Hello Heartgirl

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Update: my Heartgirl drawings are now available as prints on Etsy!

As some of you might know, I've been working on an art project for a while now, based on a character I created almost a couple years ago. I've dubbed her Heartgirl.

Heartgirl first showed up completely out of the blue when I took Flora Bowley's Bloom True  online intuitive painting course. You can see Heartgirl in the red painting below. Though I was never particularly satisfied with my paintings at the end of the course (I don't think I even shared them online because they're nothing near "finished" in my mind, and the red one doesn't even look the same anymore aside from Heartgirl who I couldn't bear to paint over), I instantly loved her! I knew that there was something meaningful in her appearance on my canvas.

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A couple months later, I released the first issue of Chronically Yours, and Heartgirl was front and center. She's been the leading lady in my zine illustrations in both issues, and I've loved having a place to develop her more.

Chronically Yours - Issue 1

Chronically Yours 1

A prescription for art

Part of my healing journey has been to do more of what I love, and then share it, so that's what I've been doing. At the beginning of February of this year, I had a conversation with the amazing women in my book club about how to channel and lend some cohesion to my artwork and my writing online. I was lamenting the death of the "personal blog", and wondering how to make what I was putting out there more meaningful to others.

The answer that two of my friends, Alison and Vivienne, offered was that if I could find a way to be of service to others with what I was putting out there, people would be able to connect with what I was doing more easily. They're both in the business of using their creative skills to help other people, so I knew that they were speaking from experience here, and yet I went back and forth on how to proceed. I felt resistance, and I thought to myself as I had many times before, isn't making art inherently selfish? Doing something that I find to be so pleasurable, something so impractical...how can it be helpful to someone else?

I can go on and on, down the foxhole of judgment when I let the stories I was raised to believe about art come out. I believed for so long that making art was one of the most indulgent things a person can do, to the point where I actually felt guilty about the time I spent on it. But I'm pleased to report that this is something I've finally overcome - I've been learning to allow myself to do what I love. To LOVE what I love. And to embrace and even be grateful that this source of beauty and inspiration is deep within me. It is a gift that I have not only for myself, but to share with the world.

As I began to think more about how I could make my writing and art something that could help other people, I thought of who I'd been receiving creative inspiration from lately. There had been Flora and her painting course (which in addition to teaching intuitive painting techniques, has a significant "spiritual" element), and then there'd been Vivienne's self love through self-portraiture courses, which I'd taken not one, but two of over the previous year.

I've also been finding a lot of guidance in the writing and art of some kindred spirits, particularly my penpals and online buddies Kate (recovering Type-A overachiever turned yoga teacher and chronic illness self-care angel) and Aurora (pop culture idol and unique snowflake bursting with truth and beauty). They have been unknowingly coaching me in the art of self acceptance and learning to love myself and my life exactly where I am today. And more recently I'd started following Louise (open-hearted healing energy worker spiritual realist) online, as she'd been sharing the wisdom she gained through her losing and recovering her health. It was her series about recovering from debilitating Fibromyalgia really provided the final nudge, as I appreciated the way she had related her story with so much grace.

I realized my experiences with reclaiming my life, and living with (and working towards healing from) chronic illness were more than just a shared experience with other people. They were a way to help others. If I could tap into the broken and damaged parts within me that needed healing, I could most certainly share them with others. That was when the inspiration snowball hit me - I picked up a marker and the nearest sketchbook, and the drawings poured out of me.

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I drew and drew, and over the past couple months I've been slowly (as in molasses) digitizing these drawings so that I can make prints from them. I've had such amazingly positive responses to my drawings when I've shared them - I know that even though I feel nervous, even terrified, about putting them out into the world, that there is something special about Heartgirl. I've been collecting the messages that I need to hear, the gentle reassurances, the hard but liberating truths, and incorporating them into the drawings.

I'm almost done digitizing the first set, and once I get them printed, I'll be putting them up for sale in my Etsy shop. I hope you will love them as much as I do.

Update: my Heartgirl drawings are now available as prints on Etsy!

Comments

And I love how you are using your art and your illness together to make something amazing. Something that only you could do.

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