On Not Minding My Own Business

erika-fletcher-YfNWGrQI3a4-unsplashI’m going back to just making art and not being an artist.  Having had the goal for years of being a successful artist, I recently woke up to the fact that indeed, I had arrived.  That means I’m good with where I’m at.  It’s kind of like where to stop on a painting without overworking it.  Once I attained the label of “Artist” it came with art fairs, shows, social media, websites, marketing, basically business.  I am NOT a business person and am an introvert on top of it. Looking back I had way more satisfaction when I was just playing around and gifting my work to friends and family. Seeing looks of delight on their faces was payment enough.

I used to think that being accomplished was something akin to notoriety, copy-3129360_1920profit, fame, status or similar. Now, I’ve come to the conclusion after many years, that for me, fulfillment is in the creative process and the sharing. Monetary gain is just an added bonus. It’s kind of like fishing.  It’s great being out in nature no matter what and if you catch a fish- even better.

Now that I have less of my life before me than behind me, I am becoming very mindful of how I spend my life’s energy.  Do I want to spend hours at my computer marketing my work on Facebook, Instagram, & Etsy?  What am I giving up to do that?  After experimenting withbranding_131 all that the last few years, it’s felt too sleazy, like dressing in clothes that aren’t me. Do I really need to brand myself?  Seriously, I don’t want to fit in a box like Ritz Crackers. Art galleries are there for a reason.  They take 50% of sales but they could work on the selling while I could be out hiking.

Author Marsha Sinetar, famously said in her 1989 book titled the same, “Do what you love, the money will follow.”  Well, maybe.  For me, it’s turned out to be “Do what you love because you love it- and get a day job that you can tolerate”. Retirement works too. Otherwise what you love may turn out to be another form of the daily grind.

It’s an individual thing crafting a creative life.  THEY (whoever THEY are) may say do this and that, but ultimately it’s very personal what being successful is.  For some, they are content with the time invested in marketing themselves.  Their time is justified. I applaud them. But for me, creativity is a spiritual experience. Monetizing it takes away the joy.   So with that realization, I am taking the priority of selling my art out of the img_2831equation.

My last public show will be the local Art Harvest Studio Tour in the first two weeks in October.  Lately, I’ve been in the studio doing lots of work.  I will have an array of mixed media prints, found object sculpture, and ceramics on display.  After that, my remaining pieces will be in local galleries and online light.  Then, I’m going to design that patio and walkway I’ve always wanted, write more, play more music, and do more hiking. See you on the trail!

To check out my page on the tour go here

follow your nose

 

Looking for Nirvana

IMG_2156A mistake I thought as we pulled up in our U-Haul truck to our recently purchased farmhouse in rural Oregon.  That was on a cold, dismal rainy day in 1993. The place was overgrown and sad looking.  When we entered, the previous owners had not cleaned.  The house smelled of their chain-smoking.  There was no choice but to get to work.

We froze for the first two winters. Eventually, we got the place cleaned up, insulated and a new heating system installed. Only then could we start thinking about cosmetic kitchen4improvements.  Our son started first grade at the small school across the road.

My husband had been in a depression and said he would be happy if he could live in the country.  As for me, I had lost track of how many moves I’d experienced since leaving home at 19.  After university, I was like a tumbleweed in search of Nirvana, working seasonally in far-flung places of Alaska for the better part of 10 years.  Now, with a young son in tow, I was ready to put down roots, even if the house and the town weren’t perfect.

My now ex-husband moved on after a few years.  He was wrong. Living in the country did not make him happy.  Happiness is an inside job.  I realized that though and I married myself to this place determined to build a life for myself and my son.

IMG_2029
Bandit

That was 26 years ago this May 31st.  The house is now cute, cozy, with a big garden & lots of roses. The generic rural area has now become “The Wine Country.” I am interwoven into the fabric of the community and have great friends.  I know the names of the UPS guy, the mail lady, the receptionist at the pool, many business owners, and the birds that frequent the feeder.  Another, more suitable man, shares my life as well as my old dog, Bandit.  Then there are the sweet memories of the dogs and cats that have passed before him. My son grew up but lives relatively close by and thinks of this as home. In this place, my hair has grayed.  In this place, I grew to be at home in my own skin.

Dougie RIP
Dougie RIP

 

I finally found Nirvana.

'11 ski, house, summer 030

My Home

Was built on the dreams of  the Kalapuia Indians

Looking for game and camas root to feed their families

Of weary pioneers ready to cease their westbound journey

Of dairy farmers looking to build a livelihood

Of generations of families

Looking for a peaceful life

Including my ownIMG_0531

 

The forest & oak savannah

Have long been cut down

Giving way to field and orchard

And now on the hills, vineyards

The dairy cows are long gone

And more cars fill the country roads

 

But the house still stands

And I am still here,

With a better man

My child grown

The walls are infused with memories

And my dreams still blooming

Like the red roses on the arbor