Yes, as much as I can possibly get away with. In fact, I push it and I push it hard. I used to do all the traditional things a wife and mother does when she's raising a young family and taking care of the troops. I went through a long period when it seemed like everyone needed me and with a husband, 2 dogs, 2 kids and schedules, all the things that they weren't able yet to do for themselves, well, it was my full time job. Those days are over!
In the early days of getting interested in artistic pursuits, I knew I had to do something for myself to keep my sanity, so when the kids were old enough I made cute artsy things with them . . . but the truth is, it wasn't enough. I went in deeper.
My first solution was to get everyone off to bed at night and then I began a habit of staying up for a couple of hours to get the time for myself that I needed. I was filling little 5x7 ruled spiral notebooks with ideas, ideas, IDEAS! I was cutting out the precious things from catalogs and magazines that gave me the ideas and then I would write a little bit of possibility after each picture. I would even section off notebooks with tabs and add titles that pertained to ceramic work (that was pre-computer) that I admired. Cups. Bowls. Platters. Then I got all the stuff I needed and I BECAME a ceramic artist in my own backyard for a few years. I made ceramic work of my own. It was grand! It was my therapy and my escape and I became ADDICTED to the art of SELF EXPRESSION . . . because you know, THERE IS ONLY ME.
Picasso was all over the place, just like I am!
I still cut things out of magazines when I don't have a specific goal or project I'm working on or I'm percolating an idea but not ready to get underway. I get a little pile of printed material and I cut out words, strips of colors and patterns, little design elements, faces . . . It's so relaxing and I get to contemplate the inside of my process.
Isn't this detail and lighting beautiful? It is in the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.
I like book stores and used to spend some quiet time there . . . and I would walk home with a small pile o' books that represented the outside world to me.
It just so happens that I was blessed at the very same time with the growing and expanding INTERNET and I was still under 40. THAT was a miracle. It's one of the most exciting developments of our time, the almost unlimited access to learning and connecting with other people who love what you love. I was hooked immediately.
First I found rubber stamping and shrinky dinks. Then I found art groups on yahoo.
Then I heard of bead stores and other kinds of art stores through catalogs in the '80's. . . I could order things from their catalogs!
I heard of Teesha Moore and Artfest through another art retreat held by Stampers Anonymous and I don't remember what it was called . . . it was P.F.B.I. (Pre Full Bore Internet) NOTE: I remember! It was called "Art Continuum" and it was run by Ginny Carter Smallenberg, a sweet art maven who is still moving and shaking. She's a friend of mine on facebook AND I got to meet her in person at one of the Artfest retreats. That's the Internet for you in a nutshell.
Gradually the presence of these people, companies, products, artists and organizers was all I was reading about on my early Mac that looked like a turquoise & white futuristic plastic helmet.
I was altering my kid's artwork in Photoshop (just for fun) in one of the early numbers, 4? 5? 6? I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER anymore and do you know why? It's because I have absorbed and learned so much since those beginning days that I have had to dump many old obsolete links to and memories of old ways of doing things. My brain just can't hold it all anymore and I am older now, just a little . . . no, A LOT older! I was there at the birth of the Internet and I was growing right along with it and I have seen a thing or two . . . for around 20 years now and I wouldn't have missed a minute of it.
Well, at one point I was attending art retreats, for myself
I was taking jewelry classes from shops in my area, for myself
I was buying books, for myself and ooooh! art supplies
I took over the basement family room with tables and chairs and bookshelves and work tables, for myself
I started teaching ART, for myself
I was traveling to any place that had someone who would teach me what I wanted to learn next, for myself
I self published a jewelry making book with many of my art friends, for myself
I submitted to magazines, books, annuals and calls for art, for myself
I have taken online art classes, for myself
I have become very selfish, it's true.
At one point my husband was calling me "24/7" and "art all the time" and art was my mantra and my prayer and everything good and useful that gave me pleasure and helped mend anything if ever anything went wrong.
I decided that even when someone was complaining, my kids had problems, my husband was out of town, I was having a bad day, someone was giving me a piece of their mind . . . I could just go off . . . in my mind . . . and solve my own creative and mechanical problems with the project I was working through and I looked like I was always calm and happy . . . and I was and I might be, and I will do it again. Let this be a warning to you all.
I love art, I love making and I will sacrifice for my love of the craft and for living in my own little world.
And I got this great studio and it IS my own little world. I spend a good number of hours there and the way my husband gets me out of here is he asks me out and we go on a date. I'm loving this part.
HE TOOK ME TO THE MUSEUM!
painting by Georgia O'Keefe
I take breaks. I still live in the real world. The family is still mine and thriving. I can turn it off and I can turn it on. That's what I've learned . . . that I really am mostly in control of my world, such as I've made it. And I have more patience for everyone else if I've gotten some time to myself . . . It's very important.
wire sculpture by Sten Holland who is amazing and makes me want to do this!
See you over at these other blogs riffing on the same topic:
Kathleen Krucoff: http://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com/
K.Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/08/20/artist-retreats-and-solo-time/
Are you wondering about what this “Blog-o-Sphere” thing is?
Andes Cruz, a metalsmith I met online and whose work I love, formed a group of friends who blog and she called it the "Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank". We all write a blog post once a month about the same topic, and we all post at the same time, on the 20th. I've been writing with them since October 2013 and the group keeps me blogging even when I am busy doing my thing. I hope you’ll visit all the blogs on the list and see what they have to say and if YOU have anything to say, please leave me a comment. I would enjoy hearing about it.