Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enjoy the Ride

In Chapter 3 of The Artist’s Way, “Recovering A Sense of Power,” Julia Cameron says, “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting."

If my career were someone else’s I would be impressed with what has been accomplished. Yet, when I spend a couple days, like this past weekend, laying on the couch sick with the flu, all I can think about are my unfinished projects. The paintings I haven’t completed, the creativity book I’m still writing, and the art class curriculum I have yet to finish developing.
With collectors Anita & Larry Larson, 2009

In 4 years, I’ve shown in 23 group art shows, 4 solo exhibitions, and was the featured artist at 3 silent auction fundraisers. In the process, I’ve sold 30 works of art, including 5 paintings at the opening reception of my first solo exhibition and 2 commissions. In addition, I was a Featured Artist of the Month on, received an Honorary Mention ribbon from Art of the Rockies, and was interviewed by the Denver Post regarding the Piano I painted for the city of Denver.

Then there are my writing accomplishments. In addition to this blog, I was a guest blogger for Tarcher/Penguin publishing for 12 consecutive weeks. I was published in 2 anthologies. And recently, I was invited to write a piece for Creative Thought magazine.  

Not too shabby for a girl who started sharing her creations with the world just 4 short years ago. But as I laid on the couch, too sick to be useful or productive, I wondered, “Are my dreams pipe dreams?  Am I kidding myself thinking that if I keep working at it, someday I may be able to make a living as a full-time working artist? Or am I hoping for the impossible?”

Even Georgia O’Keeffe, the first American woman painter to realize her life’s dream of earning a living by her art, took breaks. In How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living biographer Karen Karbo says, “She would go through phases when she worked every day, but there were days and weeks when she would read, spend hours tramping around outside, write letters, sew, and play dominoes with the cowboys. When she was at the height of her fame, she spent an inordinate amount of time doing housework.”

As I convalesced, I contemplated the meaning of my life and the purpose of my art. I wondered, “Why am I not content to just live a simple life, to just hold down one job and be a wife? Why do I possess this inner propulsion to create, express, and connect with others? And if I need to create, why isn’t my inner muse satisfied with just one form of expression? Why must I feel called to paint, and write, and as if those were not enough, to teach too? Why God, WHY?”

The simple truth is, I don’t know why.  It’s like asking, “Why do I like the color purple or French vanilla ice cream?” I just do. It’s part of who I am. I’m a creative being, so I must create. I must! Creativity is what gives my life meaning and, at times, makes life bearable enough to live.  
Getting sick forced me to stop and take time to listen to my inner guidance. I was reminded that I can try to manage my time and schedule my days. Wednesdays are typically spent writing, while Saturdays are usually spent in the art studio. But as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I will try to remember Lennon’s sage advice. And when I get ahead of myself and think I should be doing more, or have accomplished more, I will remember to enjoy the ride and release my attachment to the outcomes as I continue to Live The Artist’s Way.

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