So I have a name and a website. Now what? A few weeks ago, when talking with my niece, who is also an artist, I received a gift of inspiration: I began to understand what I might like to do with the next chapter of my life. I have known for years that it would involve drawing, painting, and writing, but I really didn’t know anything more specific than that. Should I try to start a business, or just continue to play and experiment? Is there a way I could make a living doing the things I love? I have been listening to some wise people, one of whom suggests that, at such a juncture, we go back to the beginning and recall the things we loved doing the most as children. A few big ones come to my mind – and they are still the interests I go back to when not “working” or trying to be “of value to the world”:
  1. Color. One of the first things I remember is learning the names of colors, and then applying them to everything I saw. I could not get enough crayons, and I didn’t even need to color with them to be happy: I could just as easily arrange them in pleasing groups, and be just as delighted (more, actually, as my motor skills took a few years to catch up to my mind).
  2. Nature. I could never get enough of plants and animals. When first asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer brought delighted laughter: “A fish doctor!” I grew to love almost anything living. (Okay, spiders took a long time to appreciate and I’m still a bit on the fence.) I loved drawing nature, particularly plants and flowers. I remember doing illustrations of many plant and animal species for extra credit in my 9th grade biology class.
  3. Self-discovery. My early school years were fraught with getting caught “daydreaming,” which for me usually meant pondering the questions that were constantly invading my mind. Why am I “me”, and not someone else? What makes me do what I do, and feel what I feel? Why do other people like different things than I do? How can I get healthier, live better with all these emotions, and do the best I can with this life? I found that any means of expression I chose – visual arts, music, or writing – became an outlet for exploring my own personality and my journey as a person.
As I was talking with my niece, I realized that what I really want is to do work with these basic drives I’ve always had – to express through color, writing, and representation of nature – and not only express, but somehow use these things to bring joy to others. Whether I need to sell art to accomplish this, I am still exploring. I also had a longer-term vision of a community that would gather (whether physically or virtually) to work on our art and our life journeys together. And I was inspired with a name that fits me and what I want to create: Blooming Heart Art. I was amazed to find that the domain was still available, and snatched it up. Launching my website brought up some anxiety, though, as I felt internal pressure to “get started”. Is this a business? Doing what, exactly? I have painted some pet portraits as gifts, and wondered if I should start selling custom pet portraits. I would like to offer some floral designs through a service, such as Zazzle, that will put those designs on merchandise. I will probably do one or both of those things in the not-so-distant future. But this morning, when I was quiet and settled, I realized that I am still in the planting season. As is often the case with me, I feel a bit behind, since it is autumn and we celebrate reaping now, not sowing. But I can’t reap what I haven’t sown, and so I am going to plant some seeds and wait to see what sprouts, rather than trying to force something that doesn’t feel quite ready yet. There is plenty of planting to do:
  • I want to continue the deep inner work that I do to become more grounded, more centered, and most especially to discover what I am really like as a person, as opposed to decades of trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be. (I’ve already discovered that I am way more sparkly than I thought, and I have things I want to say.) I plan to continue journaling, and maybe some of it will form the seeds for more blogging and more questions to discuss with others on similar paths.
  • I want to create art just because – not for a specific purpose – every day. It doesn’t have to be something big, or even something that I deem good. But every day that I possibly can, I want to go to bed knowing I created something – even if it isn’t a finished painting of even a sketch. Maybe one day it’s a flower arrangement, and another day it’s a pet portrait. I want to create what I feel like creating, and see what unfolds.
  • I love research, so I will continue to explore next steps for Blooming Heart Art as a business and as a blooming community.
That seems like enough for now. Stay tuned for updates as I see what starts to bloom! – A.J.