Currently working with Gouache on watercolor paper
There was a time when I would have said that art was my life, and I would have been honest. I had dedicated so much of myself to my work that there was nothing else. Then I set art aside, and sought life instead but the maker in me wasn't satisfied. I made amazing food, I crafted, I quilted, I sewed, I crocheted, I painted walls, I made babies, I made all the things for my babies, I taught them myself. I cut my own hair, I grew a garden, I built a treehouse. I told myself that it was enough. It wasn't. I went from one thing to another, always to any sort of making, except for my own sort of making. Decades.
Art isn't life. It's about experiencing life and sharing the experience. Art is letting the kids out of the car for a potty break, and noticing the way the sun filters through the trees and makes a dappled, sparkle effect on your daughter's hair as she explores a stream by the path to the restroom. It's being discouraged by the gloomy sky when you are looking for bright colors and sharp contrast, only to find it at twilight when the clouds capture the slightest hint of fading light in a deep rich blue sky behind the golden light of cheap fast food because you were too tired to think of what dinner ought to have been. What I was missing, what was so unsatisfying by all of the making I tried to hide behind, was the seeing.
I've challenged myself to take some time to paint every day. Or at least more days than not. And in so doing, I have to stop and look. I have to find that bit of light, or those colors next to each other. Art isn't life to me anymore, but it adds a richness to it. Deepens the experience of it. In sharing my work in the community, it grows richer still. To see, to experience deeper as I put it down with the brush, and to experience it again when someone shares their reaction to seeing.