Letting Go in Art and Life


It’s officially summer here in Des Moines and I already cannot wait for summer to be over! I love the cooler moodiness of spring, fall and winter and summer tends to be my least favorite of the seasons. It has been nearly 100 degrees here for days, and the upstairs in my little rental has been so hot that I can’t sew. So I’m making use of this time to shed layers and make way for the new inspiration coming in with my art.

Letting go in art and life have a lot of similarities, and both can lead to such a sense of expansion and relief! Letting go of the fantasies of what could be and getting firmly entrenched in the reality of life feels so freeing, because true peace comes from just wrapping your arms around the moment you are in.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, first I read a book on self-love. The book is called “The Self-Love Experiment” by Shannon Kaiser. The book had a mixed message, because on the one hand the author kept saying to love yourself as you are without trying to change anything…but the background message was that weight loss and life changes happen naturally when you love yourself. It was a strange catch 22 and I found the book to be actually draining in the mixed message. It was like, love yourself so hard that you become the picture perfect version of yourself. My own personal form of self love is to love myself even though I’m imperfect, and to accept myself as I am in this moment. So I’ve been letting go of the constant desire to level up myself and my life.

I’ve also been reading a book called “Let Go and Live in the Now”. The book reads like a cryptic tome, and sometimes I have to reread portions over and over to get to the point. But it talks a lot about inner peace and how it is always there all the time, and that we layer on expectations and desires until there is no peace. The author talks about watching your mind and seeing the ways that your thoughts and feelings rob you of peace. There is an overarching message of really seeing the moment you are in instead of overanalyzing everything, which I often do.

Oftentimes as an artist I’m also a dreamer, dreaming for the future and what I could make of my art and life. Loving what is can be such a foundation to making art and living in a way that is totally true to who you are in this moment. Self acceptance guides you to a place where your art can be free to express all those sides of you, and tell a more accurate story of your life and who you are becoming. Expectations placed on art can be stifling and stressful; wanting to create something that other people find to be worthy of adoration. When you can let go of those expectations and desires, magic begins to happen and the real art making can begin.

I’ve begun throwing out art supplies and books that I no longer need…all those projects I might do one day are just weighing on my headspace and taking up literal space in my home. And I’ve been painting nearly every day, even just a little bit. These new paintings are such an adventure because I never really know how they will turn out. Letting go in my art and making way for spontaneous beauty to show up has been incredible!

Letting go can be so freeing! Once you begin letting go in one area, it seems to slowly loosen all those spots that you have been gripping too tight. Letting go makes way for peace of mind and that’s all I’ve ever truly desired.