Thursday, April 30, 2009

Live the life you imagined

I read blogs. I check into my list of favorites every couple of days and catch up. One I read is Tim Holtz. I love his design style and love his products as well. I've been reading it for over a year and just this morning I really SAW it for the first time...On the top of his blog he has "Live the life you imagined" and in the upper left hand corner is a picture of Tim holding a rubber stamp that says "enjoy the journey". For some reason those two phrases really struck me...I've been thinking about them all day.

Live the life you imagined...that is one I was told was very healthy- to dream about the 'perfect' life. Years ago I used to dream about being an artist and living in a condo (as opposed to a house) and being happily married to a life partner. Today that is my life.

Now when I imagine my life...I see a gourmet kitchen, a studio for art making, the ocean near by and growing old with my life partner...The life we imagine is a forever shifting image or imagining...but I am still able to close my eyes and imagine a life. For today I am living the life I imagined. So far so good...

it's the second phrase that's got me thinking (squirming) ..."enjoy the journey"...not so easy at this moment in time. I am in a state of limbo. A month ago I was laid off from my job of 17 years. It's been interesting... I am on unemployment, so the money issue is a non-issue for now. But I realized that I have not exactly been enjoying the journey, even though I was actually thrilled to be laid off. For the last year of my job I was not real keen on commuting and working there anymore. I had given up my management position and had backed out of full-time to opt for part-time work. I was relieved when the lay off happened. I was ready to leave and move on.

But here's the rub...I have no idea what to do now. I am talking long term- big picture - what's next in my life? I have no idea. I feel very scattered. I like not working- I am now officially a 'house wife'. My kids are grown and gone, my husband still works full time. I have my studio and my art. But I don't know where it's going. I still have two nagging questions: 1. What is next? and 2. What do I want to be when I grow up?

I have always struggled with my art and embracing artistic talent. I also have a hard time focusing in on one area of art. I can't seem to do it. I see artists who find their niche and go about building a career with that artistic niche.

Me- I love it all when it comes to art making. I love watercolors. I love to paint and draw. I love the whole creative process of thinking about a picture, arranging it in my head, taking reference photos, making preliminary sketches, and then the final drawing- followed by the wonderful experience of water and paint- and the freedom/challenge that comes with transparent watercolor.

Then there is collage- I love the hunt. I love old paper. To create a collage with paper and gel medium. To do the designing, the planning and to experience the happy accidents of collage- it is such a thrill.

And then there is computer art. I love to draw and design with Photoshop and Illustrator and most recently my new wacom tablet and Painter software. I love the whole concept of computer art. I seem to have a affinity to computers- it all just makes sense to me. I love that I can 'paint' on my computer and not have the fumes and the mess. Computers also allow for great risk taking and experimentation because of the always available 'undo'. With undo I can go to the moon and back.

And then there is assemblage- I love creating 3-D narrative dolls using wood, paper and found objects. Each new doll becomes 'real' (think Velveteen Rabbit real)...and I love to create a new 'being' of sorts with his/her very own personality.

So there is the rub-- I cannot seem to settle into or settle down with any one artistic medium. I love it all...some days it feels fine to rotate around these endeavors. Other days it feels like I am a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. And so here I am...feeling like I am at a cross roads in my artistic journey and feeling very lost and scattered about it all. That is why I am not enjoying the journey at this moment in time. Is this OK? I wish I knew.


Ann Martin said...

I could have written this post - that's how closely I relate to what you've said. Maybe we just need to embrace the life we're living and let it sort itself out. Not being scattered is overrated - after all, our interests make us interesting. :D Best success to you - I love your work!

Kim Hambric said...

If you love working in all these different mediums, keep doing it. Eventually some will fade away. You may not settle on just one, but two or three.

How important is mastery to you? It may come in the future, it may not. If you love the work you are doing, it will show and will be appreciated by others.

Karen Mowrey said...

I have been wanting to get here to comment since I read it quick the other day. Oh, I love to jump and have thought maybe I have no focus because I have the "cage job". Would I be the same if that job disappeared? I think it would to a degree in the beginning.

17 years of your work focus being your main time consumer did not leave room in your life for another "main" focus. Variety was needed for your sanity. I have always said you need to go where your muse takes you. Maybe set a goal date of when you want to be "more focused and serious about something particular" Get going on flickr maybe, a lot of times editors hunt for freelance illustrators and graphic artists that way. Add all your Etsy shots to an Esty group there for more exposure, check out all the other fun groups and PLAY a while!

bty: have always wanted one of those wacom tablets but felt I should get more experience with Photoshop, etc. Hey, teach a class on digital art, I would come!!

Kathy2eggs said...

I totally feel like you....I can do so many medias, and can't be happy doing just one. I've decided that I will continue to move from one to the other, and just enjoy the way. Luckily, I don't need to make any one my "one and only"....Sewing for Barbies is fun, but I can go months without doing any sewing. I love the ATCs and haven't found anything more that I like at this time. Two years ago, I was totally into the scrapbooking, and haven't done anything in over a year. Will I go back? Probably, but who knows?
Every day is a challenge, and I'm constantly evolving my cards. If I took a digital class, perhaps things would happen there.
Just know you aren't alone, and you don't have to make that decision yet.