So – over the past couple of months or so…

I have been undergoing…

…what can only be described as a metamorphosis of sorts.

I have been through an extremely hermit’y season.  Haven’t been visiting or socialising… haven’t been hanging around at coffee shops – (or even getting OUT the house)… have barely seen family or friends.

It’s not a bad thing though…

I’m not lonely or sad.  The only way I can describe this season is… transformational.  I feel as though I have NEEDED to disappear into my cocoon for a while and give myself time and space to… change.

I’m not even sure what I’m changing in “to”…

But – I have (again) transitioned into yet another phase of life… which looks very different to the last phase!  (Oh well – at least nobody can accuse me of being stagnant!).

And… I seem to be embracing…

(takes deep, deep, DEEP breath)

…the fact that I am (and always was)… a REAL Artist.

So – in a nutshell – the story of my life:

  • Early years:  I’m me, I’m Hatty, I draw, I paint, I create, I sing, I believe myself to be an artist – no prob.
  • Teen years:  I start absorbing the idea that “art-is-just-a-hobby”… and “art-is-not-a-REAL-job”… and “REAL artists are special, cultured, super-gifted, very-rare-people!”.  Eventually (at the age of 19 – after marrying husband #1) – I stop painting.
  • From 19 – 34:  The Diminishment Years.  Trying everything in my power to fit-in, be-normal, grow-up and become the sensible, practical, responsible, respectable woman that my school, church, society, whatever has told me I should be.  For the first couple years – I do NOTHING creative at all (not a “REAL” job – remember?).  Later on – after it becomes unbearable NOT to create – I gravitate towards graphic design.  I freelance for corporate clients for a number of years.
  • From 34-40:  Slow… slow… progress in rediscovering who I really AM (thanks in large part to amazing husband #2 who encourages me – and gives me the space to figure shit out).  Also – our collective decision to live differently… to travel… to homeschool our kids… to explore… gives me the space and freedom to start to see a “bigger” picture taking shape.
  • From 40 – 43:  While on a road trip… I start drawing again.  Then the art-journalling begins (which turns out to be tremendously healing and freeing). And I find myself writing and illustrating a poem about my journey – which eventually morphs in to my first book – “How Heather got her HAT’ness back”.  I put the finishing touches to my book in Cape Town – which is where I was born and where I spent my first free, uninhibited years.  It feels as though I’ve come full circle.
  • For the first part of this year:  I carry on with various story ideas, poems, art-journals and lots of small illustrations.  I consider myself an “illustrator”… occasionally WANTING to call myself an “artist” – but then stopping myself due to my long, comprehensive, limiting, inner-stereotypes of what “REAL” artists are ‘supposed to’ be.
  • About 2 months ago:  Through a very strange, unplanned turn of events… I create my FIRST large-scale painting.  I do it for our film… as a set piece – a prop!  And  then I create another big painting.  And another.  And on the 3rd painting (which – as it turns out – was an old door)… SOMETHING SNAPPED INSIDE OF ME!!!

I can’t explain it.

Something just… snapped.  And I let out my RAGE on that door.  I literally… attacked it!

I attacked it with paint… and knives!!!  I let out years and years of pent-up creativity and rage… on that poor, old door!!!  (it’s in our movie – it can’t be missed!)

And… well…

Ever since then…

I have just been painting, and painting and painting…

It’s like I have 3 decades to catch up on!  3 decades when I SHOULD have been painting… but I didn’t… because I was scared, insecure and my mind was filled with fears, limiting mindsets and stupid stereotypes!

For the past month or two… here in my cocoon… I have been painting and painting… and experimenting and experimenting… like some kind of mad scientist!  I have been painting BIG things (and using lots and lots of paint!).  And there have been LOTS of firsts:  first time I’ve painted on a large canvas.  First time I’ve painted a large piece using oils.  First time I have sent samples of my work to a gallery.  First time somebody has purchased one of my paintings for actual money.   I have even painted my first ever self-portrait!  And I have also created a piece that’s a whirlwind of ranting, slashing, stabbing, screaming…. with a diamond in the centre of it all (yes – an actual diamond).

I will share them all with you once they’re done (I have included the NOT-finished self-portrait in this post).

Anyhoo…

So I just wanted to share that with you guys.

Hat is undergoing yet another transformation. 

I’ll still be Hat (because that’s where it all began – and my HAT’ness remains one of the few consistent things about me)… but maybe – finally – I’ll be Hat-the-ARTIST… and I’ll finally be able to say that A-word out loud… without wincing.

Without looking around, saying:  “An artist??  Where??“…