I’ve been taking these old art postcards I’ve collected over the years and altering them in my sketchbook. “The Lady of Shalott,” is a painting by John William Waterhouse. It was inspired by Lord Tennyson’s poem about a woman who is an artist. She weaves in a tower and lives an isolated life. She can only watch the people living their lives near the city of Camelot. She can’t even look at them directly, only through their reflection in a mirror. Here’s a portion of the poem:
There she weaves by night and day, a magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say, a curse is on her if she stay
to look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be, and so she weaveth steadily,
and little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
One day she is tempted by the sight of Sir Lancelot who is very handsome. She breaks her spell, and looks upon him directly. The mirror shatters and she knows because of the curse that her time is running out. She takes a boat towards Camelot, but dies before it arrives. Lancelot looks over her tragic death with sympathy.
Creating art takes a lot of time. As much as I love creating art by myself, I know in my heart that I also need to connect with people, face to face. I can start to feel too isolated if I don’t reach out. This is why I started serving others through art. I am still an artist. I still spend a lot of time creating on my own. Yet, when I have the opportunity to hold a workshop or a class, another need is fulfilled. I get to connect with the creative spirit in others. It is an honor and a joy to do so. I hope that you will have the courage to share your creative gifts. Make time and space to create with others. Share with one another. Talk about what you are creating.
I especially love how Waterhouse has shown the Lady of Shalott with her tapestry draped over the edge of the boat. It’s as if she is attempting to take her beautiful creation out into the world, even though it is uncomfortable and breaking her isolation to do so. She shows strength by attempting to take her art to Camelot.
I hope that you will find the courage to share your gifts with the world. Share what you create, even if it is just with one other person. Talk about it. Try to have a conversation that is void of judgment. Focus on the feelings. What did it feel like to create it? What feelings do you experience when you look at it? This simple sharing can be very validating. If you are curious, ask the person you are sharing with what feelings they have about the creation or how they feel about what you have shared. Try being truthful and vulnerable. Connection can feel uncomfortable, but it can also be very healing.
Wishing you much creating, curiosity and connection,
Bonnie Kelso is a Creativity Coach who uses Creating as a healing modality. She is the author of Vitalize Your Creative Life an interactive workbook which helps people connect to their creative inner child. She also facilitates creativity workshops and classes. She is the creator of the ABCs of Conscious Creating, a guided self-study program that delves deeper into the spiritual realm of your unique creative potential.