Sarah Rowan

One of Australia's Top Speed Painters & Speakers on Creativity 

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Leaving 30 Years of Faith

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on May 13, 2018 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (5)

Leaving 30 Years of Faith: Why and what it looks like for me.


It is one thing to walk from a 12 year heterosexual marriage and let the world know you are a lesbian. It is another thing to simultaneously walk from everything you have ever known and spiritually believed in the same process. Some people have said, “I can totally see why you left a marriage you were not happy in, however, why are you no longer a Christian?”

 

It has happened organically and not out of spite or resentment from those who have misrepresented the faith. I would have been the first to tell someone when hurt by the church…”people are people, and they will mess up and hurt you. But that is not a reflection of God, so why on earth turn your back on who created you just because His children can be shitheads sometimes?” How can someone, who stood unwavering to her faith during a challenging marriage appear to chuck the baby out with the bathwater?


I know all the arguments and persuasions. I was the one on panel discussions in university thrown the tough questions by the atheists and naysayers. I was the lover of the Bible who would hide under my sheets with a flashlight at the age of 12 devouring it after I was told to turn the lights out. I was the teased and mocked radical who studied ancient Hebrew and attended church at least 3 days a week. I was the Bible college student with a degree in worship and leadership. Preaching and leading worship were one of my greatest passions. I prophesied and laid my hands on the sick. I had more supernatural experiences with Jesus than you can shake a stick at…so how could I walk away?


Walking away from an unhealthy marriage has been the biggest act of bravery and self love I have ever done. And over the past three months of being told by some Christians that I am being a “selfish bitch”, I realised something about Christianity. It is phenomenal on teaching people how to love God. It is extraordinary at teaching people how to love others. But where there is a huge ball dropped, collectively speaking, is a lack of teaching on how to love yourself. Particularly if you are a homosexual.


In my twenties, I had come to grips with a God who had strict standards and laws not to be challenged…I had accepted that His ways were higher than mine. I had accepted that I had to change and align with His book not mine. I had even convinced myself of a mantra that I recited like something beautiful and powerful. “I love my husband more than my own sexuality.” It felt powerful and life altering. In hindsight, however, it was merely another brainwashing bandaid trying to hide a haemorrhaging soul.


What people didn’t see as I tried to be brave and holy, was how many times I begged God to take my life. I begged Him for a quick cancer to take me out. I pleaded for buses to hit me as I crossed the road. One time I remember a car almost got me and I didn’t flinch, I was only disappointed that it hadn’t. At the age of 19, I began blowing out my birthday candles and ask to be removed from the planet because I was gay and didn’t know how to reconcile it with my faith.

 

I need to step away. Take a breath. Look at myself, my kids, my career, life, everything. And not feel this pressure or need to submit anything to a higher power. It may look unhealthy, unwise, I have no idea how it may appear to thousands of people I have connection with in the Christian community. And for once in my life, I finally do not care. I need some space, and I know that if I come back around this mountain and decide I want to believe it all again, then that will be for another day, another season.


In my early 20s I submitted myself to church leadership and let them try to cast the “spirit of perversion” out of me as they called it. I attended 12 week courses on deliverance. Every year…for FIVE years. Fasting and prayer to rid myself of my natural human desires were the norm. I even tried beating myself like the monks of old. Sometimes I would almost black out from the punches I inflicted on myself.

 

These vulnerable aspects of my life are being shared, not for the purpose of attention or sympathy. Nor do I want any readers to have a negative attitude towards my upbringing or the circumstances that I placed myself in due to a lack of self love and my own decisions. The ONLY reason I share the brutal moments of my life is to give others hope that find themselves in a similar situation. After the release of my “Coming Out” video on YouTube, I was overwhelmed by the stories people shared with me of their own struggles to love themselves because of their sexuality and were afraid to leave their marriages. They said my story gave them hope. That is why I share my dark days. Because we all have them for different reasons, but in our darkness when we catch a ray of light from another soul it may be just what we need to lift up our heads and hope for better days for ourselves. This ramble is for you.

 

As the years progressed and I felt like I lived on a stage labelled Fake, as self hatred and depression devoured me alive. I started taking anti-depressants when my youngest daughter was born and when she was only 6 months old I woke up and my fingers were twice the size as normal. My entire body was swelled with fluid. Rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 30. Sometimes, I would rebuke the side effects of the injections I had to take… “liver problems, leukaemia, cancer, death”…and other times I would want the needles to hurry up and destroy me. I was no longer able to run or do any sports without pain. A long bush walk or a big day of work would knock me out for a couple days.

 

Then came the diagnosis of mental illness at age 35, though the symptoms were evident far longer. Bipolar II. Medications tried and tested to help me sleep and cope, reduce mood swings and panic attacks. On Christmas Eve 2016, I stayed up all night on a mania high creating a wonderland for my little girls to wake up to…streamers and decorations galore. I couldn’t imagine surviving one more year in my skin and wanted them to have one last memorable Christmas with me. After two hours of sleep, I popped enough pills to make me a zombie and could barely form sentences as I sat with 15 friends from church around a Christmas feast.


The following Christmas was the similar. Something about birthdays and Christmases always triggered the worst panic attacks and my drinking increased. Another year older and still dreading each day. Another calendar year gone by and still have no idea how to get out of a marriage when our faith told us “all things are possible”…”never grow weary in doing good”. So I drowned myself in alcohol and marijuana to numb the pain and turn into happy Sarah. In that state I could have great conversations with my husband because we could listen and speak openly.

 

But when it wore off, all I saw was how miserable I made him. Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, and because of my sexuality I couldn’t love him fully and it slowly ate away at the small portion of self esteem I had remaining. He tried to have enough strength for both of us. He was remarkable. Honouring. Caring. Hard-working. Long suffering. Patient. Knowing prior to marriage of how I was “bent”…the church convinced us we were perfect for each other and that I would change. “It will come,” my mentors said. I was young and impressionable and though it is my fault for saying the vows, I did believe them. I did believe God.

 

Year after year, I told him he deserved better, he’s such a great bloke and I prayed that God would send him a beautiful straight woman to help pull him from me. How many wives pray when their husbands go to work, that they will meet someone more suited for them? The man can play a dozen instruments, cook up a storm, clean the house and fix cars. We were incredible friends and I know that in time we will be friends again.

 

So here I am on the other side of the bravest year of my life. I am like a young Aboriginal boy gone Walkabout. Undergoing a traditional rite of passage, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I stare at the future like a blank canvas. If my faith of 30 years is what I find in the journey ahead, so be it. But I am no longer interested in looking at life through the same lens or filter as before. I need to step away from my faith and look at all its flaws and holes with the prospective of an outsider. It may seem drastic or extreme, but I think it is damn healthy and mature to let myself go “Walkabout”. If after my wanderings through the desert I decide that Christianity is right for me…so be it. But not today.

 

In the last 9 weeks of my marriage, I saw the movie, The Greatest Showman. It rocked my world. The soundtrack infused within my pulse each day as I listened to “The Is Me” and began to believe the lyrics, “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be…This is me!” I thought, if all those other beautiful and unique misfits could stand on stage authentic and true, why not me? I opened up my heart to being worthy of a love that I felt comfortable with and attracted to…self worth and believing I had any was one of the hardest hurdles.


The past four months have been a blur. How did I go from such a dark state of mind, to finding the confidence to leave a marriage that for nearly 13 years we had managed to hold together?? I met an incredible catalyst. I knew when our eyes met that she was important to my life, and she helped me find my voice. I cannot fathom my life without this beautiful woman. Her support empowered me to take the final step and believe that I could love myself and grow up and move forward. Her love, wisdom and presence helped give me the voice I needed to stand up for myself, it was like a rebirth. Everything that held me trapped in fear of the future was broken off of me in an instant. I realised that I could love myself enough to be a gay mother rather than a depressed, alcohol/drug dependant shell of human. That by setting myself free, I was setting my children up for a better life long term and an ex partner that in time would find more happiness than I could ever provide.

 

I have prayed for hundreds of people in my lifetime. Yes, I saw miracles. But I have no grid for what it was like to love myself and open up my heart to a woman. I felt rheumatoid arthritis leave my body. Bipolar symptoms left too, and my medication has been reduced to a “baby level dosage” until six months have passed to prove that I am not in mania. Every addiction left my body. I haven’t needed a drink of coffee, much less alcohol or weed to make it through a day. Four months on and I only have a little wine from time to time and the occasional cuppa. Initially, I gave her most of the credit for the instantaneous healing, however, in her wisdom and humility, she reassured me it was inside of me all along, just waiting for me to love myself and follow my truth.

 

I used to have at least 2-3 drinks per day and panic when the fridge was low on beer. I used to ache to enter every bottle shop and pub I passed. There are so many aspects to being instantly healed of everything that I find fascinating. My racing brain slowed down and relaxed. I can eat whatever foods I want to eat and there is no swelling in any of my joints. After over 300 injections during the 7 years of arthritis I was instantly able to stop the medication and haven’t even needed prednisone! (common steroid for inflammation).

 

Though nothing of the future is mapped or set in stone. Though I don’t know how it will all work out, and what relationships will become in the future…I do know that I will never look at an oncoming truck again and urge to speed up and swerve into its path. And that, dear ones, is fucking liberating.


The power of living authentically is mind blowing.


The power of loving yourself as you are is life giving.

 

I hope you all have the most incredible lives, full of wonder, overflowing with joy, and enriched by the intoxicating beauty of being yourself.

Coming Out...Finally

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on April 10, 2018 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Been silent for months when it comes to blogging as it was difficult to write or think or be when living a life outside of who I am.  I was creating works of art to inspire others, but would often be in my studio crying and wanting to die.  But I'm free now...and the art is going to shift and change and be full of more inspiration and life than ever before!!  It's been a long and difficult journey.  Thank you to the multiple hundreds of friends, family and fans who have been supportive and encouraging the bravest few months I have ever had...

Feel free to check out my video on YouTube (that is refusing to link properly) and hear from my heart on the matter.  Just search something like "Sarah Rowan Dahl, Coming Out" and it will pop up...



Feel free to ask questions, as it looks like there are a lot of peeps out there with questions for me.  Happy to answer, might have to do another video.  No need to write if you have a problem with me being gay.  Enough haters in the world.  Save your breath and smile at your neighbour.  Life's too short to waste it trying to hurt someone.

Have a creative week!

Priorities

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on August 25, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (19)

"There are not many places in the world where I feel at home.  There are a few places in England that I swear if I stood still long enough, roots would grow out of my feet.  And that's how I feel when I'm near you."  My mother said this as we were walking through an uneven carpark the other day, and I chiselled the moment to memory.  It had been 11 years since we had true quality time together.  I cherished every minute...from being stuck in traffic or even foul weather days, where we dried wet laundry by the fire and she wondered how I have lived so long without a dryer.  I'm not sure either...though the smokey rustic smell of clean laundry is rather special.

   

During my last visit to the US three years ago, I spent more time performing and painting than with her and my family.  They knew it was necessary to cover the enormous costs of international travel, and we had our fun.  However, in hindsight, being present and resting with my loved ones wasn't my top priority...now it is.  Amazing how chronic pain and aging are sometimes one of the few things in life that force us to come up for air from all the chaos of a hectic paced life.

 

I contacted clients waiting on commissions and requested extensions on their paintings so I could focus on reconnecting with my mother.  They understood and now, as I sit here in the silence of her absence, I wonder how 5 weeks could come and go like the slices of pie she made us.  Blink.

 

Inhale.  Exhale.  Again.  Turn off your phone, and I don't' mean airplane or silent mode.  Like...off.  Where the screen goes black and you can't read this blog.  Look your loved ones in the eye and savour a meal together.  Be grateful.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Feel the roots grow out of your feet. 



Getting Paid to Paint Across Europe

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on April 24, 2016 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (2)




I initially titled this blog, "Painting Across Europe", however, I realised a lot of artists do that...but few ever financlly break even, much less receive payment for their work...prior to picking up a paintbrush.  Please don't hate me.  I am merely writing this to inspire artists, whom, like me, dream and work their butts off in hopes that one day their work will be globally desired, valued, and appreciated.


In November 2015, the organiser behind Destination NSW tourism training events for Europe sat on his sofa with a glass of wine one evening thinking of an entertaining element for his tourism events the following year.  He came across my YouTube channel.  Oh the power of YouTube! Months of meetings and negotations followed as my agent (Apples & Pears Entertainment) made sure that I did not walk away from a great trip/ work experience empty handed.  


As artists we are often asked to work for less than other fields of industry in the name of "exposure".  Thankfully this was not the case.  If you find yourself bending over backwards just to make a sale and being walked over, remind yourself that "exposure" does not feed you or your family.  Oh how we would like to think that it will.  Some of the most amazing doors have opened over the years and I gladly took the opportunities at a greatly reduced pay rate, ever-so-confident that the audience would lead to greener pastures, and still returning to graze in the same old field.  After 12 years of performance painting, I have realised that these opportunities are only worth it, only if the platform of that one event is enough, but to never assume it will lead to greater events.  


Time and time again, I have made this error and it has cost my family...but now the grey hairs are starting to come in and I know better.  Chasing money is never satisfying or enduring, so please don't misread this ramble and think I'm money hungry.  Nor is this a blog about how to make more money as an artist.  When you are approached by a potential client it is important to carry yourself as an artist who values their self worth and values their work.  I am preaching to the choir and know that this can be a continual journey throughout the life of an artist, especially as these values can continue to increase over the years.


Primadonnas are not attractive.  When your dreams become reality, it is important to walk in love and humility; remembering there is always another artist out there with more talent and character than yourself.  Bring excellence to your craft!  Present your clients varnished, strong works on quality materials.  Document your journey.  Take good photographs of your work, keep good records over the years so that you know who your clients are and can visually see your progress.  Be present.  It is a trending topic these days, but it will always be one of my top priorities.  One of the most irritating aspect of our high tech lives is that we are living in multpile platforms and dimensions simultaneously, yet never fully alive in one space.  There are too many tabs open in our hearts and minds.  It is costing us our very lives and fractering relationships and families.  We are all guilty of this...some more so than others.  But we can all improve, and I for one am daily making this effort. 


How did a blog about Europe take this interesting turn?  Go figure.  Europe was remarkable.  3 and 4 star hotels...type of wonderful.  Champagne in the steam room and fancy robes...type of wonderful.  London to Manchester, Glasgow, Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Paris...type of wonderful.  I checked off locations that had been on my bucket list for two decades...type of wonderful.  Perfoming each night with my hero and husband on guitar and didgeridoo...type of wonderful.  We brought as much to each event as we possibly could and made every effort to be an asset to the team and not a weight.  This goes for emotions, energy, punctuality, and fulfilling our contract in every area.  When our client is considering entertainment for his events in the US, China, etc., we want to be his first consideration.


Cheers to all the artists out there with unique goals and wild imaginations.  Write down your dreams and place them in front of you...it's only a matter of time before it's your turn.


PS - videos of trip are on my YouTube Channel and they are refusing to link without making a mess of letters and numbers on my blog.  Ugh.  So just type my full name into the search box and you will find it!  ;-)

I Don't Like My Own Art

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on February 27, 2016 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (4)

Most of the time.  It's true.  I initially wrote "hate", however, I knew I would get an earful from my mother if she ever came across this blog.  LOL  Granted I'm in the middle of a mood swing and I shouldn't allow myself to Blog, though I think it's important to share what I'm working through, as I believe LOTS of creatives can relate, regardless of medium.  I once heard that if we, as artists, still love our work after six months, then we are not growing enough.

 

Now before you positive thinkers think I'm being melodramatic and flip to another website, please hear me out.  Am I alone in this or are there other creatives with more ideas racing through their head than paper and canvas on the planet?  My mind is imploding and I think that's an asset to future works.  This ramble is not a pity party or one seeking affirmation.  I look at my paintings (keep in mind I do about 100 per year) and I feel this caged animal clawing inside my ribs wanting to take my work further, pushing past everything I have ever seen or imagined.  


Maybe I am writing this for others who have felt the same way and have not yet expressed the same frustrations.  There are gaps in my thoughts, I am not articulating this very well... but for those of you who know me well...you understand my swings and spaces.  Well dear ones, these hands are tired.  Three paintings today alone for a client, and my fingers aching from rheaumatoid arthritis are done typing for the night.


This year I will open the cage door and see what happens.  It may be breathtaking.  It may be hideous.  But at least the images won't be beating themselves around in my head leaving me exhausted and irritable.


PS - there are a handful of pieces I can appreciate each year, please don't chew me out.  I think I'm having a growth spurt.  


Incorporating and Rediscovering Your Own Creativity

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on February 24, 2016 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

In February 2016, I had the honour of chatting with entrepreneur David T. S. Wood, who hosts a podcast (among many other leadership roles) called the Crank it Up! Show.  This podcast will help unlock your creativity and inspire you regardless of your profession and position in life.

 

"Why do so many people opt out of creativity? Why is it dismissed in the corporate world or silenced in adults? Sarah says that there has been a recent embrace of the arts that was missing since the rise of the Industrial Revolution. There was not an artistic encouragement to most people’s lives and the fear of fitting in or gaining approval silenced so many. Sarah’s mission is to inspire people to get rid of those inner fears holding them back. If you just try, you might find that you actually can be creative. Sarah understands the mocking of a blank canvas and is her own worst critic. She wants to give people a paintbrush, especially those that would label themselves as “non-creative.” They feel they do not have it in them, they have boundaries and blocks, but there is an innate desire to create. Sarah has seen businessmen cry during her corporate event performances when she invites them into something creative. For many, it is the first time they have felt alive in years. Inside of everyone is a creative child. Go hang out with one if you have forgotten. Address your own reasons for steering clear of creativity on this episode of Amplified Network Marketing."  

- David T.S. Wood

 

 


5 Unique Tips for Family Photo Shoots

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on May 6, 2015 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (1)



Taking family photos is a lot of fun...and a challenge.  So many personalities and ages to work with, and and often families always ask me for advice prior to their shoot.  Now instead of rambling on the phone or Facebook for 10 minutes, I have this blog.  Brilliant.  Copy link.  Paste.  Done.  You're welcome.


1) The #1 Tip: DO NOT FIGHT or STRESS OUT before the photo shoot.

As a photographer I can see it in the interaction and expressions on couples faces when they have been stressed about directions, parking, clothes, hair, etc prior to the shoot.  It comes into the photos and not only does it show...couples can often remember the stress of the moment looking back at the images.

I would rather start 15-20 minutes late than have couples stressed and screaming down the road trying to make the session on time when the kids couldn't find their shoes or couldn't find the car keys, etc moment happens.  Family photo shoots should be memorable, fun, light-hearted and full of love.  So no nagging allowed!  Let everyone feel comfortable in their own skin, with their hair and clothes (for the most part) the way they like it...don't worry if the skirt has a few wrinkles.  Breathe.   


2)  EAT BEFORE the shoot!!

Let's face it.  Kids eat ALL the time.  The last thing a parent or a photographer needs is a cranky child (or husband) because they are hungry.  Eat before coming AND have a few little treats packed particularly if you have toddlers or young ones.  This also provides the photographer with the perfect opportunity for a few minutes of uninterrupted couple shots as the kiddos munch. 

 

3)  Wardrobe:  Limit PATTERNS and Say NO to big LOGOS & characters

Avoid loud patterns, or something that is super trendy this year as it will age the photo quickly.   Wear what you feel beautiful in!!  Most of my family shoots are at my local beach and wind is often a factor.  If women wear skirts and their hair down, they will find themselves too distracted by their own wardrobe to enjoy the shoot.  

BIG LOGOS ARE A PAIN IN THE ASS AND STAND OUT LIKE THESE ALL CAPS!!! THEY REMOVE FROM FACIAL EXPRESSIONS!!!  Nothing is more irritating than one rebellious teenager with an obscene t-shirt standing next to their grandmother with an empty stare.

Another important tip: wear colours that coordinate...not match.  White shirts and jeans on a family of five is rather old fashioned these days.  Layers and accessories are a great way to add texture to images too.  Look at your home decor.  Is it bright and quirky or neutral and subdued?  If you plan on printing a large family photo, have the wardrobe coordinate with your home decor.


 4)  Hey Kids, it's just ONE Hour

Let's be honest.  Kids can be the most incredible fun subject to photograph, or the biggest pain in the ass.  Their moods can change quickly and they have very few filters for "proper photo etiquette".  If you want the shoot to run smoothly, just have a fun family treat planned after the shoot.  Ice cream, movies, eating out together...something...anything, to BRIBE and motivate them for good behaviour.  As a child, my mother used to get studio shots of my brothers and I each year.  Apparently one year, all three of us were such horrors that by the time we finally arrived at the shoot our pictures were already ruined because of our attitudes.  She was exhuasted physically and emotionally trying to drag us around.  Suck it up kids, it's just one hour.  Be nice and smile.  

 

5)  Recreate a POSE!

A lot of laughter and great memories can be captured if family members think back to their favourite images from years ago.  For instance, I did a shoot of four adult siblings who, as children had picked up their youngest brother and held him with a goofy cute youthful look.  They recreated the pose from 15 years before and resulted in loads of laughter and love filling the shoot.



 


Me in a Nutshell (A Big Nut)

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on March 3, 2015 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

(Sneek peak of an article for a local mag)


Artist Sarah Rowan Dahl is not your stereotypical painter. She doesn’t burrow away in her studio concerned about the opinion of others or speak in deep metaphors that are difficult to grasp. She is a performance painter, taking the public platform of festivals, weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and more, to inspire and share creativity on a mass scale. Equipped with a spinning easel, trendy outfit (glow-tie even for some events), and a contagious smile, Sarah takes a blank canvas and turns it into a finished work of art in the amount of time the rest of us eat breakfast or watch a movie.


For the past decade, Sarah has been developing this unique profession and continues to push herself to stay current with the changing landscape of entertainment. Recently at a corporate golf tournament, Sarah engaged with the high flying golfers at the second hole and had them painting on her canvas with a brush that was attached to an old 8 iron.  Following that gig, she boarded a plane to Melbourne to paint LIVE during Australia’s Premier technology festival held at Federation Square. On stage during presentations with world-renowned geeks, Sarah transcoded their speeches into works of art.


“My goal is not to ‘wow’ my audience, as much as it is to inspire them,” Sarah frequently says. “There are plenty of entertainers out there bringing the ‘wow factor’ to their performance, but does the audience walk away feeling inspired to be creative or make a difference in their own lives? Obviously, ideally, it is great when I can do both, but if I had to choose one or the other, I would rather someone see my work...the process of its creation and leave inspired to draw, paint, view life differently, or want to use their gifts to make a difference.”


In 2009, Sarah first began hearing about human trafficking and has made it her life’s ambition to raise over a million dollars to help fight this injustice. Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of human trafficking. That means in the simple time it takes to skim this article, someone’s entire world has been destroyed. With over 27 million slaves on the planet, this horrific industry is 2nd only to drugs. As a mother of two young girls, the plight of other children around the world being robbed of their childhood and forced into sex labour is not something Sarah can turn a blind eye towards.


“Some people fight with injustice with music, weapons or protests. I fight injustice with my paintbrushes”, Sarah’s says in a recent YouTube video she made to send to The Ellen Degeneres show and other local TV shows in hopes of painting LIVE during a taping to raise funds and awareness on the issue. “I want to show others that they don’t have to be afraid of world issues, but that they can use whatever gifts and strengths they have to solve problems.”


Sarah isn’t the only creative in her family. Jared, her husband is a cellist and the pair are currently practicing a performance combining their creativity as Jared plays on his electric cello and guitar, looping and adding depth to the sound through numerous pedals. They hope to travel around the world in the future, performing a unique set full of spontaneity of colour and rhythm.


Dahl has painted LIVE in the Great Hall of Parliament and at the Opera House as well as with events for some of Australia’s largest corporations. Whether she is painting in front of an intimate crowd of 20 or at a concert with thousands, Sarah brings the same message and energy to her work. She is always quick to share her ambitious goals and inspire others, never hesitating to take on gigs that seem impossible. Last September, Sarah painted 10 original works in 30 minutes during a concert with Phillip Shovk, one of Australia’s most respected pianists and pedagogues. For every “Like” on Sarah’s Facebook fan page she donates $1 to The A21 Campaign, an organization effectively fighting injustice across the world.

Art & Motherhood - Part Two

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on October 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Like I said yesterday,

Artist + Mother = BEEEEEEEP

My husband fell asleep on the sofa whilst attempting to get my 7 year old down.  Classic.  You know you're a parent when staying awake long enough to get the kids down is a feat.  This time I was wise.  Prior to writing I spent the entire day wearing my 3 year old out, without a minute of down time, so she passed out (after I read 9 small books).  Is it just me, or do you find yourself in an entirely different world during storytime?  I make valiant efforts to remain "present", however, if the book has pathetic illustrations I am in a world of my own.  Reading aloud whilst simultaneously checking off my mental to-do list, planning for the following day, and of course giving myself a good dose of mental guilt for not being "present" and trying to cherish each moment of their young lives.

Last night, I was laughing through one of my favourite sitcoms, when the main character (in a psychologist office) said something to the effect of, "I love my mom.  She's great a great person...but maybe she shouldn't have been a mother."  I laughed out loud, though internally had to honestly wonder if my girls would one day sit in the office of a therapist saying the same thing.  Motherhood is brutal.  Forget the most intense exhibition experience, or high-pressure commission.  Forget public scrutiny and criticism of works.  Kids.  Now that is brutal.

Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Financially.  Spritually.  Is there an "ally" I'm forgetting???  LOL  I don't care what people say, there isn't a book or MP3 out there that can really prepare a creative soul for what it's like to have their space, time, and creativity so invaded...violated.  ROFL.   I have to laugh.  If you don't know me, you may think I am morose and dark, so please note that my tone is one of sarcasm with a hint of white wine and 7 years of sleep deprivation.  

On the flip side of the coin, I know my art would not have developed and matured over the past few years without the influence of motherhood.  My work shifted dramatically in palette, style, medium, application, EVERYTHING when I became a mother.  I no longer had the luxury of time to brew and agonize over brush strokes and colour.  I began to let the paint fly faster and faster, with less analysis and more desperation to create.  From that has blossomed a career in speed painting!  My main source of artistic income is created in short bursts of time in front of crowds who are inspired and amazed at the very thing my children unknowingly drew out of me!!!  Geez.  Wow.

So for all of you creative mothers out there feeling alone and afraid to say how hard it is to create and be yourself because all of your time and energy is being used up on some little creature/s...you are not alone.  ;-)  Step by step, day by day...learn, grow, love yourself...do what you can do, but more importantly...BE.  

Enjoy the brief season of children at home (I'm preaching to myself)... ENJOY THE JOURNEY.

xx


Art & Motherhood - Part One

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on October 8, 2014 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Artist + Mother = BEEEEEEEEP

I tried to think of a word to describe the combination of life as an artist and a mother without cussing and offending someone...I couldn't.  I even attempted waiting to write this blog when the words "artist" and "mother" would roll off my tongue with joy and ease...but realised it may require several glasses of wine before that happened.  

Ok nevermind.  This isn't happening tonight.  My 3 year old just decided she would interrupt my cathartic quiet hour of kid free time before bed and thrash around with a tantrum in her sleep at 10:30 PM...which I interpretted as, "I have to pee".  It was only a 15 minute drama, however, it sucked the last sliver of energy remaining in my body and if I were to resume this blog it would be exhuasted crap.  Will try again.  LOL

In the meantime, enjoy this video I made recently about the journey...it cost me my phone.  LOL

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