open and receptive to new and vibrant energies. Pursuing your passion will bring you closer to your divine purpose. Take this opportunity to expand and grow your skills and knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone and do something unexpected and different... Your angels want your success as much as they want your happiness. Continuously challenging and surprising yourself is one way you can achieve that." - A more in depth analysis can be found here.
I needed that. I needed to paint 3 as a confirmation to myself that I didn't even realize. I tried to fit her into a different category and she refused. Ironically, she also gave me 3 timely and needed lessons below:
Don't complete/sign work that doesn't shock and amaze you. Never settle, especially in your work. Every piece you produce should make you feel good. There is no room for ambivalence.
Don't be afraid to start over and/or add to your pieces. Don’t limit yourself with an ultimate start and end. Allow yourself and your work to grow. This gives layers to the story.
Welcome honesty and constructive criticism about your work. Be mindful that not everyone is in the position to give it to you. It's important to know who and where to get it from. Trust will ensure that honesty and constructive criticism are packaged with good intentions. Both are necessary for growth.
In all, believe in yourself and your ability to create! You are astounding and your work should reflect that. Always trust your intuition and never second-guess yourself. Keep going!