I am……..

Words are funny aren’t they? Especially Nouns or naming words. Titles that define your roles in life ie: I am a mother, I am a wife, I am an admin assistant, I am a human. I have been thinking about this a little bit, and excluding what other people “title” me as, the question I have been mulling over lately is, what title do I give myself?

You see, it started back in March 2022 – among other dramatic events occurring around me at the time – I contracted COVID 19, thus in turn, wiping me completely out of the life game as I knew it. The COVID infection put me out for nearly 3 weeks altogether. After the initial obvious symptoms wore off, I would be fine for a little bit then be completely wiped out in the next moment with out any warning.

During this time I learnt pretty quickly that I needed to rest. So that’s what I did, I went to ground, I stopped everything. I stayed inside and curled up either on the couch or in bed. I did drag myself up and out to work but other than that, I just stayed in my cocoon of quiet. No house work, no cooking, no baking, no church, no socialising, no gardening, no art, not even walking, all I did was sleep and be still. 

After about 14 days, 2 minuet noodles started tasting awful again and my appetite came back. Also my energy levels started to regulate and I was able to see out the entire day without needing to sleep. As I got more and more interested about rejoining life, I began to contemplate starting up my morning walks again. But I was hesitating, I felt so unfit, I was not even sure I was capable of walking like I had in the past. This was the cause of a quiet sadness that started to fill my mind, and I began wonder what I was trying to do with, basically, everything.   

I loved my morning walks, the crisp fine air, the peaceful solitude and quiet of the dawn, the cheeky birds that fly, play and sing up and around the space I am moving in. Watching and listening to the birds in the morning, is soul food for the mind, and over the years I have been fascinated on how they like to swoop and tease my walking partner, especially those silly Magpies. 

The other birds I find very cheeky, are the King Parrots, they are such spectacular looking creatures and move so fast it is hard to stop and get a good picture. 

During my walks, perviously to my cocoon state, I would find it a challenge to be able to capture an image of these wonderful birds. You see it was like these fickle creatures knew I was going to take a picture. They would sit right up until the last second where in a flash of red green and blue, the birds would dash out of my vision leaving the composition blank. This would frustrate me to no end, up until the last day of my self imposed isolation. 

On this day, I got up in the morning and my walking partner had gotten so used to no morning walk, that instead of sitting by the front door she just headed to the back with one big disapproving huff. I ignored that sigh, however I did notice a small twist of guilt starting to wind its way up into my heart. As I pretended this wasn’t happening I opened the kitchen curtain to see what the morning held, and there he was. The biggest King Parrot I had ever seen sitting in my garden, looking right at me. 

At first I was startled, and froze, waiting for him to fly away, but he just stayed there. I moved slowly, got my camera and snapped a few pictures. As I put my camera down, I came to the realization that this noble bird was acknowledging me. It was like he was saying that my absence has been noted and now my presence is requested at court. Just then I knew I needed to get back to walking. So much to my walking partners surprise and excitement, I grabbed my walking clothes, boots, and we headed out the front door. I mean who am I to say no to royalty?

The picture I took that morning is the inspiration for this painting, titled “The Kings Request”, Oil on canvas. This piece is my very first oil painting and is the start of a new beginning for me, a new chapter in my art process and life. You see at the start of 2022 before my emotional tornado was about to spin out of control, I decided that, I needed to move forward with my art, to commit to my creativity wholly and with this I felt the need to grow and explore outside of the safety of my water colour illustrations. With this I walked into the big wide world of oil painting.   

The Kings Request – Oil on Canvas

When I made this decision I had no idea on how this would effect me. After I fully recovered, I signed up at a local gallery where they were running photorealism oil painting classes. What I have learnt in this class and with this technique has moved way beyond the canvas, class room, and studio. I am learning how to slow down, how to be observant, to think critically of what I am doing, but also learning not to be self critical. I am learning that you can change your mind and if you find something difficult to perform perhaps all I need to do is stop and come back to it later. I am rediscovering myself as an artist.   

You see, over the years I have denied the “Title” of artist. Even as I completed both my BA and MA of fine art I would speak with people and never introduce myself as an artist. I felt I did not “deserve” that title. I am just “Me”, “I am someone who likes to draw that’s all”, “Im not an artist.” I have denied a truth about myself that I can no longer hide. You see, in terms of titles, not only am I a mother, a wife, a writer, a painter, an admin assistant, or a human. I AM AN ARTIST, (whom walks on occasion).

I hope you are having a great weekend and keeping safe. 

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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