I used to paint. I used to paint a LOT. I haven't though in so long. It's actually been several years since I've picked up a brush.
I'm not really sure where or why I stopped. Life got crazy, and art became my full time job, and wasn't simply a hobby anymore.
Don't get me wrong, I love that art is my full time job. I'm blessed to be able to do what I love, and still make a living! (and above all, that I'm able to stay home with my little guys while I do it.)
I was thrown into it though. I had always planned on someday making the arts the main focus of my career life. Creating is what I was meant to do, I have no doubts about it.
I'd planned on having kids first though, and taking some time to raise them before I made any of my dabbles a career. My plan was to live artfully, kids in tow, with no pressure in regards to the profits of my work. I simply wanted to enjoy my hobby, and enjoy my young family.
But when overnight, something that's simply a hobby, and something you love, becomes your sole bread and butter, there are casualties.
My poor knitting needles sit somewhere in my attic, still to be unpacked from a sudden move that took place several years ago. Piles of patchwork that have yet to be sewn together also wait in anticipation to be completed. I think I've even got several batches of soap curring up there as well.
The biggest loss though that I felt (apart from time to just sit and play with my two little boys) were my painting and photography. I could no longer depend on silly little paintings or infant portraits from a film camera to pay the bills, not where I was in my life.
Two toddlers, no "real" education (other than high school, a semester of bible college, and my many elective visual art courses), and a run away husband. That doesn't make for a very good recipe.
So what's a girl to do when she finds herself in a situation like this? Drop everything that isn't bringing in dough, and hold on for dear life. No more gardening, sewing, home decorating, photography, and no more painting.
I started carving a lot more, rapidly. It's what seemed to sell, and took the least amount of my time, and turned out realistic profits.
(and I truly do love carving, I always have. I'd been doing it for years, and enjoy it. There IS satisfaction in my work. I just hated that it was suddenly ALL that I do).
But that was several years ago. And I had made a promise to myself that this was temporary. Once I was back on my feet, I wouldn't leave everything I'd loved in a box like it was part of a past life.
Once I was over the hump, I would return to being me again. The scatter-brained, multi project girl who wasn't afraid of painting just for the heck of it, and had the guts to dash out of the house on an errand while still wearing an apron, with a paint brush holding her hair in a bun.
I'm slowly reclaiming that girl. Living without painting and photography has been like living without a much needed limb. It's been painful.
Times have changed though. Life is falling into place, and the kids are a little older. I have a touch more time than I used to, and my hard work has paid off. I've even fallen in love with the sweetest man a girl could ever hope for. I've never felt so loved, and so accepted for who I am. He even lets me rub off a little bit of my "artsy-fartsy"ness on him!
(though he does secretly chuckle to himself and calls me a nerd under his breath when I come up with an outlandish random art thought, idea or inspiration, but I've never been called a nerd so lovingly:)
Anyway, these last few weeks, I've decided it's time that I brought out my paints. Heck, I've even purchased some new colors.
While slopping around in burnt sienna, I finally felt like my artistic self again. I couldn't believe just how badly I'd missed it. Even the mistakes, and the exercises, the doodles that lead to nothing, no finished product, they're still so valuable. That time spent with a brush is worth something.
I'm going to start doing a lot more of this artistic play. I'm going to start enjoying art for what it is again, without pressure.
Here I give you, my first bit of watercolor play in several years. Boy did it feel GOOD.