Thursday, September 6, 2012

There is a season

I remember listening to a guest lecturer during my undergrad who was a mother and an artist and spoke candidly about what life was like day to day for her. I specifically remember her talking about the seasons in our lives where we are able to do more as our kids need less. It made so much sense to me and gave me hope as a then-pregnant student wondering what my artistic life would look like after my baby was born.

Being in the thick of a I-have-to-paint-less-because-my-kid needs-me-more phase is rewarding and frustrating. Progress on paintings is made so slowly it hardly can be termed "progress." By the time I get the house back to square one after putting her down and look at the clock, half the time I think, "It's hardly worth getting everything out my time is so short." And I'm not trying to complain, I'm just trying to work through this phase (which is in all honestly probably the beginning of many years like this) where I have to set my expectations low and take small opportunities as they arise.

But a question keeps bouncing around in my head as I work: how do you stay relevant and current and inspired when art is all-of-the-sudden such a small slice of the pie? How do I build on what I've done so that when this season in my life is over I can step out of it ready to create, rather than floundering for my artistic footing?

I started a painting a few days ago. It's a small watercolor. It's easy to pull out for just 10 minutes at a time as 10 unfilled minutes present themselves. I sighed while working on it the other night, "I have missed painting triangles!" Mike reponsded, "Did you used to paint a lot of triangles?"

He must have selective memory (I worked him way too hard in preparation for my final show).

It feels good to be working in a way that feels at once familiar and new.

I don't know where I'm going with all this. Maybe I just needed to write it down so that years from now when I'm a guest lecturer explaining how to balance it all, I can tell them, "Practice patience now and grow some faith and courage. You'll need it when you haven't made something serious in years and you're wondering if you'll ever make something serious again."

Now off to pick up my brush before the little one wakes!


Aimoku and Tyler said...

Though I'm much newer to this situation, and mine doesn't deal with art specifically, I do wonder the same things. Though I have no words of advice or light to shed on this post, I'm grateful you wrote it so I know I'm not the only one that thinks about these things. And I think you're right, we do what we can, when we can-and for everything more we want to do but can't at the time, we exercise our patience, and find something we can be grateful for.

Anonymous said...

that was from Julie, by the way.

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