Monday, January 31, 2011

My latest lesson in life

So, by now you may have read about my amazingly bad week that just passed by.  With water soaking my kitchen and the trail of drips in my w/c, I was truly thinking that I should just bail out, no pun intended.  Let me hasten to elaborate that by "bail out" I in no way am intending to walk out, lock my door and head for dryer ground.  This is my home and hopefully by the end of February, I should have all the holes in my kitchen wall and ceiling replaced and the ceiling repainted.  The bathroom leak has not been diagnosed as yet, but by mid week when the plumber is back, he should be able to trace the offending trail of water back to its source.  Cosmetic repairs of all the affected areas will take at least four weeks in order to allow the drywall to well, dry out.  Whilst the kitchen is still smelling a tad dodgy, I think I have it under control with vast quantities of baking soda, white vinegar and various cleaning products.  My routine for the past several days has been to wash down the kitchen every day at least once and the counter tops several times.  Did I mention I have a bit of a problem with musty odours?  Life will march on and I am sincerely hoping that this week will improve in its unfolding which will in turn allow my normally sunny, but cynical nature to return.

Art has been noticeable by its absence over the past several days.  Whilst my bucket of paint tubes, jars holding brushes at the ready, are sitting near my table, I have not had the heart or the inspiration to sit down and paint my brains out.  I suspect that this is why I am in a bit of a snit and not feeling terribly chipper.  There is something about sitting down to paint that I find calming.  The steady movement of the brush over various canvases always has a way to make me feel better and draws me into the very painting itself.  I become more than just an observer or painter, I am part of the scene being painted.  It is as if I am actually running around creating what it is that is being painted on the canvas and in fact, I am in control of what develops, but more importantly, I "feel" what it is that is being painted.  I lose track of time and hours will pass by without my noticing that darkness has taken over the wintry sky and the night has overtaken the day.  Those types of days are golden and to be enjoyed.  It means that I have had a good day working on one or more canvases and that I was completely involved in what I was doing, unaware of anything else happening outside my little world. 

That may sound a little strange, but think of this as if you were writing a book.  To effectively write a good novel, I believe that the author must make themselves a part of what is happening.  They live within their plot and actually get to not only develop their characters, but also to know them.  The characters take on a life and the author genuinely cares about what happens to them and how the unfolding story line affects each.  At least this is how I picture an author in the process of writing a novel would live, but then I tend to be overly dramatic in how I imagine the process.  But, I enjoy this train of thought and it allows me to justify being overly protective of my art work just as any artist would be of theirs.  I hasten to add that I do recognize flaws in my work, the need to work on technique and to build on acquiring more proficiency.  To consider myself an accomplished artist would be foolish.  Artist in training, that is how I would define myself and I am okay with that.

Learning and trying to develop myself into the accomplished artist that I intend to become does not mean that I am not an artist.  Even though I am still in the early stages of my journey, the journey is still moving forward, just at a slower pace.  Painting, actually any type of artistic creativity, is what makes me get up each morning and hurry to finish any cleaning or tend to whatever appointments I might have.  Making the time for artistic endeavours is what I find necessary in order for me to feel that I have had a "good" day.  The absence of this vital time makes me feel sluggish, less like the self that I have come to know over the past three years.  I like the artistic side of me, it suits me at this point in my life.  It allows me to be "wonky", different, but in a fun kind of way.  Others may find the "artist" me to be a little impractical, prone to spending far too much time reading about different paints, inks, etc., but I can live with that.  I admit that I allow myself far too much time wandering through the art supply shops perusing new paints.  I see the same qualities in other artists and I suspect that we all recognize these traits in others working in the same field.  Artists are a group of inspired people finding time well spent in honing our craft.  We are always working on developing and consider ourselves to be a work in progress, not a fait accompli. 

Where does all this lead me?  It makes me realize what I need to do in order to feel that I have done something with my life or at least at this stage of my life.  I have worked in various professions over the years and now my journey in life is taking me for an artistic stroll at a slower pace.  Reality still crashes in on me regularly in different guises such as little furry beasties scampering in the walls or water cascading through my flat.  These diversions only add variety to my days and are to be expected to occur, preferably less regularly than they have recently.  My journey is not a dull one and I have to say that I really do enjoy it or I would not invest so much time into it.  My journey has allowed me to meet and "tweet" with the most interesting group of people, many that I consider to be almost family or at the very least, good friends.  After the past week, the week that will go down in my journal as being memorable for all the wrong reasons, I realize how important finding the time to paint is for me and that it is not just something with which to fill the time in my days.  Painting is a vital part of my life and I need to indulge in it every day either by actively working on canvas or by doing some artistic research.  Without devoting a significant portion of the day to playing with my paints, I rob myself of the opportunity to learn more about the medium, but more importantly, about myself. 

This week, I will paint with the same enthusiasm I would have at seeing an old friend that I have not been with for a long time.  It feels like an eternity since I last sat down and filled a canvas and yet it has only been a matter of several days.  That tells me how much impact painting has had on my life and how important this part of my life is to my overall well being.  That is a valuable lesson learned and one that I will keep going back to on days when life's little problems get a little out of hand.  When the going gets rough, get out the paints and kick my problems to the curb.  That seems terribly sensible.

Have a great week and take some time to do something you enjoy.  It really is time well spent.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac 


Rachel said...

Absolutely loved reading your blog. Your story sounds like something I could have written. I am currently working full-time in an office and am saving up to leave in a year or so in order to pursue my dream of being an artist full-time. I thank you so much for your words, as it's reading things like your blog that help keep me on my path. All the best, Rachel

Ruthee said...

Hi Rachel! It's a fun journey, but I wouldn't be telling you the truth if I told you that it was an easy one. But, if you're willing to invest the time and energy you will move forward. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but the speed does increase along with your confidence. Believe in yourself, know your strengths, be aware of your weaknesses, but don't let the nay sayers take you down. There will always be someone who will try to tell you that you will not be able to make a living as an artist and that it's just not worth the effort. It is worth the effort, every ounce of effort that you invest will come back to you in some form, not necessarily monetary. Know this and be prepared to do art on the side until you have your resources built up or see that you can pay the bills with your art earnings. There is no shame in realizing that you may need a little more time before you can leave the "day job." You seem to know where you are at in your journey at this point and that's more than amazing. I'm cheering you on, all the way. Keep in touch, either through my blog or through my gallery. The gallery is set up so that you can leave a comment which is then e-mailed to me. I'm also on Twitter as @rutheemac and you can send me a message and I'll be happy to give you my e-mail address. Cheers!