beauty is found in the spaces between,
mixed media and encaustic on cradled birch, 8x8 inches
Although the three of us were sick and had to cancel all of our Christmas plans outside of the house, we had a very nice Christmas. I also celebrated my 32nd birthday yesterday. A big holiday, a birthday and the end of the year all seem to lead me to think about this past year and to what is ahead. These past few days being cooped up in the house I've been doing a lot of thinking of what I want for this next year. I had felt like I was in a dilemma-choosing between my art and being mom. But I think the dilemma was more in my head than anything.
This year has been amazing, in terms of becoming a mother and watching and helping Noah grow and thrive. It's also been an amazing year in terms of painting and getting my work out there in the world. I created A LOT. I still can't believe it when I look at my database of how many paintings were made this year. And sold too! I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this.
And yet...there is a toll. I am exhausted. We don't have any help, and I don't want to hire anyone to watch Noah. I am not open to any type of daycare for him until he can talk and go to the bathroom and communicate to me what his experiences are. I don't trust anyone to take care of him as I would. Besides, I want to take care of him. I want to be there for him.
But what about my work? I am fortunate that I don't have to leave the house and work. With my income from amanobooks I used to be able to be able to cover important expenses such as health insurance, medical bills, college loans, business expenses, and other miscellaneous bills. And even though I've sold quite a bit of paintings this year, my income is just a fraction of what I used to make selling my journals. So, yes, it is my work, yes, it is income, but no the health and security of my family does not depend on my income. It used to in the the earlier years when I first started my business. But now, not so much.
So, why am I killing myself to further my art career?
1) I need to paint for my sanity. It's me, it's who I am. There's no way out of that.
2) Ego? Something to prove to myself?
But really, years from now- am I going to look back at these years and think wow in 2008, I made this painting and it got into this show or it sold, etc? Or do I want to look back at this time and think of Noah's first steps, creating memories with him, spending quality time together as a family rather than me running off trying to get work done in the limited time I have on the weekends? I am proud of my art accomplishments that I made this year and I wouldn't take it back. But I think I need to take a breather. Or more like, give myself permission to relax a bit.
So, I think that not much will change except that I am going to put less pressure on myself. If opportunities come up, I will not turn them down. But my focus will be more homebound, family-centered.
I am not giving up or letting my dreams go, they are just on hold for just a little bit. I will keep on painting and creating. I can't stop anyway. And I will try to do little shows here and there- local things like coffeeshops or stores. I will do some open studio sales as well. I have a series of paintings brewing in my brain. I will work on that. Slowly, steadily. Letting it unfurl at an unhurried pace.
I am lucky. I have a choice. And I have a husband who tells me that he wants me to do whatever makes me happy. And if it turns out that in a few weeks or months that I start to lose my mind and I need to get more studio time, then we will juggle our schedules again. Because if "mama isn't happy...then no one is happy".
It's all about balance. I've been teeter-tottering, holding up as well as I can. And I am proud of what I've accomplished. But teeter-tottering all the time is not the healthiest way to live. This next year I want to be filled with laughter, health, and creativity. Growth. Contentment. True balance.