I’ve added new and improved pictures on my sculpture page. Also donated the Hands piece to my sons art auction. Sold to the very artist I met with a year ago seeking advice about working with wool. I very much admire her work and am pleased that she found my piece good enough to add to her incredible art collection. Now if I can only stay out of my own way and continue, as I have, back to path of my desires as an artist. That is my biggest challenge. Earplugs in and blinders on, I just keep plugging forward ignoring my other self that wants to remind me that I am wasting my time, that art is not a real job, that I have no business in this highfalutin field as a child of the back woods. Nope, I continue hum to myself and plow forth. The loft studio is almost together. I go up there now and can barely contain the urge to clap my hands and jump up and down giggling. No basement hovel with fleas, no horse stall without windows, but rather a great big beautiful loft in my barn with a huge old paned glass window about six feet square, high rafters and an old hay hook hanging from its track. I am nearly in paradise! A wood stove and lots of time is all I need.
I’ve been wondering lately (and therefore procrastinating) what is it that I want to say with this blog. Why do I feel the need to tell, write, express. I ponder this often. I chose the path of an artist. This is not the obvious path to financial stability, although finances are the dimension of my life by which I and many others judge my success. So, why be an artist? The drive of an artist is to express, communicate, question. For nearly forty-five years I have had this itch, an internal crawling to get it out. Just tell everyone. It is such an itch that I get an awful pit in my stomach when I try. The problem is I don’t know what it is that I need to express. When I face this dilemma head on and really dig deep, searching my inner quagmire for a reason, or purpose, or message I come up empty, or maybe short, or maybe I’m afraid of it. So I continue painting, sculpting and writing always of the human, be it the body or the mind. One thing has rung true throughout my life of art, that I am always searching for a better understanding of humans. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is my purpose? Why did I meet her? Why didn’t I meet him? Why did I fall ill? Why did she die? Why do we persist despite great tragedies? Why are you rich? Why is she poor? Why was he beaten? Why was I abused? Why?
In all these years of searching, I have been writing, drawing, remembering. Trying at least to remember what little I do. I was happy. That’s what I remember. I remember that as a little girl I was happy and that mostly I forget. Here, I will remember as much as I can of Dot.
It’s my worst skill, selling my art work. I have complained for twenty some-odd years that my work never sells, but it will never sell if I never get it out there. I’ve tried craft stores and have met with decent success. I’ve tried some art shows with similar results. There is interest, people ask, people want. So, what’s the problem? The problem is, I have a profound fear of failing to succeed. Whenever my work begins to catch on and demand rises I shrivel away from it and create the very failure that I fear. Why? I know, I know. I can blame the parents for perpetually warning me not to be upset if I failed whenever I attempted some new venture(first girl on the local baseball league, brownies, trying out for sports, submitting to art shows, getting into college, etc). They had low expectations of their kids with good intentions. They wanted us to know they loved us whatever we did. But, this left me believing I was often way out of my league so I would succumb to my insecurities and under achieve.
I’m 44 now, but I still feel as though I am twelve. When does that feeling go away? If my son’s teacher ushers me to the corner of the classroom to discreetly alert me to a problem, I can feel my pigtails growing back and wish I could stuff my hands deep into the pockets of my oshkosh overalls. When sitting in the office of a bank applying for a loan and the loan officer is inquiring of all my late payments from my credit report, I could just as easily be looking apologetically into my mom’s eyes as she berates me for spending all my vacation money on one stuffed bear. It is a hard feeling to shake but as I said, I am 44 now and I can no longer blame my parents for my actions. Even with all my fears of failure, I have to realize that I have been successfully self-employed for fourteen years. I have my own house, car, studio. All without the assistance of my parents. My relationship with my partner is stronger than ever in its twentieth year and we are raising a beautiful boy together.
This has been a year of great shifting for me. Struggling with an illness since April has forced me to let go of my painting business. It is physically too demanding. As hard as this has been for our family, emotionally and financially, it has a silver lining. Being a house painter was never my intention. It was a career that evolved from demand and need and I was growing restless and increasingly unfulfilled. But now, the possibility is within my grasp to take full control of my dreams and realize my potential for success as an artist. I am ready to shed my insecurities and put myself out there.