Why I Am Doing This

Last night I had a really great phone conference with my amazing FEARLESS Painters in IGNITE.

And during our rich conversation on education and passion and finding our element-one of my FEARLESS Painters, who is a seasoned home schooling parent, told us that some home schooling parents pour their hearts into escaping the institutional education system only to later measure their children's growth using the same system construct that they have so passionately shunned.  A great example would be a homeschooling student that takes the SATs to prove that their homeschooling actually "worked".

Our discussion was not about homeschooling or if this was right or wrong--but rather, what is the point of following one form of education if you are only going to measure your success by using the measurement from the system that you are actually against.

Interestingly, after our call the movie Who Does She Think She Is was on television.  This was the first time I've ever seen it, and I have to admit it was really engaging.

But the thing that got me thinking was that most of the women Artists featured were struggling with not being successful because they were measuring their success based on an institution that for hundreds of years (and still is) completely dominated by men--and built on a masculine construct.

Art museums, art galleries, art criticism, and even art schools are all linear, product oriented--very masculine structured institutions.  I know--I worked in an art museum for eight years.  I went to art school.

So many of my FEARLESS Painters themselves are "art school survivors".  And the reason, I feel they are "survivors", is because their passion has been damaged by how art school barely acknowledges the spirit--body--mind relationship of art creation.  When you go to art school it is a very product oriented, cerebral, linear, critical approach to creativity--an environment not nurturing to many women.

Women naturally relate to the world differently than men--and our holistic feminine creative expression is part of that. It is a big factor on how we learn--and how we relate to one another--and certainly how we create.

Trying to make it in a masculine paradigm is like swimming up stream.  Only the strong willed survive--and not without their own cuts and bruises and wounds to bear.

My thought is why keep swimming up stream?  What for?

Please understand, I deeply appreciate and honor all the struggles and accomplishments amazing women Artists before us have done--it's something I even touch upon a lot in BIG.

But why are women Artists still struggling and sacrificing to define success by making it in the museum or gallery only?

With the brilliance of technology, there is more power in women coming together to support and celebrate one another and especially to build together--than there is in using that same energy to fight a system that doesn't support us creatively, financially, or spiritually.

Plus, I believe that Artists, especially women Artists, are more than just the art they produce.  They are visionaries and healers and leaders.  That we have have more to offer the world than just a painting in a gallery or a sculpture in a garden.  I strongly feel that our art are outward symbols of something so much greater we possess inwardly. And yes--this art should be honored, reverend, and valued--but they should not be the only thing that measures us as Artists solely.

My greatest success as an Artist--arrived when I let go of the definition of success I was conditioned to believe an Artist should be measured by--and instead, I redefined Artist and decided what my measurement of success would look, feel, and be like.

For me, my Art is about honoring, expressing, and always exploring that great divine feminine energy--that is the root of my innate wisdom and the thread that connects my heart to so many other women.

I believe in building containers where women can journey deep into their heart space--express freely the dark and light of being female--and experience wildly the divine joy that comes from gathering with other women in creativity--while building their technical skills as an Artist.  I believe in changing the art world--by building a better one for women--instead of attempting to change the one that already exists.

I know that I'm not alone in this venture.

I have a dedicated circle of women in IGNITE that prove that.

My dear FEARLESS Painters--I adore you.  You are my heart.  You are the reason I do this.


Lucy Chen said...

this is a beautiful and thought provoking post, connie.

Lou Belcher said...

Great post Connie.... Thanks, Lou

Debra Wenlock said...

Connie - thank you x

Sally Leathers said...

Connie, this post resonated deeply for me in so many ways....it brought up the sadness I felt the week of the BIG women artists, feeling my artist daughter and I had missed out on a whole world during our unschooling homeschooling years...It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with an artist friend who was encouraging me to share my writing and artwork with a larger audience and my response being uncomfortableness with a possible inner shifting of focus from a sharing with kindred spirits to a product for consumption...what is my inner motivation for writing and doing art?....It reminded me of a recent conversation with another artist who was sharing the difference between art as a personal expression and journey for her contrasted to what is expected in terms of coming up with something and then just repeating it over and over again so people buy it or can peg you in a hole, her words were "no one would expect that of Picasso"....Art for me is the expression of Spirit and it is only when I listen to my coyote trickster mind that I am unable to see its wholeness, completeness and perfection....

Jill Marie said...

Just love this: "For me, my Art is about honoring, expressing, and always exploring that great divine feminine energy--that is the root of my innate wisdom and the thread that connects my heart to so many other women."

I hope you don't mind being my Monday morning quote on my business FB page???

Beautiufl post :)

Lisa Griffen said...

Well said, and timely since I was just saying the other day that maybe I'd like to go to art school to be immersed in art and art talk all the time...but you've expressed some of my concerns.

Who Does She Think She Is? is a good movie!

Kate said...

This is beautiful Connie and makes perfect sense to me. I so love your ending quote, it really resonates with me.

"I believe in building containers where women can journey deep into their heart space--express freely the dark and light of being female--and experience wildly the divine joy that comes from gathering with other women in creativity--while building their technical skills as an Artist. I believe in changing the art world--by building a better one for women--instead of attempting to change the one that already exists."

Traci Johnson said...

What's even more disappointing to me is an artist "judging" another artist because he or she didn't go to art school. I had lunch with a couple artists last year and one had an MFA and the other artist (very successful) and myself are self-taught. The "educated" artist kept focusing on certain art parameters and dismissing any kind of art that doesn't follow certain paths. I walked away amazed and thrilled that I didn't have a formal art education because I believe everyone is creative and I never want to look down on someone else's creation.

Anastasia Boswell said...

Throughout time- women have been thought of less and less as the Powerful, life-bringing love filled creative Goddesses that we (ARE)were revered as for so long and shoved into a corner with an almost 'work-horse' status. I too believe in building 'containers' where women can gather and create and be themselves- But i believe this container should have a LARGE barn door- so the positive energy can flow up around and out and touch other beings as well- We need to redefine our womanhood as the strong Life Bearing Creative Truth Goddesses that we are. We should find a collective and platform from which we ROAR.
Thank you for making it your lives path to help women find THEIR path. YOU are amazing, and WE LOVE YOU.

jane louise said...

AAAARRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOWWWW! i don't have the words to talk about how this speaks to my heart so a joyful howl will have to do Arohanui Connie <3

Ellie said...

I can so relate to the part about homeschooling. When I did it with my girls, the only thing their father and the rest of the family was concerned with was how they stacked up to children in public/private school. It didn't matter how they were thriving or that they were learning and discovering at there pace, not to those people. It made me sad.

This post speaks volumes Connie! Thank you for writing and sharing it. Thank you for all you do! <3

Natasha said...

All I hear is a resounding drum beat and the words, "Revolution." Thank you for beating upon my heart and awakening my soul to possibilities again and again and again.

It's time

freecreate said...

this is what its about isnt it Connie....? Us women coming together and being the ones to raise the vibration, not for the glory of the product, but for the glory of our souls growth, and the wonderful bonds it creates along the way. Peace and Love.

Introverted Art said...

wow Connie, this is an amazing post. Yu point in how the art world is male centered can be applied to so many sectors of our lives, from sports to business. Being conscious of this is the first step to fostering change. What you wonderful women do is the path to all of us.

Lynne said...

STANDING OVATION to this post!!!! BRAVO Connie!!!!

Miss Marple said...

I am still only at the beginning of a path I can not really see yet. Most of the times I am too scared to do a next little step and tend to stay where I am and only dream about the place where I would like to go. But the urge gets stronger and stronger.
I am taking little steps into your fairless painting world and a few other things in my life slowly flow together. I love to watch you talk in your videos, it is so inspirational to me. Today I am ready for your third video and I am looking forward to it.
Your words on your blog touch my heart and my urge to make art and share it in my way and not to produce things to make money. I had exactly this discussion with my hubbie and some friends last weekend and they can not understand, that I have to put my feelings and soul into things I make to make it work for me.
Maybe, hopefully, I will be able to be on your IGNITE group one time.

Julie Medley said...

She is back!!!

Kyra said...

Really well said. I got an associates in Fine Art, and I quit art school at that point because I realized I grew more on my own than in the structure where I felt... beaten down, almost? It was hard to explain. I learn more from each painting I complete than I ever did in any classroom.

I've simply embraced that this is my place. No one else has to like it, I have no other goal than to do what I am driven to - be it silly and fairytale like or serious and uncomfortable. It's my paint, my brush, my soul, and I'm here.

Lynn Fisher said...

Awesome post. I survived design school...almost had the art rung right out of me but have returned to what used to excite me about art, and extended it to include EVERYTHING.
Nice to meet you!

Opal said...

Connie, I am reading this as I work with honoring my sensuality, with balancing the divine feminine in me with the discipline of my yoga practice and studies to become a yoga therapist. I have always felt that there is something in me banging at a door to be set free, now I feel that the door is opening and I am not quite sure how to handle this energy, how to nurture it so it is able to evolve just as it should. Your writings always inspire me, remind me to set myself free. Love you much, Opal

Zena said...

Amazing post, it makes perfect sense to me. I am new to your blog and it´s great, I will follow you

1carmelitelover said...

I guess I've never really thought of myself as an artist because my stuff is so terrible that even a five year old can do better, but I joined your site anyway, and also your flikr site as well, just so I can look at all of your art and sigh now and then. Thanks Connice for being here.

Love and Peace,


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