For the longest of time, I thought I had to be put together. I thought I had to be fabulous and on point every day all day… 365 days a year. I have never been more exhausted then I was in those years of striving for perfection and somehow always coming up short. I never measured up or met expectations. I didn’t even meet MY expectations. All I wanted to do was never mess up, always look good, and to be seen as well, perfect. No matter how ridiculously high my personal standards were, I wasn’t able to shake them.
These unrealistic standards controlled my life. I no longer allowed myself to be seen as I was, I only allowed myself to be seen as I thought I should be.
And let me tell you, I hated every second I shut myself away because I thought I should be someone or something else.
That’s when I found a safe haven: creating. I threw myself into painting. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me because it was more important to just paint.
Smearing paint around a canvas is more rewarding than it sounds. It had awoken a part of me I didn’t know was there. Painting was calling me out of the shadows and putting me on display. Painting started to open my eyes to a new world one bursting with color and “happy accidents”. As soon as I picked up that brush and let go of what I thought should be, I became free.
I’m now an artist and I’m bold enough to make that claim. Painting has become as much a part of me as my own legs and as natural as breathing. I can’t imagine life without my studio or brushes now. I had no idea that when I started to create things my soul would stir and I would become passionate about the life I was once trying to escape.
I now see life through my artist shades. One with no rules, just what you make of it. One where I have learned to embrace the journey, while still focusing on a destination. One where I push myself further, but still go with the flow.
Most of the time when I look through the photos I’ve taken after a day in the studio, I don’t understand how I even complete a decent painting. There are messes and mistakes and muddy smudges EVERYWHERE on the canvas.
Yet at the end of a paint session, I can step back and look at how all those things came together to create a beautiful piece.
No one knows what’s under the final layer of paint. No one knows how many tries it took to get the background color perfect or that eye just right. As simple as they might seem, paintings are a complex mess.
Painting helped me realize that it’s okay to be seen as a work in progress. It’s okay to be known and it’s okay to be loved where you’re at. Because regardless of the imperfections, flaws, and smudges, I’m still a beautiful masterpiece in the making and so are you.
About the Author
Rachel Christopoulos is an expressive artist living in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She’s completely passionate about creating colorful, original fine art paintings that inspire and speak to others. Rachel finds inspiration through other artists such as Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, as well as impossible ideas, everyday people, and a world
bursting with color. Her artist mission is simple: to create vibrant artwork that embraces imperfection, explores identity, and plays with colorful designs and whimsical brushstrokes
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