Among many things, I am a visual artist. Several years ago, I took a course that changed my life. It was a course on the Business of Art. I learned a great deal but the most important was to allow myself to be me. It meant I needed to be vulnerable and that was incredibly hard.
Perhaps we’re all born vulnerable, but I quickly learned to take care of my heart by allowing only a very few near it. As a child I may have been clutching a stuffed bear under one arm, but the other was hoisting a shield.
So, what does it mean to be vulnerable? There is a fear of letting yourself be seen. A fear of rejection, of hurt, of being passed over for love. I picture a heart loose on the ground where someone who is careless may trod upon it… so therefore its best to keep it safe by holding it dear where no one can see it, or touch it, or do it harm.
The problem with that is you can not create strong human connections without sharing your heart, your true self. I learned that when you’re vulnerable and allow yourself the freedom to fully and truly express yourself, when you can speak your truth and be your true self, you have found your power and your strength and your connection to humanity.
I love the example of a child, one who is still new to the world, who doesn’t judge and mainly just feels. This child howls with her sadness, loudly vents frustration, whoops with excitement, rolls on the ground with joy and laughs uproariously. She is transparently showing her true self. Now, I’m not saying we should all go that far, (although I’ve been to many family gatherings where stuff like this goes on!) I’m just saying, “think about it”.
Expressing vulnerability is part of the journey of life; but what does it have to do with art? As I’ve learned, plenty.
I’m not presumptuously trying to “change the world”. I just want to share my experience and perhaps create something that provides one step forward in this march towards “speaking” your truth. Thus, I created a painting workshop where fellow artists come together to talk about vulnerability, and answer each other’s questions.
Some of these are simple questions like “What’s your favourite colour”, or “what’s your favourite flower?” but they soon turn into something a little deeper like “What are you most grateful for?” or “What wisdom have you learned from your wounds?”
Questions like these make us delve a little deeper into who we are, and help us learn the lessons we need to learn to become better humans. I have put on this workshop about seven or eight times so far, and the results and feedback have meant the world to me.
I see mainly women (although I’d love to have a few men attend) get more than some pointers on how to draw a face. I truly think that we all just need to be provided with a mechanism to find a way to express our truth. We need to be challenged to attend to it.
If we can find a way to ask ourselves questions that touch the soul or tear open our hearts a little, and then find a way to answer them so we get to know ourselves a little better, then we can share some of that truth with others. Sure, as an individual it makes us vulnerable, but the pay off is immense. It creates our power and lets us provide the gift of our true self to the world.
And anytime we offer our true self to the world, we also offer it to ourselves, and to those people we love and care about. Everybody wins.
Author Bio: Arden Rose
Arden Rose is a Canadian artist working in Acrylic & Collage. She has lived in British Columbia most of her life and spent a great deal of her childhood running wild in the hills on the outskirts of Kamloops. Self taught, she has been influenced by the expressionist movement, fauvism, and Modigliani. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Arden sees beauty in the natural world, and humanity.
Her work ranges from impressionistic portraits to bold landscapes and florals. Rose easily captures both joy and wonder and she is colorist at heart. “I love colour, dream in colour, and live and breathe it, chasing delight, joy, spirit, and beauty.”
Find Arden and her art at her website HERE.