The worse part of a trip for me are the last two days. I start to think about the adventure ending and a sadness mixed with slight panic sweeps over me. When I inventory all the things I still want to do and see, I wonder how on earth I can possibly make them happen. And then my mind wanders to the routine of life that awaits me when I return home.
The final evening of The Artist’s Way felt much the same way for me. We were asked to bring a final creative project to share and some light hors d’oeuvres. Professor Profound brought a lovely red blend wine – called Creative Block of all things – which he found on one of his recent trips. He shared it with pride and generosity, a true reflection of his heart. Hard on Herself Virtuoso (now a sweet friend of mine) brought a big pot of vegan chili (the adventures never stop for me) which was surprisingly good even with the foreign matter she referred to as vegetable protein. Sadly, the group was incomplete. Pet Healer was missing, but as it turns out she needed healing herself at home. Somehow though she still felt present.
We sat around that familiar rectangular table which had strangely become our temporary shelter of sorts. With each class, the accommodations became more and more comfortable, more homey as the inhabitants added pieces of themselves to the space. It had become a safe harbor from the storms of perfectionism and the thunder of criticism.
In the middle of the banter, the Silver Desiderata handed each of us a handwritten note expressing her love and gratitude for not only who we were but also for the unique creative expressions we brought to the class. Her words were a sweet addition to the warmth and love already present. Between taking pictures and engaging in snatches of conversation, I sat back to watch the scene unfold, to soak in the laughter, to take in the love and color radiating from their faces.
The lovely Lady of the Box invited us to join her in the living room and indeed it was a living room . The walls were covered with oil painting her father had created; plants and candles tastefully dotted the space. Every inch felt alive and inviting. She was the first to share. The woman who had given us so much over the past twelve weeks, was giving us yet another gift – our own personal collection of photographs of the symbols she used at the start of every class. Our snapshots were enclosed in a black box wrapped with a red ribbon. Like a flight recorder found on every commercial airplane, our black boxes contained images, reminders of what happen during our flight, our journey on The Artist’s Way. My heart was full.
Color Lover shared a journal she had been working on, every page filled with vibrant images and rich hues. The girl who came to us in black and white was now full of color much like the collages she had created in her book. Super Hero Zombie Girl was next. She showed us bold and textured canvases of comic book superheroes she had painted. She explained how when she was unable to sleep she would create these pictures, pictures of her friends. What an image – a super hero painting her super heroes.
And then it was time for The Quiet Man to speak. He read us poetry whose source came from the deep well within him. As he read, tears puddled in my eyes making him a blur, and yet we all could see him more clearly that night than any other we had spent with him. One by one, our members shared their creativity. They were generous. They were vulnerable. They were alive. We were a tribe, a tribe of artists.
Finally, it was time to share my offering. What else would a want-to-be illustrator share but an illustration representing my experience of the last twelve weeks. It was simple, a watercolor study of a bowl of Froot Loops. I had decided if I was going to be authentic with this group, I needed to share my initial impressions from the first night of class. I explained how I felt like a Bran Bud in a bowl of Froot Loops. Many laughed but some didn’t. Perhaps they were recovering from the sting of being labeled a Froot Loop. I further explained as the weeks passed, I started to wonder if it really was a noble thing to be a Bran Bud. After all, people only eats Bran Buds because it’s a have to of life, but for a child, eating Froot Loops is a definite want to.
I continued as each of them handled my offering, reading the little notes I had written throughout. I expressed how over time their creativity and love seeped into that room like the color of Froot Loops bleeding into the milk they float in. Over our journey, we shared, we mingled, we realized we were all in the same bowl. We were a bowl of artists who struggle, who create, who sink at times yet float to the surface again and again.
And I concluded with my big reveal…I AM NOW A BIG ROUND FROSTED PINK FROOT LOOP! A metamorphosis of sorts had taken place in me on this journey. And now I get to create in beautiful, messy, imperfection and hopefully help color the world with my artistic expressions.
Thank you, Froot Loops and The Lady of the Box. I have been forever changed along the way – The Artist’s Way.