A Time For Change
Spring is the time for blossoming, for reawakening. The days become longer and warmer. The soil is rich and fertile, ready to support new growth. It’s my time to review the past and preview what’s to come.
My first expression in the world was artwork. My mom saved mandala faces I drew from the time I was 15 months old (mandala faces usually show up around age 3). By age 4 there are drawings of people in profile, families interacting, prancing horses. I loved to make art, and my parents believed that I was gifted. It wasn’t unusual for me to come home from school to find a card table set up with art supplies for my after-school project. I taught art to my classmates at recess. I won contests and was chosen to create the posters for community events. I eventually majored in art (and theater).
Life takes us in directions we may not expect, and I have always followed my diverse interests. I’ve had a small business making gemstone jewelry, selling at art fairs and a gallery. I’ve learned to sew and weave and knit and craft. I’ve studied American Sign Language and French and Spanish. I performed in over 50 plays as a theatre actor with a special affinity for performing “language” plays like Shakespeare. I learned ballroom dance and Zydeco and for five years in my 40’s I danced Argentine tango five times a week. I loved every exciting new direction. As an elementary school art specialist and private art teacher, I immersed myself in my students’ artful discoveries. In the most recent decade, I’ve devoted myself to becoming certificated as a yoga instructor, a Creativity Coach, a Primordial Sound Meditation teacher, and an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor.
These journeys have enriched my life. Tango informs sewing informs jewelry design informs acting informs yoga…it’s all intertwined. However, my own artwork fell to the side. I found that teaching art was so creatively satisfying that I didn’t crave time for my own artwork. Years went by.
By the time I returned to my own painting, I discovered that I was full of fears. My fears were the usual suspects: fear of success, fear of failure, fear that it was too late, fear that I couldn’t take the time or money to give myself back to my art. A famous watercolor teacher’s words rang in my ear: “You draw like the wind; isn’t that enough? Maybe you’re just not a painter”. I feared that I had wasted my gift by neglecting it. Or worse, that I’d lost it. My inner perfectionist reared his ugly head when I sat down to paint. Tears would come, and I’d do my best to keep going, trusting that if I just did the work, the joy would return.
In this way, I have created a few paintings in the past few years, and I recently entered them in a local garden tour poster contest. Part of the entry was a resume. I’d never created an art resume before. Other artists my age might list their awards, collectors, galleries, and juried shows. Seeing myself so starkly on paper, I realized that I have created an interesting and artful life, but while I have thought of myself as a painter, I have not been one. After all, painters paint.
The Artist’s Way
I’ve led Artist’s Way groups over the last 15 years, and was excited about the 2016 version, which refocuses the Artist’s Way principles on “midlife and beyond”. I began to work through the book last fall, and my neglected artist child began to reawaken. I am now leading a group of women through the process, and find that the process is urging me back to my painting!
My epiphany was that my innate talent was clearly making art, and I now want to re-earn my identity as an artist. By making art.
A New Focus
As we enter our 60’s, we get the gift of understanding that time is limited. We become more selective about the people and activities we choose. For me, that means more “studio” time. If art is my true north, I don’t want to die with any of it still inside me.
So, why am I telling you all of this?
Because I’m doing an abrupt about face on this website.
Paintings (and Yoga)
I will keep the archive of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Meditation. It holds a great deal of information on these topics, which I hope will continue to be useful. I may take one Ayurveda client at a time or teach a little mediation or lead an annual Artist’s Way group. I will keep a yoga page on the site as information for potential students (that’s why “and yoga” is in parentheses).
However, the focus will become my artwork and my artmaking process.
I’m not sure how regularly I’ll post or what shape it will take. I may post my conversations with that ugly inner perfectionist. I may post my paintings. I may address the fear of making art, because many artists struggle with it. I may address the joy of making art as the joy re-emerges for me. I may post available works for sale.
Or I may be so busy painting joyfully that I won’t post at all. Time will tell!
P.S. I’ve turned the comments off and ask that if you have questions or comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.