retrieval project starts tomorrow!

The Retrieval Project will officially launch tomorrow!

I'm getting excited about this project. When I first thought of it and then Joe and I talked details, it was fun and exciting... but then the painting part started. I finished the first painting and liked it, but the task of doing the rest seemed daunting in the moment/mood/state of mind I was in. Then on Monday I went to Mati's. Can I just say I feel so so lucky to be interning/hanging out with her?! She's the best.

I brought my stuff and we were in her studio painting. Well she was cleaning/organizing and I sat down to paint. I kept wanting to get up and help her. I was feeling blocked and uncomfortable with the task before me. But I started. She went in the house to make a phone call and I kept painting, but was having a hard time. I didn't like what was coming out and then the negative thoughts started coming. "What do I think I'm doing with a project like this?" "This looks like something one of our kids could do." (and they're amazing little artists in their own rights, but what I was painting looked so childish to me at the time.) "Why on earth would I ever want my artwork next to Joe's?" and so on and so on. I was very overwhelmed and feeling under-qualified for the project.

Then Mati came back. She could tell I was struggling and suggested I put aside the painting I was working on. She wanted me to experiment with mixing colors and getting messy. (I love her!) We got out several more pieces of the canvas paper I'm using and went to town with some backgrounds. That's more how I do it at home too... working on at least a few at a time, and making messy, non-thought-out backgrounds. But her words were so encouraging. She could relate to the gremlins I was facing. Her husband Hugh is also an amazing artist, with a style totally different than hers. Like Joe, his work is usually tight and crisp and clean. Like me, hers is more free and sort of whimsical. She let me borrow a book which I've heard great things about.

I sort of cringed inside when Hugh came into the studio and Mati showed him the piece I'd been working on (and struggling with). She told him about the Retrieval Project and he was very nice and supportive also.

We broke for lunch and walked to a cafe just a few blocks away, where we met a couple of Mati's friends (roommates, both named Debbie). After lunch, they walked back to Mati's studio with us. Oh no! Another artist looking at my work! (One of the Debbies went to art school with Mati.) But they were both encouraging also and Debbie the artist really liked the painting I had done.

I left that day feeling so inspired and ready to keep going with my paintings. Real artists actually liked my work! But more than that, they helped chase those gremlin thoughts away and gave me the belief that I can do this.

The painting I worked on that day... it is now finished. Well I think it is. I thought it was yesterday too, but thought of something to add. (You'll see that one available here on day 5, August 5th). When Joe came home last night and we showed each other what we'd been working on, he said, "that's rad. I love that. Now my paintings suck." (He was aware of my feelings of inadequacy all week, and my being intimidated by having my artwork next to his.)

I'm so glad we're doing this project. For the obvious hope that it accomplishes the goal of raising the funds we need to get our stuff out of storage, but also because I'm growing as an artist, having fun and growing closer with Joe, and feeling the love and support from a community of artists and bloggers as well as family and friends.

I guess sometimes you just have to push through and keep creating even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable.