Every day I get to be here on this Earth, I’m paying attention.
Dearest Doodle Soupsters,
I’ve been asking myself about the through-lines in my artwork, knowing they’re there but trying to put words to it.
I write down the stories behind my artwork and my reflections. Yet how would I put it in just a few words? How would I summarize the connections between my artworks with just one line? My art expresses the intricacies of being alive.
Sometimes, it’s the beauty of just existing. Sometimes, it’s the bittersweet depth of grief. Or it’s the feeling of connection to myself, to nature, to others. Or the visual of how the wind sounds or how this particular breeze feels cold and light brushing my neck. Or the dualities of the healing process: beautiful, messy, painful.
Every day I get to be here on this Earth, I’m paying attention. Of course, sometimes, that means awareness of what's hard and frustrating, even awful. And other times, it feels like the greatest gift, fulfilling to the max, like the everyday happening of this sun setting is a one-of-a-kind, magical experience. And it is.
The image above is one of my charcoal drawings, a self-portrait. So much of the abstraction in my paintings comes from attention to detail. Sensitivity. Looking closely. Processing the intricacies of sensation, emotion, awareness, feeling. And allowing myself to approach each blank canvas from a place of freedom, acceptance, and intuition.
Painting from a place of freedom, acceptance, and intuition doesn't mean only painting when I feel "good" or calm. And it doesn't mean willing myself into peaceful feelings before painting. It means all of this, all of that — it's all worth expressing.
I believe that cranky paintings deserve as much of a place in my art practice as do my serene, blue paintings from my Into the Transcendent Point series.
Similarly, my portraits, landscapes, and text-based art deserve to be shared just as much as my fully-abstract pieces. I think I've been stashing away those pieces in part because of their overtness. And the truth is all of my artworks share through-lines, regardless of what categories they can be placed in.
As of today, I changed my website tagline to "painting the intricacies of being alive." It used to be, "abstract paintings from my soul."
I'm realizing that I don’t really make art in terms of abstract versus realism. They are interconnected. I’m at my best as a person and as an artist when I’m open to both extremes of the spectrum and the in-between.
After all, I believe balance doesn't mean finding some point on a line and clutching it, grasping on for dear life! That's rigidity. To me, finding balance is a kind of perpetual exploration. It's paying attention and reflecting on those observations. And that's my art.
Texture, color, mark-making, the shape of a block of buildings I saw yesterday, the way the air felt cool and humid — these are like puzzle pieces that come together into my paintings.
There’s no distinct line separating what’s representing things from the “real world” and what’s not.
To me, representation versus abstraction feels like a false dichotomy. Because my mind, my feelings, my memories, my unique personhood — everything "me" interacts with how and what I see, what I take from what I see, how and what I create.
If I hyper-realistically draw a small area of a flower or ocean waves super close up, is it abstract art just because it may appear that way? What if I paint a simple landscape, just sky and rolling hills, but the view is one from my imagination?
Similarly, I’m realizing that while some of my goals can be said in the abstract (to heal, to listen to my body, to be true to myself, to love and listen to my heart, to share my art and find success, to support myself and my loved ones, to make art and write), it’s okay to break them down into smaller, specific steps. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. There’s a synthesis between pursuing my soul path/my dreams/what I love and “being realistic.”
Sometimes, being realistic actually means pursuing our dreams with gusto, attention to detail, breaking it down into manageable steps, taking it day by day to make it a reality. I used to think “being realistic” meant I was supposed to pursue something else, and that’s just not true. So when I began to listen once again to my need to be an artist, I struggled with finding the synthesis between abstract goals and tangible steps. I also struggled to recognize all the small wins as progress.
There's a superstitiousness to the way I used to think about pursuing my dreams. My past experiences drove this fear of being pulled away from what I love, disconnecting, losing touch with myself. This fear of trusting myself. This fear of losing myself.
Now, I feel like I can really say it and mean it — I believe in myself. I can do this. I will do this. I’m capable! I love art! This means a lot to me and that matters.
I know how I want to live my life. And I don't have to clutch onto one fixed point. I can evolve and change and explore and still be me.
Thank you for reading and being a part of my path. Everyone who follows my art, uses my website, places orders, or shares my artwork, shares the love — it really does make a difference. Each and every one of you is helping me make my dreams reality. And I hope my artwork and writing can uplift, encourage, inspire you along your path too.
With trust in myself and gratitude to all of you,
Nicole Sylvia Javorsky