Have you ever written a letter to money?
As I alluded to in my first blog, I am currently taking an ArtBiz Mastermind class given by Jodie King from Austin, Texas, with 11 wonderful women from across the United States. We are learning about the business of art, and sharing our journeys once a week in a 90+ minutes Zoom call. These are always the best part of the course, as we are able to share and learn from each other. And acknowledged that becoming and being an artist is a profound journey with its ups and downs.
As part of our first class, Jodie made us write a letter to money and then money had to write one back to us. The purpose was to understand our relationship with money and shed any preconceptions about money and making money as an artist. Everyone thought it was pretty out there but game to do it.
So I did mine. I am no different than anybody else and I have my issues with money. You are taught through your culture and upbringing a certain set of values in respect of money. This resulted for me in having a hard time spending money on me, seen as superfluous, money was for essentials and to pay down debt and save. It made me unhappy and took years to get over (not sure than I am completely over it to be honest) that good catholic guilt feeling of spending money.
When it came to the response back from money, I had procrastinated so long that 30 minutes before my Zoom call, the letter was not written. I quickly took a piece of paper and wrote platitudes for the most part and went on the Thursday call in an haste.
Clearly, I could do better. But instead of going back to the pen and paper, I opted to reach for my brushes and paints. It was a cold January Friday night after a long work week and I had boiled up frustrations and doubts. Why am I taking this class? I am good enough to sell my art? How am I going to juggle it all?
I was working on a canvas where I had a number of unsuccessful endeavours so in a way, I also had failure right in front of me. And then, the healing power of art kicked into full gear. I wrote on the canvas all that brought me pain or strain - covid, work, money, anxiety, loneliness, and the list went on. If I had known that I was going to blog about it, I would have taken a picture of it, but I didn’t. Instead I walked away from it to truthfully calm down and then I put a new coat of paint over it and wrote words that brought me joy and peace - family, love, art, and some words were in both lists like work and money. Slowly, I covered the words with paint, and chose to use gold paint as a representation of money (obviously). I mixed it with white to do the background and layed down the golden paint with a spatula on the canvas. Beautiful golden mountains emerged over a night sky full of stars. I was stunned and went for it.
One of the persons I first share my paintings with is my long-time and best friend Nadine. She is always thoughtful and constructive in her comments and almost always makes me think about my art in a different light. Here, we actually got into some of the details, exchanging pictures and comments via texts. Can you spot where changes were made between the first picture I sent her to the final product?
By Saturday night, this one was deemed to be finished in all of its glory. And clearly, money’s reply to my letter was clear and to the point - Reach for the peaks!