Art: Let it BE • by Rachel Whetzel
Hello. My Name is Rachel. I am an artist. Just three years ago, I never would have told you that. I was always the little girl with skinned knees. I was the girl in the middle of the boys competing to be the best tadpole catcher in the ditch out back. Sure. I played with dolls once in a while, but I secretly didn't LIKE being girly. I hated pink. I loved snakes. I played Tonka trucks with the neighbor boy. I played baseball with the boys. I caught grasshoppers barehanded. I NEVER screamed at spiders. I could catch lizards AND keep their tails intact. I had rats for pets. At every chance I had, I tried to prove just how UNgirly I was. If you had told that little girl back then that when she was grown up, she would LIKE pink, and lace, and sparkles and DOLLS? Well, She would NEVER have believed you.
Letting your Art Show
I've been creating since I was a child, blessed with parents who fed my creativity and imagination as often as I asked them to. As a little girl, I peddled my drawings to my neighbors. My little sister put up with many watercolor face paintings. As a teenager, I tortured my friends by asking them to ride the stick horses I made myself from scratch. My imagination was my best friend, and thankfully, I never forgot how to use it. Somewhere along the way, I went from a child that believed I was an artist, to a person that doubted whether she was good enough to call herself that.
And then I realized.
No matter WHO you are.
No matter WHAT you create.
ART lives inside you. It lives inside ME.
Even within yourself, what you find frustrating because it didn't come out the way you intended isn't any LESS art. Even in its definition, art is in the PROCESS.
Let your art SHOW. Don't let someone else tell you what your art can or cannot be. It's not up to them.
Certainly, one hopes that others will like and enjoy their art. But be cautious in who you allow to have INFLUENCE over you.
Be cautious in how you give and take critiques. In the end, no matter how “worthy” the person giving a critique is, your art is YOURS. THAT is what makes it valuable. It's not about living up to the standards that other people have set for you. Make your art for yourself. When you allow yourself that freedom, the people who need your art will come.
There are people who will criticize, and pick, and pull at what is and is not art. They are not important. THEY do not “get” it. It's time we support each other. There is room in this world for art to live in ALL of us. Some of us will make money at it. Some of us will not. THAT has nothing to do with letting your art SHOW, and allowing your art to LIVE. It's the lesson that saved the artist in me. It's the lesson I want the world to know.
Healing with Art Journaling
About two years ago, I had a pretty big loss and betrayal of friendship. I didn't have anything. I didn't have anyone. Fortunately, I had experienced a year of Art Journaling with Emily Falconbridge the year before, and I knew that I loved it. I had discovered a world of art journalers and artists online that encouraged me. I “met” Linda Woods and her sister online. I read their book, Journal Revolution. In the year that followed, I used art journaling to heal. I used it to bleed. I let myself say things I would not have been able to say without art. At times when my hurt was the worst. At times when I wanted to curl up and take long naps and nothing else. There was art. It calms. It heals. It nurtures. It releases. It frees. It's a catalyst. It's cathartic. It's exactly what you need if you let it BE.
To learn more about Rachel Whetzel, visit rachelwhetzel.com.