Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making Friends with Muriel - The Joy and Wonder of Art Journals

Making Friends With Muriel; Art Journal Page
©2014 Tracey Hewitt
Let me introduce you to Muriel. I think she is in fact a little older than she looks; and she is the face belonging to the voice inside my head. Some people would call her the "Inner Critic", there are probably a hundred titles we could give her. Please tell me you have one too? You know, the voice that tells you how much you suck; that you're too fat, too skinny, too loud, too.... you can fill in the space. That ever present nagging that you're not enough of the good stuff and too much of the not good stuff. A little while ago, she was getting real loud. It was time to deal with her. It started with some writing, and at some point, I burst out laughing, because I realised that she reminded me of my high school Home Economics teacher. This woman had a most unfortunate voice, and was possibly the most negative human being I had encountered in my fourteen or so years. She would hawk up some spit onto her fingers to wipe chalk from the blackboard, and, most unfortunately, would swipe her finger through one cake batter after another in the Home Ec kitchen, suck it off, and move on to the next bowl, until she had tasted them all - never washing that finger off. And yes, she probably had spat on it to clean the blackboard first. Toss in sarcastic and a tiny bit mean, and (not that I consider this a character flaw, but it affected my opinion of her back then) sorrowfully dowdy and dull.

But, back to Muriel. It was time, as I said, to put her in her place. A quick sketch with a water brush filled with Sumi Ink (which might just be the best fun you can have with any drawing instrument on earth), and suddenly, she was getting a makeover. Sparkly turquoise glasses, bright pink lips and a big, fat piece of my mind! Who knew that could be so much fun?

Again, I was reminded of the power of art. To start with a topic, subject or feeling that has negative aspects; express it with colour and movement, and through the process transform it completely. The great thing about it is this - it happens every time.

Muriel will forever live in my head, and sometimes, she has some useful stuff to offer - like "For heaven's sake, get OFF Facebook and DO something!" But, when she's being a cow; thinking about this journal page makes me smile, and quietly ignore her and get on with shooting for stars and aiming for awesome. (Neither of which I accomplish, but I figure it's good to set your sights high!)


Anonymous said...

I love this Trace, Muriel can get stuffed. Go you :)
Nothing quite like an exorcism and a makeover to turn things around!
Much love
Renee xoxo

VickiRossArt said...

Made me guffaw! I have at least two voices...the evil one is Victoria. The clown one is Wicki. Victoria is very quiet these days...when I paint a lot.

Peta Lloyd said...

Oh I love your humour Trace! Muriel, Gloria, Gertrude or whoever, can be quite handy as you say, she gives you ammunition to fight for what you want because you do recognise when she is getting too loud and powerful, (power over of course, trying to erode your self esteem and confidence).
Thank you for your honesty and humour, it has given me an idea about a way I can work with young people in particular young women, to recognise their negative inner voices and tapes that do so much damage to their self esteem and confidence.

Tracey Hewitt said...

Thanks Peta and Vicki! I'm quite distressed to realise I've never responded to your comments here - a change of email has left me notification-less! So pleased you both enjoyed the post and found something useful there. Peta, Id love to hear about the work you're doing with this with young people - sounds wonderful!