I initially wrote this September 28th, 2022; I wasn't ready to share with all of you at the time. The ink sketches are from inktober 2020, I inked a full month in rabbit theme. Little did I know how foretelling the imagery of the rabbit with the boots would be for the daily theme "Shoes".
I tell this to any one who looks over my sketchbooks, these are not simple doodles.
These are blue prints.
“Stop shrinking yourself to make room for other people’s magic.
You are wondrous.
Take up space.”- @inspiredtowrite
When I was a little girl one of my favorite books was illustrations full of mice who wore clothes and lived in a boot.
I loved that book. Every page was so detailed and the mice were charming as heck in their big family.
I’ve been following the tiny creech who have recently shown up in force in the studio.
I thought they might be new characters in my story.
But the farther I go the more I realize they are not new at all. They have been here all along.
It took me all the way back here. And right now my current work, albeit mostly tiny studies right now, feels like coming home to myself.
Hang with me — but remember the boot, the home of the tiny mice.
Fashion is not my thing.
I’m a minimalist, I have a wardrobe that fits in a drawer. And a metric ton of running sneakers.
I needed an ‘outfit’ to wear to these art show receptions for shows. Something just a bit more ‘formal’-ish than my usual go to of joggers and paint stained Ugg slippers.
So I saw these vegan Doc Martin boots. They were perfect. They were in the shape of that boot from that book with the tiny mice.
….But, they were absurdly out of this world more money than I’d ever spend on shoes.
I only would wear them, what, 5-6 times per year?
Meh. I waffled on the purchase.
I bought a different pair that was far less expensive, but weren’t quite right by anyone’s opinion (thanks fam, good looking out). Sigh. So it goes.
I didn’t show up for that little girl this week- the kid who read books about mice who lived in a boot.
I bailed on two art receptions recently. I had good excuses: a migraine, or I was working, or those new boots weren’t ‘it.’
I could pretend these reasons justified not showing up and standing in front of my art work in public.
This is still a struggle, it’s uncomfy but I know it’s a necessary part of ‘being an artist’,
When I started this account in 2020, I made a commitment to myself. I want my art work to be seen, I don’t want to be the artist who hides in their studio, painting her life away.
I forgot to show up for myself. Forgot to show up for the little girl who quit playing piano after her first solo recital.
Forgot to show up for the girl who hid behind her mom, afraid to be seen. Afraid to wear real pants that weren’t overalls because she was afraid regular paints would fall down. Afraid to spell the last word in the spelling bee properly because then it would be just me and one other kid (I intentionally miss-spelled toothache to get out of this speaking in public situation. ‘tootha-c-k’ actually created far more humiliation for me later on)
Afraid to speak and be heard.
Afraid to embrace being a ‘tomboy’ and not a ‘girly girl’- preferring to spend time with the boys instead of the girls. I got bullied a lot for my alternative fashion choices by these girls later on in grade school, anyway.
Fast forward to present day:
That girl who is now afraid to share and proudly stand by 33 years of a life spent painting the creatures she adores.
That girl who has dozens of sketchbooks filled cover to cover. That’s the thing about sketch books. They can close. You can hide everything in a sketch book.
Sketchbooks are safe.
Paintings in the studio are safe.
But that’s not where paintings belong.
I’m not here to stay safe.
I’m here to get scared.
To feel the fear
…and understand, it’s okay to be afraid.
Don’t be afraid of being seen.
Don’t be afraid of being heard.
Take up space.
Buy the fucking boots.
Stomp around in em’.
The boots are important. They make me a tall person, well, taller , than I really am. This helps me get into character and step out of the studio.
I think ‘Aliza and Her Monsters’ is a little girl trying to be very big and brave.
The boots help.
I want to be tall and not afraid to be seen.
I want my voice to be heard.
I don’t want to be scared to make noise.
I bailed on two art shows and this felt like I took a giant step backward on this art journey.
There was a tiny creech screaming ‘Just get the fucking boots. It’s not about the boots. But the boots are where the little mouses came from.. in that childhood storybook.
I’m here to get uncomfy. I’m going to wear the boots and tell my story.
…and I hope you find the courage to tell your own.
“My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.”― Henry Rollins
Get. The. Damn. Boots.
Aliza and Her Monsters