“You can’t skip the process,” they remind me as I continuously search for quick fixes. Yes, my paintings talk back, I'm just learning how to listen. This year, my art practice has transformed from a diary to a mirror, and I’m “sho’ is ugly.” Though it’s in the ugly where my beauty grows, and my paintings this year taught me how to incorporate heavy emotions into my self-care routine. They opened my pores and helped me release unproductive thoughts and cleared my focus. Heavy emotions really get in there and clean that turmoil out so I could learn how to move forward.
As an artist, I used my art process to research and address uncomfortable experiences. I started this search by creating thumbnail sketches of photos from a time period where I felt similar emotions. After I brought the sketches to my liking, I used them as a reference for my painting studies. I never decide my color schemes ahead of time because I tend to process my memories through colors. I use these paint studies and sketches as maps to search for the disconnect, whatever that disconnect is. I am very intentional about taking my time with these paintings because it’s not about the end result, it’s about the process. As a researcher, I am intentional about understanding my uncomfort in order to shine light to areas blinded by my projection. This research gives me clarity and provides different approaches to help me move forward. My process especially supported me as a teacher. When I run into miscommunication during teaching, my drawings offer support and remind me to breathe. Through visually journaling, I am able to unbiasedly reflect, stay present, and retain information. Visualizing my feelings also helps me push through difficult tasks in order to complete a deadline. My thesis mirrors my teaching pedagogy. I believe that art class should be the place where students can develop self awareness. The content I teach models for students how to use their individual creative processes as an educational support to better understand any subject matter they choose. I also encourage students to use their creative process to create safe spaces to process their individual experiences.