Can you remember a specific year, where things were really awesome most of the time? I have quite a few, but this time I wanna highlight 2010. The year I rediscovered how madly in love I am with creating art. That’s when I got laid off at my first job, which was probably the best thing happening to me at that time. I was completely free the months after that, as I’ve managed to save enough to get by for a while and to try my wings to freelance.

It was also the beginning of the Chiustreams, and the Sketchoholic group. Wow, you have no idea how much that community fueled my creativity and urge to paint. The timing was just perfect. Life was a blast.

I can’t really explain it or where it came from. For some strange reason, I just felt more passionate than ever. Don’t really like the word “passionate”… So, “High” perhaps? It was pretty much like falling in love, you barely sleep and you obsess over something until nearly losing your mind. You catch yourself smiling like a fool, and others notice it too.

The Mighty Tribute

I painted a few pieces at the time that I, to this day, am very proud of. Like the Mooster and Caterpillar. Haha, these were hilarious to work on!

But my most favorite piece from that time was probably my tribute to Freak The Mighty. A novel written by Rodman Philbrick.

Ohh this painting is so outdated. I love it though, despite all the flaws. They’re just beauty marks.

Do you know that story? It’s probably my favorite. Especially the movie based on the book. If you haven’t watched “The Mighty”, then you have to! It’s heartbreakingly beautiful! Don’t forget the tissues.

I’m suprised that it’s not become a well known classic around here. I’ve introduced the story to quite a few friends, since none of them knew about it. Think that students read this book during English class in the US? Seems to be more or less unknown to most Swedes though. I came across this movie when I was 14, the only time I saw it air on TV over here. I’m so glad that I own the DVD these days. It’s gold to me.

Luckily inspiration struck in 2010 and I felt that I just had to make some fanart, and paint Max and Kevin. I put the movie on to play in the background. Had a hard time drawing at first, because I was literary crying my eyes out. Silliness! I get so emotional just by hearing the movie soundtrack! Ask my friends. God, now I’m tearing up again just by thinking about the story… I know what you’re thinking, I’m going mental like that viral catlady on youtube”I can’t hug every cat…” Hahaha.

No but really. What’s not to love about these two underdogs sticking together in a cruel world?!

Allright Andrea, we get it. Calm down.

Clearly, I was truly painting from the heart. I’ve never felt that emotional. Fun times! Strangely, things went smooth. I’m  mercilessly critical, so it was unusual that things just fell into place.

When I finished it, I suddenly got this crazy idea that I should try to approach the author. For thanking him and to send him a fine art print as a gift. I mean, you’re allowed to wish, right? ◠◡◠

I tried to find his adress, but failed. Only managing to find contact details to publishers and whatnot. Frustrating, yet not suprising. Well at least I tried! So I forgot about it, and just posted the artwork on my good old blog and social media platforms.

Then a few months later, the craziest thing happens. GUESS WHO CONTACTS ME DIRECTLY?

Yes.

He did.

That e-mail made my day. Week. Or month even. Haha. Such an honor. He asked if he could buy a print of my fanart. But of course, I could never charge him for that, so we made a “fair trade” instead. I got a copy of some of his novels, including Freak the Mighty of course ◠◡◠  and he got a fine art print on the nicest paper I could find. I don’t wanna sound like a crazy fangirl, but I get all giggly when I think of the fact that my painting reached Rodman Philbrick himself. What a bonus.

Freak The Mighty

Enjoying art without the need of others validation

I realized that this anecdote could be a good personal reminder. During times when making art feels more stressful than fun. I didn’t paint the piece for the validation of others, like I often do. I did it out of love. Yes it’s cheezy, but screw it! This is a soft spot for me, I can’t explain it. I just remember how emotional I felt, and that’s how I wish I could feel more often while creating. Worrying less of what others like and don’t like. Because this time, it felt like I was the only one who knew about this story. Since it didn’t seem to have blown up here in Sweden.

It was my secret treasure. So it was easy to just let go and create without feeling some sort of pressure. Wait, did that rhime? Haha!

So yeah. Note to self: Give yourself time to once in a while remember what’s truly meaningful to YOU.

Paint that.