Fishing for Words

All of my art, or I should clarify and say, most of it, surfaces from a place and time, or a feeling, found in childhood. The memories are never crystal clear. My art, in its expression, is more about trying to reach memories of childhood. I need to validate and connect with that child. I want to know her. I need to find courage to continue to allow her voice to be loud and to be clear. I need to find courage to allow her voice to come out and play. I reach her in times of expressing art now in adulthood. I need to know that, once upon a time, I did think and feel and dream and create art in childhood. It has been a very long journey to here. In acceptance of my authentic voice, as artist, I am at peace with what I need express. It has been a difficult road to trust and share my art in its true, raw expression. I see much of my work as primitive. From my adult perspective I expect more from my work and sometimes when I see the outcome of my designs I feel frustrated and “dis-couraged” and wonder if I will ever create anything refined or polished or “art-worthy”.

When I turn off my critical voice, my embarrassment, my fear, and stop comparing, I connect with the younger version of me as artist and I see: I am adventurous; I am free; I am courageous; I am spontaneous; and I am filled with joy in each of my creations.

I was not fortunate in childhood to dabble in arts and crafts. As is everything with self-discovery and healing my spirit-guide takes me back to the beginning. To heal I need to go back to the source. I need to go back to the beginning - childhood.

In art I am continually transported to childhood. Childhood, is not a very happy, safe, place for me to return to but with the acceptance of my younger artist self, I have come to embrace my inner child-artist. I know inner childhood exploration has been severely overdone, especially as it relates to artists and healing. By embracing the exploration of my childhood I am now clearly connected to memories and moments of joy that I know I lived. This makes me somehow more joyous as an adult and as an artist. To know I must have laughed and smiled and played at some point during my childhood years has now become a blessing in my adult life. To connect to happiness and joy in art today reveals to me that I was naturally a happy child despite my circumstance. This is what needs expression now - my joy, my happiness.

When I was in first or second grade I fell down some stairs in our basement. My older brother and I were in a competition to retrieve a garbage bag for our father. In an effort to be number one and successful in the pursuit I ended up on the basement floor with a broken arm.

There is a single photo of me at this age, with my cast, sitting at the picnic table, colouring. I loved colouring, as a child. I remember this now. Breaking my arm had its perks. Somehow I received a new dress loaded with fish swimming every which way all over me. This dress was mostly blue with a crisp ruffle surrounding me just above the knees. The ruffle could have represented waves to me as I child. I wonder about that now. I wonder if I dreamed up the waves in my imagination. I wonder too, if I may have twirled around in a circle in an effort to make the ruffle move as waves might! The dreaming or thinking or feelings of happiness about this motif design on the dress must have brought me great joy and hours of imaginative play time. The memory of the dress and the fish have come to life here in my “Alphabet Fishing” game for children. The dress was the loveliest of blues. The first fish I designed, in this game, was the lively blue one.

Memories of childhood come to me ever so slowly but I am happy to say they do surface.