Jolie Guillebeau


Archive for August, 2011

A lesson about Waffling.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Waffles-- the the good kind.

This is a week of teaching for me. I love teaching. I love watching someone’s eyes light up because they understand something they didn’t see before. I love seeing someone’s drawings get better and better with each week, and the reaction that comes when they nail a technique that seemed impossible before. It makes me so happy. And thrilled to know that I was part of that.

Also, my students inspire me to be a better artist myself. They make me want to work harder, especially when I see how excited they are. It takes me back to my own realization that I really can paint, despite years of being told I couldn’t. They inspire me.

So this is a great week. Because I’m teaching every single day this week.

But there’s another lesson lurking here. Last week, I talked about how I was hesitant to share myself with the world, because I’d been burned a few times this summer. I opened myself up to people who betrayed me, so it made me return to my shell.

What I didn’t say is that I’d even questioned whether this is worth it. I mean, I love to paint. Love it. And I love that I can build a career around something that I’ve wanted to do since I was 7. But I was looking at ways to do it without the internet. I mean, technically, it’s possible, though harder. So I was thinking maybe I could find a way to paint without really sharing much of myself with the world. By going the traditional gallery route, or doing a few more shows each year, or being one of those artists with a website of nothing but images. I was thinking of taking all my words down.

I know, right? Not the best plan.

The thing is, that so many wonderful connections have come from this corner of the interwebs. There are real friends out there reading this, that I wouldn’t have met any other way, because they live in Brooklyn or Salt Lake City or Copenhagen. And by retreating here, I’d be closing the door on that marvelous part of my life.

And yet. People use what I write here to make assumptions about me that aren’t even remotely true. Wait– that’s another post. I’m not going off on that tangent, but I do want to talk about it later. Anyway, the point is that writing here is sometimes hurtful.

So I waffled.

And then I got a note last night from Megan (hi Megan!). She wrote me to tell me her story and my small part in it. She’s in 8th grade and found me through her aunt, who shared my work with her, and she just wanted to thank me for inspiring both of them.

So I waffle no more. While I’m still creating a safe space for myself, I’m resolved. I’ll stay here in my corner of the internet. Because emails like the one from Megan make it worth the risk.

Exposure.

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Have you noticed that I’ve been kind of quiet lately? Yeah, I thought you might’ve.

It’s been a strange summer.

So many parts of it are good. The World Domination Summit was terrific. Chris and I took a trip together that was marvelous. I’ve been teaching drawing and painting a lot and really loving it. We’re settling in to the new place nicely. We bought a couch. I’m working a bit more at Happy Knits these days, and I’m really loving it. It’s lots of fun to teach people how to knit. I’m so lucky in so many ways. I have a good life and a husband who loves me.

I’ve also got some amazing (AMAZING) stuff in the pipeline that I can’t wait to tell you about. Though I must wait. (Even though it’s killing me– I’m terrible at keeping secrets.) Sorry to be a tease.

But, I haven’t been on Facebook, or Twitter, or even here that much. I’ve been hiding out.

See, I’m feeling kind of overexposed and vulnerable. Some crazy things happened over here, I’ve lost trust in a few friends that I really depended on, and it’s left me reeling a bit. It’s made me question friendships and relationships that really matter to me and made me doubt the sincerity of nearly everyone around me. It makes me want to tuck myself into a shell and hide. It’s disorienting.

So I’ve been cutting myself a bit of slack. And staying quiet. I’ve relied on long phone calls or face to face conversation. I’ve hung out in my hammock and talked to wise women that I trust. I’ve played on Pinterest, which requires little emotional investment, and is mostly just plain fun.

And I’ve painted. I’ve painted some good paintings. I’ve painted the pastries that I planned, but I’ve also painted some paintings that are completely different from my usual work.

I like them. I liked painting them. They are good. (I don’t say that very often about my own work, so this is a big step for me.)

Here’s the problem. Showing them leaves me a bit vulnerable, yes? Yes. And that’s hard when I’m already feeling vulnerable and overexposed.

So I’m saying yes. Yes to the scary. Yes to vulnerable.  Yes to stepping out of my shell.

But also, yes to my own boundaries. Yes to creating a comfortable place for myself. Yes to managing who receives my trust and where I extend myself. I need a few walls.

It’s a fine line. Be patient with me as I figure it out.

And expect to see some new paintings soon.