We can learn all the artistic skills we want, but if we carry them out without our genuine story in it, it will just be an empty trick. Skills make pretty pictures, but they rarely truly touch the heart of those who make them and the ones who see them. As an artist, if you have a desire to touch people with your work, you need to delve into your pile of stories and get to know them really well. That way they form our never-barren source of inspiration and our personal brand.
We people talk a lot, but there’s a lot of stories we don’t share. Some we’re afraid will embarrass us or hurt us. Or we fear that people would just not be interested. But not telling them makes us clog up on the inside. It stops us from really being us. And so often, if not all the time, people find that when they finally DO share their stories, the world was waiting to hear them. Telling our stories is sometimes thought to make us weak, but in reality, knowing and sharing our stories makes us vulnerable in a way that makes us tough as nails.
It is nothing short from exhilarating to teach people to find, sort and share their stories, to help them create that unique visual language with which they can begin to tell…I promise you, when you learn to speak that visual language of yours, you will find the world is listening.
It was never very obvious that I’d become an artist. My way of expressing myself was by dancing and writing. I was never much good at drawing. One day, reading in my old diaries, I got so bored with the flood of words that I began doodling on the pages. And then I started to make little drawings accompanying my diary entries. Flowers and patterns at first, but soon the safety of my private notebooks opened the door for me to start illustrating my life. Sometimes raw and literal, but often fairy-tale like and metaphoric. There I discovered you don’t actually have to be able to draw to draw your story. That realism in drawing isn’t necessarily the same as telling a real story with images. And that I could pour the day’s impulses and emotions in the colors, lines and symbols, which soothed my mind so that all that was left to say with words, was the very essential. More and more often nothing was left to be said at all. It was all in the image.
With a background as an English High School teacher, requests to teach people how to tell their own stories visually soon lead me to a new path in life. I’ve been teaching Art and Art Journaling for over 12 years now with many happy students who have felt safe enough to start their own journey of discovery and storytelling.