The Artist’s Way, “Week 11” : This week we focus on artistic autonomy. We examine the ongoing ways in which we must nurture and accept ourselves as artists ~ Julia Cameron
Usually when I read The Artist’s Way, I have a profound revelation regarding my creative recovery. Not this week. The chapter “Recovering a Sense of Autonomy” spoke to my artistic being, but primarily brought about an even greater appreciation of my sister’s talents. She has always been able to cultivate her creative power through artistic autonomy.
Autonomy: Independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions.
My sis has always been her own muse; following an inner artistic spirit. I believe she was put on this earth to create. Ten years my elder, my first memories of her are as a ceramicist; she worked wonders with a wheel, clay and glaze. From the age of five to thirteen, I saw pottery as her calling, as I saw pot smoking as my brother’s. It was such an integral part of my perception of her that I could not understand why she would switch artistic mediums.
Around 26 (me,16) she had her first major gallery show in Phoenix. It did not feature her pottery, but instead large abstract portraits she drew with cow markers; the late 20th century humane alternative to branding cattle. I have no idea where the artistic shift and medium came from. Did she just wander into a farm feed store, see these huge crayon-like markers and say, “Hey, I’m going to take a rest from clay and start drawing with theses!” I do not know what was her “Ah-Ha!” moment; she was just following her own muse.
These portraits were artistically awesome, but at 16 I did not understand how she could “give up” ceramics for an entirely different fine-arts medium. A medium of her own making! I’m sure there is not a “Cow Marker” category of artists.
What I didn’t know then, but know now, is that creative beings cannot be confined into one category, or they become creative cripples.
I cannot even begin to tell, or even fathom, the vast artistic endeavors in which my sister is prolific. She’s created her own spin on Zentangles, which has been turned into fabric, then turned into bags and other useful items. She paints, draws, knits, cooks, but what she doesn’t do is pigeon-hole her artistry.
The function of the creative artist consists of making laws, not following laws already made. ~ Ferruccio Busoni