Lavish Freedom

Lavish Freedom 20 x 40 Acrylic on Canvas MelyndaVanZee©2016

Lavish Freedom
20 x 40 Acrylic on Canvas
Melynda Van Zee©2016

Dear Creative Heart,

I’ve been pondering what does it look like to live and create with Lavish Freedom? While some days I admit to experiencing more lavish freedom in my life, to be honest on most days this might be more of an “aspirational goal”. I’ve been reflecting in my own life on what it feels like internally to live with such freedom. I’ve been exploring where that freedom originates from in my life and I’ve been looking and longing to make lavish freedom my everyday experience.

I think sometimes when we approach this concept of living in lavish freedom, it seems unrealistic. We have jobs, responsibilities, chores, rules to follow, “adulting” to do…but I believe that lavish freedom has more to do with the condition of our hearts rather than our actual life situations. We all have complex lives with many moving parts-this is not going to magically disappear for us as we live our human life here on earth. But, what we can do as we journey into our days is examine how we are approaching this daily life gifted to us. So often my creative practice serves as a metaphor for my personal life-one thing I do know about creativity is that often we feel more creative, more safe when we are operating within a set of specific creative constraints. I have explored my own creative path enough to know I am a painter-I don’t wake up every morning struggling to decide if today I am going to sculpt pots or play a cello…those are not my chosen media. I’m going to work within the parameters of my media-painting. I’m going to use my painting tools of choice-my favorite brushes, my favorite paint colors and I’m going to apply the paint in the structure of specific canvas sizes. I think we can wrongly assume that living with lavish freedom, might mean we don’t have any constraints-we are just free to willy-nilly do whatever we want to at any given moment and then because we slam right into the actual reality of our lives, we internally may just give up on the thought of ever actually feeling free…let alone the radical concept of living life in true lavish freedom.

What I think can be a crucial turning point, is if we honestly evaluate the structures and constraints that exist in our lives and rather than fighting against-embrace those structures. Start  to think about how much lavish freedom you actually might have to express your creativity exactly where you currently find yourself. Sometimes we only complicate the creative process by getting into overwhelm with thinking we have to do or say it all at once with every brush and color at our disposal.

When I teach art, I’ve learned that people often feel less risk when encountering a creative project when there are specific constraints. For example, we will use an 11 x 14 sheet of paper, 3 crayon colors only, or a limited palette of only 4 paint colors. Within these parameters, we are  then free to dig deep within to see what we might want to create. We can then focus on the emotion, thought, idea or image that is resonating inside.

Dear Creative Heart, I’m a firm believer in “create with every color in the crayon box”, but if you are at a place where you don’t know where to start, or fear is rearing its ugly head, or if you are starting again, embrace your constraints and give yourself permission to create and live with lavish freedom exactly where you are today. What longs to come out? What are the simple, basic tools you can use to say what you need to say?

We need you to do this.

We need you to give yourself permission to grow and experiment today.

We need you to say, dance, sing, play, paint, write, or sculpt what is on your heart.

We need you to bring your colors-to create from your joy, your struggle, your experiences.

We need you to recognize the beauty of your seeing and release it to do its good work.

My hope is that you will embrace your lavish freedom to passionately express your artistic heart from exactly where you are today-constraints and all.

With Passion,


PS. If you’d like to share with me your newest creations, post on Instagram and use #LavishFreedom so I can respond!

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