Friday, November 4, 2011

Exploring the many forms of artist in me

This past month has been my busiest month in a while, now working two jobs, taking a class, and doing many other things such as art, running, and of course, spending time with loved ones. Previously, I hadn't been quite so busy, for about 5 months or so, yet in that time, I was so much less productive artistically. Why? I wondered this before, given I had been excited at the prospect of having the gift of time to work on my art this summer. But that gift of time was needed for other priorities; and spending so much time at home every day meant that one of the reasons I create art was no longer a reality.

For me, creating art has always been, among many other things, an outlet: a way to relax, decompress, and re-energize in times of busy-ness, in much the same way running does for me. But unlike running, art is a way to force me to spend quality time at home resting, in a way that is hard when life pulls you in multiple directions. So as I spent the summer at home a lot, I focused more on running because I didn't need any other excuse to be at home; instead, I needed more excuses to get out of the door.

Somehow, in this busy month, trying to work out a new routine for myself, I've managed to carve out a bit of time here and there, when needed, for creative expression. I've finished two new canvases recently as a submission for the Anonymous Art Show held as the annual fundraiser for the North Vancouver Community Arts Council (so to preserve anonymity, I won't be blogging about the images right now). In addition, I've also prepared a submission for a call for artists to the Seymour Art Gallery where I've never exhibited work before. Tomorrow, I'll be dropping off both submissions and it feels really good having them all ready to go, packaged up, and waiting by the door. I feel like I've accomplished something great here! Hopefully I'll get into both shows and have news to report on upcoming exhibitions!

I've also somehow found time for other forms of creative expression. Because of a class I'm taking, Exploring the Arts for Social Change (fantastic course, by the way), I'm working on a collective art piece and presentation with a classmate. We decided on a combination of poetry and music for our 'performance' next Wednesday. I wrote a poem I'm quite proud of which we'll be creatively reciting to the class. And as for the music piece, well, we'll be playing guitars and singing a song we've worked on (adjusting the lyrics of a song we found and like). The moment we decided on the idea, I got excited. Also nervous, because I haven't considered myself a 'musician' for a while. But I know it's in me.

It's been a few years since I've played my guitar regularly, although I'd picked it up a few times here and there over the last little while. Recently I broke a string and another important part was also broken. I left it in its broken state, uncared for, for the last few months, ignoring the state it's been in, thinking, "I'll get to that later." I finally made plans to get it fixed, get new strings, and start playing again. I realized that prior to this class project, I had little motivation to fix the guitar. Here was my excuse to re-start, and it felt great to notice this. When I got to the repair shop and learned what I was in for, and learned of what new guitars went for.....guess what I did? I invested a few extra dollars and bought a NEW guitar, leaving the old one in its state of disrepair! Oh my goodness, am I crazy?

I bought my old steel string when I was a teen - bought the least expensive one I could find as I learned to play. Over time I realized that while I loved strumming and singing cover tunes, I much preferred trying classical songs - really using my ability to read music and interpret the notes on the page. And it's hard to compare to Spanish guitar playing flamenco music! But playing classical on a steel string guitar can only satisfy you for long. It's hard to finger pick, and the sound isn't as rich and full. Playing harder songs can be really frustrating when your fingers get sore real easy from trying to do it all on steel strings.

So I figured now was my time to finally get a classical guitar! Again, I got an inexpensive model, but oh my goodness, she's a beauty; the sound is incredible! I can't get enough! I bought the 2011 Yamaha C40, which delivers the sound quality you'd expect from Yamaha, but at a really good price - real awesome value. I'm certain that this new guitar, the kind of guitar I've wanted for years, and the rich tones the nylon strings provide, will keep me motivated to play and challenge myself to harder songs for years to come.

3 comments:

The Garden Ms. S said...

Congratulations on following your muse and rediscovering old talents. I look forward to hearing and seeing more!

Patti said...

What an incredible and exciting time for you...there seems to be so much creative energy flowing from you right now. Can't wait to hear how your presentation goes :)

ZAHiDA JAFFER said...

Thank you!

Patti, I'll have to practice some songs and give you a demo next time you're over. :-)