You know how it is when the words in a song suddenly reach up through the melody and give you a crow-peck on the side of the head? Well, I was listening to a lively ditty by Lisa Mitchell, and as she said “even the bravest lions, they need a sidekick” , it was like she was speaking right to my heart. My throat closes and tears still jump to my eyes whenever I listen to it.
I identify with the brave lion.
In my artistic life, I am constantly calling on my courage to create work by trusting the mess, daring inner demons and dipping into memories that aren’t always worth thinking about. The monumental leap of faith I personally have to take every time I show my work takes guts of steel. I have pluck, determination and belief in my talent, but I am not a naturally confident person. I am sensitive….very, very sensitive. So the slightest step out of my comfort zone feels like I am taking on the world. Sometimes I need a run-up that takes months before I have enough speed to take the plunge.
But I always dare.
And when I look back at how valiant I’ve been, I feel glorious! The king of all I survey. For when I need to be, I am a brave lion indeed.
And all around me, I see these brave lion moments being lived out by others. Where we just have to get our mane on, take the head position of the pride and take on the world. Some people never take that mantle of. Some people seem invincible. They are lions, all the time.
But even the bravest lions, they need a sidekick.
And this bittersweet line reminds me that everyone is vulnerable. That we all need to rely on others. That we don’t need to feel alone, roaring into the darkness.
And hearing this thought, expressed in just that way, unplugged a creative deluge. I have been drawing different versions of myself and the sidekicks I would like have ever since. Sometimes I am drawing the Sidekick I would like to be. I have loved creating these new friends.
And over a few months, I had a series of them. A body of work. A collection of Sidekicks!
A Sidekick is a pal, buddy, friend and mate. An assistant to heroes! A sidekick is also a shoulder to lean in to or cry on to. A buddy that always watches your back and will hold your hand and piece together a heart when you need it. A safe harbour and cuddle factory. They have big responsibilities!
SO who is my real-world sidekick?….I hesitated as images of masked men wearing undies over tights filled my mind. The easy answer for me would be to name my hubby or best friends as my real world sidekicks, but the title doesn’t seem to quite fit.
And then I looked at where all my Sidekicks were being drawn, and the answer came to me – my journal…sorry Art Journal. It fulfills all the above criteria. It nourishes me. It takes my tears and anguish and folds them away from sight to let me heal. It’s there to celebrate joys. Always at hand to laugh with me to reminisce with wonderful stories and funny times. It loves to plan my days with me and the unending to-do and ta-dah lists, catching left-over paint and generously letting me dig into its papery hide. How I love my little journals…my joy-nal..my journey-al, my jeune-al, my Jane-all. Hah! My Sidekick!
And I look through my art journal and I see the journey it took, the amount of brave decisions I had to make to finish The Sidekicks series and put it in my Gallery. My first publicly exhibited series of drawings.
This is a video showing a little of the detailed work that goes into each illustration.
Who or what is your sidekick? Who’s sidekick are you?
A week after ‘discovering’ Lisa Mitchell for myself, I saw posters that she was touring through my little town…can you imagine? Watching an artist that you adore in a small venue with terrific accoustics is ooh-la-la-la-la! I wish you were there with me! I wish I was there again right now! oh, it was bliss!
View: The Sidekicks Series in my Portfolio
View: the Sidekicks in their own shop on Etsy called Artomology!
Lisa Mitchell is available in itunes of course – I don’t think she has created a song I don’t like yet.
The Wonder album is perfect. PERFECT! ( Oh! Hark! is a great tune too!)