July is cruising along...I have packing lists forming in my head, several things I will need to bring with me for my trip to Italy, and with three weeks to go I'm feeling okay as it all approaches. I've spent the past few weeks doing some sketches and studies of Italian animals, for the composition and work I have in mind.
I would say I have spent the past 7 or 8 years of my headspace, largely focused on developing myself as an artist, meaning learning, practicing, seeking out opportunities, with a lot of my mental and emotional energy focused there. However, last fall, this started to change. About that amount of time ago- 7 years, I had had a strong, steady yoga practice, mostly three days a week. My yoga practice had grounded me for a number of years, until a combination of health challenges and work schedules eventually necessitated me cutting back, and then getting run down health, time and energy wise, I stopped. During this time I put on weight, got out of shape, and I think got relatively disembodied, meaning living more in my head, than body. Finally last year after a discussion of where I was with my husband, I expressed my large frustration with this state of inactivity, and decided I would try Crossfit, something that I thought I might like. That was nine months ago. Starting at my age and being out of shape, this was not easy, however now I feel like my health and vitality has shifted greatly, and although yoga is different, I have recovered the affinity I have for challenging physical exertion. I have always, my whole life, been driven to try challenging things, and it is reassuring to me that I am still now willing to do things that initially scare me.
So now, I am feeling back in my body. But interestingly at the same time, my body seems to have its beefs with me. I really feel there's a tension between my physical being, being angry at my mind, as if to say, "why did you ignore me for so long", and I have been experiencing a lot of pent up emotion looking to come out. Also I had never lifted weights the way I am now. If you know Yin and Yang energies, a lot of what we do in Crossfit, is very Yang type stuff. And whatever you do, if it's Yin or Yang, it stimulates not only your physical being, but your psychological and emotional states too. So if you haven't been integrating your Yang well, and you're a woman (the same goes for other activities and gender variance) , then you're going to be in for a surprise as these energies come to seek expression in your life.
Meanwhile this is my art website, so this is supposed to be about art. But what is art about? Art is about life. So whatever is going on in our life, is going on in art.
When I started to embark on what I considered an art career, I had so much excitement and enthusiasm...and it wasn't that I was doing anything that was particularly exciting or dramatic, but I just had a lot of art mojo, and loved both doing my art, and trying to get it out there. I always knew however and never expected anyone else to be as excited about art as I was (other than other artists & art lovers), and that's understandable, as people have their different passions and interests. If you aren't a driven creative person, expressive people can be perplexing... I am often aware of people who are more reserved and private about their interests, feeling like something is wrong with people so "out there", with their expression. However to be inspired by an expressive ability or interest to the degree that you feel you have to do your work, in order to feel somewhat normal--that it has to come out--comes as well with a drive to share that expression. How it is shared is open to endless possibilities, but it's important to know that with healthy creative expression, comes healthy desire to share your work. So if you aren't like this and have always thought, why are they talking about that, why do they have to show everyone, please don't see it as mere narcissism or exhibitionism, and know that the actual process of sharing your work with the public is TERRIFYING. But we are compelled to do it- one goes with the other.
Meantime, with all this drive I have felt the past several years, when I started it I knew inside I had one real fear...and that was what I would do if the day came, where I wasn't that excited and driven about the challenge of putting myself out there. And that is where I find myself now, precisely.
Whatever has happened, whether it's a more healthy distribution of my personal energies (back to the body), disruptive and discouraging political times, maturity, or ego dissolution resulting from my Buddhist practice (this is something that does happen), I have lost interest in the energy of promoting myself, in participating, to some degree, in this endless striving one must do, as an artist. I've still been doing it, though to a lesser degree than in the past, and with a lot less enthusiasm, though I generally don't share that with people. The worst thing I think for creative people, is feeling that people are indifferent to their work. If you have any awareness you know that people have different tastes, that they like different things, and you don't expect everyone is going to like your work. So more painful than not liking, is nobody even noticing, perhaps because the whole process takes so much courage, and often has so little, if any reward, and it is so personal.
So while I've done a lot since I first exhibited in 2010, I've participated in countless shows local, national, and even international. I've been included in public art programs of major public organizations, some of which now hang my art. I've given talks about my environmental art at two colleges. And I'm selling more art recently than I ever have. Still I can use an analogy of feeling like I'm a little art ship adrift at sea, to describe where I feel I am. I have not lost my love of doing art...it's the other side of it, the critical part of it for a "career" of any kind, it's the seeking of opportunities, and putting myself out for so much rejection, and relatively little success--which is the way the field is. So now I float along, in no mans land / seas, unsure of my destination. I have come to realize what makes me happiest are three things: 1) making art 2) teaching kids and engaging them through art and 3) supporting people and causes with my art that reflect my values. So, I am at a pause in terms of where it is I wish to go. I am hoping that my residency in Italy will provide me some clarity. Meantime, this is a rich time emotionally in my life, I am changing, and growing, and happy to be here. Thank you to everyone who continues to support me, and my art.