Walking Back to Happiness

In 2015, I set myself the task of painting my own face. every day, for a whole year. It was torment. Not only was it a tough time in my life, but it also meant looking at myself every day – something I usually avoid at all costs.

When that year ended, I felt things were unfinished. I still wasn’t happy, I still hadn’t found peace. I initially committed to finding something to be grateful for every day. But it was hard. Maybe it was too much of a leap from misery to daily gratitude. Or maybe it’s just that gratitude is so far from my default position that I couldn’t get into the swing of it. I floundered. I tried but I couldn’t always see past the sadness, or I was too busy and I forgot. Or anything I had to say sounded twee and annoying even to myself.

So now I’m ready to take a new tack.

There is one thing that always calms me down, always distracts my mind from its endless negative rumination. One thing I can count on to always be a friend …. Art. Specifically making art. Making good art, making bad art, drawing or painting, pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolour, ink – it doesn’t even matter. As long as I am communicating in that way, I am calm.

I have been stuck for a long time, trying to find happiness in people and situations where it can never reside. Happiness, I truly believe, can only come from within and it is time for me to find mine. The first step in that quest is to draw or paint or collage as much as possible. I am not committing to one drawing a day – I may need weeks to finish a piece or I may do a quick sketch. I don’t know yet how that will evolve.

I’m reviving this blog as a way to track my journey and share what I create – the good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t know if anyone else will be interested and it’s fine either way. This is my journey.

It’s time.

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Sketch of Cononley church. Ink, watercolour and pastel. April 30th 2017.

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24 thoughts on “Walking Back to Happiness

  1. thebigshedart

    As someone who followed your journey last year with interest and admiration, and from a very similar perspective, I’m really glad you’re back Louise! I’m even more ‘stuck’, and the one thing I can’t do at the moment is make art. Any art. So you will be inspiring me, again.

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    1. Louise Post author

      That’s great – it will be nice to have company and who knows, I might find something that helps us both get unstuck 🙂

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  2. Meridiana

    I recently had to move, and consequently I haven’t been able to do any art for months and months. I’m guessing it will be another 2 months before I can get going with art again. I’m delighted to see you posting in here again and will enjoy seeing what you do while I wait for a chance to get going myself. Yay!

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  3. mrobert1744

    Louise I have watched your journey through the SBS FB group and have been inspired by your efforts. Authenticity is a rare quality and I think you have been cultivating that. The realizations you share come from actually doing and that makes them precious almost sacred. Hard for me to communicate this but I will try. The daily challenges to do a drawing, or cultivate gratitude, or authenticity are tools (sacred tools) . I am finding out that I also feel better when I do my “art”. Yet like Yoga or any other practice they are a boat to “reach the other shore”. Hard to explain and to understand (I am not saying I do) yet we must continue to use the tools and develop. I catch rare glimpses. While most may not comment nor appear to notice, your efforts do make a difference more than you know. Sustainability takes on a different meaning when we do sustained focused effort, The rewards are personal yet are recognized and appreciated by those on different journeys.

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      1. Sherry (Cheryl) Andre

        Louise, your journey is one we all take, to one degree or other, but you have articulated, painted, sketched, collaged and shared the journey so well. From your cows and rabbits, the selfies and my favorites, your magnificent hills, rock walls, lanes and landscapes of Yorkshire in so many media. I look forward to traveling with you again this year and in this blog. Know you are not alone. There are so many traveling with you, encouraging you and being inspired by you. Thank you.

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  4. jrwilsondesign

    Welcome back, Louise! I will enjoy hearing from you again. i appreciate your heartfelt thoughts and your honesty about what you feel. Setting daily goals for oneself is sometimes too much. Life doesn’t have to be so structured, and sometimes it is better to let the art and gratitude come as it may. Be well and be at peace.

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  5. Susan

    I too have followed your art. Glad you are back!! First met up in SBS. Love seeing your art & your photos.
    Gratitude…look at the little things. You have your ability to do art, from small to large. Many people don’t or can’t. You have your art peeps walking by your side. I don’t know what is bringing you down but I do know You will be in my prayers!! Know that sharing with all of us can be an inspiration & encourage someone else. You have purpose!! Keep up the Art, we love seeing it.

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  6. Corinne McNamara

    Your journey has been amazing. I see you as actually doing something, even though life has been filled with challenges. It is something I’ve said to myself- I make art to have a voice, to be present in the world, but I don’t do it enough. You have inspired me to look at myself and to pick up my pen and paints more often. Thank you. May you find what you need as your journey continues.

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    1. Louise Post author

      A friend of mine said ‘you can’t always choose how you feel but you can choose what you do about it. I have tried to choose positive things and, when I feel down, I think about those positives and they give me comfort x

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  7. Lynn Cohen

    Your cows still watch over me at my office…. I delight walking in and seeing their beautiful softly colored faces! I felt your selfie journey, sometimes painfully so, sometimes jubilant, always interesting wonderful art! I wish there was a way to infuse my gratitude for life into your veins, but I guess it’s something we all have to find, create and realize on our own. I don’t recognize mine everyday, but more days than not I open my eyes in the morning grateful that I get another day, another crack at it, this thing called life.
    Yes, I’m interested and yes I’ll continue to follow your shared journey!

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    1. Louise Post author

      Lynn, I did have that feeling once – I hope I can find it again. And thanks for always being there xx

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  8. stacyatwork

    Louise, I loved your brave year of selfies, but reading this I see we share more than drawing. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I am listening. Take care.

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  9. Alma Gene Holt

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, your trials and tribulations. and joys, and art. You verbalize what so many of us are struggling with and it helps to know we are not alone in our feelings. I both enjoyed your self-portraits and admired your fortitude in finishing a whole year of selfies!

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