Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The struggle for balance - Art VS life VS sanity

Painting-a- Day Japanese Screen No. 6 Marguerites 24 x 9" Oil Pastel
The life long image that I grew up with of artists as unstable, unsocial, and irresponsible is often at war with the person I see myself as inside.
I have worked very hard to be good at what I do.
I have worked my whole life. I have put myself through 3 college degrees in the performing art field. I have always supported myself and been fairly good at keeping a roof over my head. While it is true that I chose not to have a serious relationship for many years in my life I didn't see that as being irresponsible; rather as be responsible to my art and craft. I know that simply keeping a roof over my own head and making the time to be a good professional musician, then teacher, and now visual artist required so much of my time and energy that I wouldn't really have the time to have and care for children or commit to a full time relationship.
I have had hundreds of different jobs, from waiting tables to executive secretary and lots in between. Several of them could very easily have opened doors to a career path in the rat race. I seemed to be the kind of person who was always pushed into management positions for my intelligence, determination, "pride in my work" ethic, and "go get 'em" attitude. Every time that push came, I moved on to another job that allowed me to stay focused on my art. A look at my job record and you might think I was a very flighty and irresponsible person. But I 'm not. I simple had a different view of what being responsible was and whom... society or myself.
I admit that I am somewhat unsocial. I have thousands of childhood demons that I struggle with that stunt my ability to trust easily and make me feel safer when I am in my studio at home instead of socializing or schmoozing. But that doesn't make me a bad person, simply a recluse.
Stability.... well I suppose that is a different ideal as well for everyone. I freely admit to being emotionally unstable. While most people who know me on a surface level find me perky, full of life and a bit Polyannaish -- I've struggled with lifelong clinical depression. I struggle with thoughts of suicide and worthlessness. I suppose for collectors of my art that is a good thing - since we all know that the work of an artist goes up appreciatively when she is dead. I think many of us who are drawn to the creative energy in life must struggle with some demons that need exercising. However, I have enough of a rational mind to know that I'd hate to miss that moment. So I stick around for the values to increase while I'm still alive to take advantage of it myself.
It is a running joke with my spouse /partner that I only paint so that I can afford to have a little Bed and Breakfast Inn in the country. To return to the quiet simple life that I dream of in the Blue-ridge mountains. To build a life having visitors, cooking and caring for others, and painting and selling my work online and at few select galleries. That is what I want the second half of my life to be.
Call me irresponsible , but that seems a life well spent for any sane person.
Until next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with love!