Drawings done August 2013
My summer has been a beautiful time to focus on my life as an artist and family member and taking time to slow down and ponder both life long roles. It's strange that in my efforts to simplify and focus in the end I wound up accomplishing more in both aspects of my life than if I went about in my frantic don't-stop-till-you-drop tread mill I typically love to turn the speed up on. I learned so many life lessons this summer.
I was tired of my life always trying to please and make deadlines. I decided that this summer I was going to take a break for myself. No planning a crazy long vacation, piling up courses and activities for the kids. Having a submissions list a mile long and always being disappointed in myself when putting a last minute submission together. I was going to try to do the bare minimum with the goal of doing only things I wanted to do and feeling only responsible for making myself happy. I decided to only work or paint because I felt like it, to only take the kids to things because I wanted to and knew I would have fun, not just the kids. And Hot Damn! what do you know, it turned out I did more and accomplished more than I would have normally. I went swimming and to playgrounds for fun with my kids, not because I promised the kids or a friend that I would. I spontaneously did things for the fun of it, because I felt like it at the time, and it seemed to work out organically and not forced full of arrangements or conditions. It brought me to meet my inner child a bit. I remember a time in my early childhood where a day seemed to take forever and as such I felt like you had all the time in the world. That said I tried to feel that way, like I had all the time in the world. My level of personal happiness shot up with the corners of my mouth into continuous smiles, but what really shocked me was the amount I accomplished in my art career.
I painted because I wanted to and worked on the business side of my art because I wanted to. When spring had sprung I was getting worn out with mountains of unfinished paintings and I felt like my art business to-do list was a thorn in my side growing every day and it looked like it wasn't going to quit any time soon. It was daunting. I almost started to sigh when telling people I met that I was an Artist.
So I decided to take a break this summer. If all I had accomplished was completing the art walk (because I already committed to going) that would have been enough. As for my personal life, if all I did was read while watching the kids play in the kiddy pool in the back yard that was enough for me. I wanted to focus on doing things I love to do. Read, cook, enjoy art. Now the last on the list of three, 'enjoy art', may only make sense to me so I'll explain: I am passionate about art and I love it. I like to read about art. I enjoy creating art. I love thinking about how to create art. I relish in studying other artists. I get a kick out of art history (I think it explains so much more than is written about the history of man). I am an art nerd.
When I decided to only do art because I want to and only work on things I want to when I want to, I removed the pressure of deadlines and obligation and ended up working on something almost every morning after breakfast simply because I felt like it. I ended up having more energy and all that nagging 'daunting' feeling washed away. The carefree attitude I adopted and spread into my self-talk allowed for more carefree thoughts towards my work leading to pushing my work further and opening to much needed experimentation. I didn't realized how my view of my to do lists and this 'daunting' mindset I had created plugged up my creativity valves that allow me to become a better painter with each painting.
I was stifling myself and didn't even know it. In my focus to care more about myself I ended up getting a baby sitter more often, especially at the beginning of summer. I was also a burnt out family member that was stifled by always trying to make everyone else happy first. So, it was hard, but I faced my decisions with posing the questions of what do I really want to do? And if it's too much struggle and causes me anguish I 'm not doing it. I started to do things that are easy and that come my way; things that occurred organically. This may sound lazy, but I have a tendency to become too pushy and forceful to make things happen. Sometimes I work too hard for my own good and in the end accomplish less. (Where as my previous mindset was constantly considering what would be best in the end for other people to be happy around me no matter the cost). So I went to art openings and dinner parties by myself. I made new acquaintances and friends. It was awesome. It was energizing.
I came back feeling like an individual with important thoughts and ideas which helped me to get down into my studio and continue on with those feelings of I'm important and what I'm doing is important. Painting returned to what it used to be for me, a form of meditation, that I lost myself in. I also fell in love again with my materials and what I was painting. I had dropped into that zone where it had become 'work'. It no longer is. Oh, right, It's My Passion. Here's to heading into the fall finding joy in my family and my art career.