Art Therapy

Growth is not always linear....  a straight line from point A to point B and that is ok!

I am sharing my brush pen progress because I recently have been sharing a side of my calligraphy that I have talked about openly... but I have never really allowed myself to "sit in the discomfort" to allow myself to grow.

If you have been following my journey, you might already know I found calligraphy as a way to cope with multiple diagnosis and symptoms. The list of rare conditions have no cure and symptom management has been a struggle. I started sharing more candidly when I saw some messages from other calligraphers about their own obstacles like hand tremors....  I wanted others to know that I understand when I realized that my silence was contributing to this unrealistic expectation I was portraying.

Many artists can compare side by side pieces to see progress but my reality is more complicated. My unpredictable symptoms are an additional variable that many artists don't have to consider. The bigger realization happened when I saw that my insecurities were actually hurting this misunderstood population by allowing the impression that I have a steady hand and only practice my calligraphy when my symptoms are "better behaved."

My reality is that calligraphy has become an essential tool helping me cope on difficult health days and focus on something other than the pain. (which is present 24 hours a day every day of the rest of my life) Art is a lifeline that allows me to focus on joy and beauty when I have little control over the way I feel. Some days are better than others but the reality is that some days getting out of bed, showered and dressed is a big struggle. These are the days when getting up to practice and center my mind with calligraphy is that push to get out of bed and try through the exhaustion and/or pain. (I know there are people who can relate)

Below the top page is my first day of practicing (even if it is just 10-15 min to sit and put pen to paper, the next day is the red and green at the bottom with different brush pens, the next day I chose to stretch my comfort zone by going with the super flexible Pentel Sign Touch XF in blue, the brown unipin was the last completed in this photo and I felt I was struggling with control and assumed it was because I was not used to this newer brush pen

Daily Calligraphy Minuscule Practice

What I was going to discover the next day when I sat down to practice again is that the variable in question was not the new brush pen, it was a flare in my symptoms. In the past, I would have sat down to practice and tucked away the photo below. I allowed myself to not pick apart and analyze the "shaky mess" because it was serving the purpose of helping me quiet my mind and focus on something I had control of:

Daily Calligraphy Practice with Pentel Sign Touch and XF

After receiving feedback I wanted to rule out that the paper was not the problem so I took and added the bottom row (If I tried using different paper on a different day my level of shakes is not the same) so this was the solution to finding the answer to if the paper was bleeding.

You can see the purple and red are different colors of the same brush pens that had super jagged lines... I realized that the paper was not the wildcard and realized that even more with the practice time in the photos below:

My hope is that you see the full picture and give yourself grace. I don't always share the struggles because I prefer to focus on the positive in my life regardless of proportional distribution. Art gives me hope and heals my soul...  It can do that for you if you are brave enough to try.

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