As artists, we are often pushing ourselves in many directions. I know I do. I am primarily a quilt maker, a textile artist who uses my own cloth as well as commercially printed cloth. I am a mixed media artist who works with all sorts of paint, medium, and ephemera. I have more than one means of walking on my artistic path. One medium often informs the other, or so it has been my experience.
That said, we can easily get scattered. Our time is split between making work, applying to shows or teaching venues, volunteering time and resources to organizations, and more. And that is just our artistic selves. What about all the other things that happen in our lives? After all, none of us live in a vacuum!
Every one of us has unique demands on time and artistic resources and these will vary over the years.
If we have young children at home or aging parents, we know that these are our priorities. These are periods of time when our art-lives take a back seat and we find ourselves less prolific. Many of us are doing these things plus juggling the demands of a career outside the studio. It makes me tired to read all this and I. Have. Done. It. And guess what? I wasn't making much art while I was juggling all those plates. Each of these things was an "era", a portion of my life. If I had an artistic voice, it was whispering very faintly.
Early in my "former life" as an RN, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in the field of death and dying. She humanized and put a face on the experience of loss, death, and challenging life transitions. In reading Ms. Roberts' blog post I was reacquainted with Ross. This quote should resonate for many who read this:
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Realize that we are all the sum of our experiences. We all have great joys and sometimes great sorrow.
It makes us who we are as human beings. And for all of that we learn a great deal about ourselves and the world. As artists, we are often conduits: we use our art as a means of expression.
There are times for many of us that the events of our life overshadow our artistic-selves: it is a universal truth. The challenge is to reawaken the muse, to find the balance, to work with intent, to prioritize time for making art.