Do you ever feel like your insides are in knots? An immovable lump sitting heavy in the pit of your gut? I get that often and, in fact, made it the subject matter of one of my recent pieces. I didn’t know what else to paint, but what I was feeling…the very raw struggle of various life pressures, from balancing work duties to the endless demands of motherhood, the struggle in walking out my faith and the guilt that Im not actually making the art I always dreamed of making.
I can frequently find myself falling down into an abyss of negativity, leading me further away from where I want to be and into the stickiness of confusion and hopelessness. Then it all seems way more complicated…and yet, sometimes just before I feel I may blow, I actually choose to defeat my defeatist attitude and just try to go make art. Before realizing it, Im in another world. All the stress that had set up shop in my neck and shoulders seems to have been worked out by my determined propulsion of paintbrush to canvas. And the lump? Well, at some point, the mass mysteriously dissolves. And all those little, unsure, insignificant marks I was making on my canvas, they take shape making a noticeable difference; looking more intentional than I remember intending.
As long as I can recall, I have wanted to pursue being an artist. Making art, even when I need convincing, was and still is one of the preferences for how to spend my time. Growing up creating, though, just came naturally. I didn’t have to think about it or even seem to make time for it. It just happened. I don’t know that I ever made a conscious decision to make art…I just did whenever I was given the time and the materials.
Yet there came a point when life got a little more full and my responsibilities more numerous, that making art felt less and less natural. I had to think about it to make it happen. I had to intentionally pencil time in…to make the decision to try and make art. I think that was the part of the struggle in becoming an “adult” artist.
And my artist self had a rude awakening when time was much less afforded to it but spent on being the best wife and mother I could be, an investment worth the sacrifice but nonetheless painful at times.
I continue to aspire and struggle as much as I ever have to keep practicing, because the mystery of my needing to ironically brings a centeredness into my life.