I learned how to be less afraid through the process of learning how to paint in 2006. I was 30 years old and feeling anything but fearless, yet that was the year I fell deeply in love with mixed media painting. Like a crush. An obsession. I desperately wanted to learn how to make those beautiful messes on canvas – the ones with all the textures and drippy paints and collaged layers of papers. I bought books & took workshops & experimented & painted & crafted & shredded & stenciled & smudged & smeared like my heart depended on it. Turns out all of that creative abandon of spilling layer upon layer on a canvas FREED me up. And my confidence grew. In art and in life.
Becoming less afraid felt exhilarating, like an exhale, like a sacred remembrance of who I was. Very quickly, my art career took off and my confidence grew. Life was good. My friends would often comment on how in the zone I seemed. They were right. Painting, and growing into the creative life, taught me to believe in myself and I will carry that gift with me, always.
And then, somewhere around 2011, I lost my confidence. I suppose new parenthood and a particularly traumatic birth were my cracking open moments, the portals in which I lost a little bit of my spark. In 2012, I began to dive deep into healing the parts of myself that needed nurturing, and I found myself back in that place of remembrance, but this time it wasn’t messy canvases, it was a messy heart.
My confidence eventually made its way back to me, the canvas of my heart more beautiful than before, but it took lots of soul work, for which I am grateful.
I know this work is never done, that we are always making beauty out of mess, finding ease and grace and peace from the unlikeliest of places. May we be kind to ourselves and allow the moments of remembrances to guide us along the way.
Hi, I’m Kelly Rae Roberts! Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my whispers and started playing with paint, and everything changed.
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