Sunday, July 5, 2020

When Did You Know?

The two most important days in a person's life,
the day you are born
and the day you know why.
                         Mark Twain

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

All my life could be an answer. Yet it wasn't until 2007, at the age of 56, that I began to seriously dedicate my life towards a full-time art practice. 

My circumstance was not unusual, but it was unique to me. That year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After the shock of the diagnosis sunk in another reality exploded into my consciousness, if I was ever going to act on my dream, I had to do it now. 

After thirteen years of reading books about how to paint, watching tutorial videos, attending workshops around the country and becoming part of a community of like-minded people, today, I thrive in the fullness of allowing my quiet, yet very powerful neshama, to speak through my work. 

When do you know when a painting is done?

It's taken time, time for me to trust my instincts, which can only be known by creating bad work as well as good, looking at the work of many, many artists and learning to see beyond the surface of the picture plane, getting feedback from instructors, mentors and other artists and finally hearing my heart tell me so. Simply put, I love the painting so much I want to keep it. 

Luckily, this is when my left-brain steps in and tells me to get real, and I let it go to a collector who loves it enough to want to hang it in their home. At that moment, the seer sees the work through my eyes, and we are in the same space. 

Even though that is a wonderful place to be, I can't stay there. I have to keep going into the studio to make more work. It's what's demanded to keep me firmly tethered to terra firma. I have to do it. When I don't, I feel lost, when I do, I feel calm. And when things are humming along, I feel elated. 

I'm not very good at meditating, thoughts keep drifting in, creating that monkey mind chatter meditation instructors warn you about. 

However, in the studio, I am in the moment, I am focused, and my mind is quiet. This is my meditation practice and I am good at that.