Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Drawing Conclusions

"It is never too late to be what you might have been".  - George Eliot

I'm usually not one to make New Year's resolutions.  Regardless of the time of year, if I feel compelled to make a major change I simply do it.  When I decided I wanted to become a runner in my late thirties, I just started running.  Many years ago when I decided to quit smoking cigarettes, I quit three days later.  Just as simply however, if I don't really want to do something I seem practically incapable of doing it.  There are times in life though, and for me the arrival of the New Year this year seems to have provided one of several triggers, when factors converge and really cause one to.............take pause, so to speak.

Many years ago when fresh out of high school I attended a college commercial art program.  Though I did not realize it at the time, it was not my forte' (and those of you who knew me then would probably say that regardless of the curriculum it would have........er............interfered with my 'social life'.)  Following that I completely diverted, and absolutely enjoyed a lengthy career in social work -- however over a twenty-five year period I may have completed only three drawings.

Okay: what is my point?  Possibly that concerning my art, I became lost -- I abandoned it, ignored it, basically did nothing with it except take the ability for granted, and hadn't the foggiest notion of what I wanted to do with it.  Over the past four years I am slowly regaining, or possibly gaining for the first time in my life, a sense of who I am as an artist as well as who I want to be.  With this comes increased knowledge of what I need to do to get there.  I have longed to have a clearer understanding of what my own 'artistic voice' is, and have felt frustrated at times that this insight seemed to elude me.  That too, seems to be getting clearer.  Others have tried at times to tell me who and what I should be as an artist -- but this never really works, does it?? -- though I have learned just as much from my poor artistic decisions as my wise ones!

I have suffered from lack of focus, and have allowed other issues in my life to impact my work and my output.  I have allowed emotional and tangible distractions to put my art somewhere wayyyy down on the list of priorities.  In striving to find my artistic voice, I have tried techniques and subject matter that were more.........convenient.  I mean lets face it: this is southern Michigan.  There isn't exactly a cowboy standing on every street corner!  Yet that is what I feel drawn to portray -- images of western people and increasingly, horses.  I think some of you will 'get it' when I say that there are ways in which I have not been courageous, thus allowing my life to become small.  From this point on, I choose to strive not to do that. 

2010 is certain to bring some major changes to my life.  For one, my son will be off to college.  For another, in all liklihood I will be returning to social work on a part-time or full-time basis -- a fact that will effect my art to some degree.  However I look forward to these and other changes, though some will be certain to bring growing pains of sorts.  I am up for them..........I just have this feeling that 2010 is going to be a good year. 

And if you have made it through this reflective dessertation, congratulations and thankyou!

(The photograph at the top of the post was taken on Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula, of Michigan's upper peninsula.) 



  1. Focus has been an issue with me as well and art usually ends up on the bottom of my list, but that's changing. It's time to put some things aside and make art makinging a higher priority- I think it's easier now that our children are grown.

    Happy New Year, Lynda, here's to a productive year!

  2. Just stay focussed everything else will fall into place...with art follow your heart :)

  3. Hi Lynda, wonderful post. I agree that finding our artistic voice is something that we must do on our own. In my own experience, I found that my artistic voice and my style started to be revealed over time - when I just did the work. So just keep working girlfriend! :-)

    I too feel that 2010 is going to be a good year, a very good year. Like yours, my year shall have challenges too but yes we shall be up to them!

    You have achieved much in a short period of time (CPSA designation and all) and I am sure you have much more success awaiting you as an artist. Even if you return to social work, you will be able to find time for your art. It sounds like once you are determined to do something, you make it happen. Just remember that Jeff George has a day job! :-)

    Love the photo and the George Eliot quote is a favourite of mine. Congratulations on choosing to live a very big life!! I wish you all the best in 2010 and I look forward to seeing more of your fabulous art in the coming months.

  4. Interesting post, many thoughts here I truly can relate to. For me having direction in my art is about synchronicity with my life.
    I love seascapes, but know I will never become a great painter of them living in the midwest.
    A level of creative authenticity would be missing.
    You might enjoy this artist, http://khendersonart.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for sharing your work and thoughts.

  5. Very interesting post indeed! I love the photo you included. I think 2010 is going to be an eventful, interesting year for you. I wish you much discovery and love. AND art work.

  6. Such an issue with me too, Denny.....FOCUS.....what with the dogs, the horses, the house, the family, the upcoming college issues, the job search (of which their are NONE in Michigan), the.....the......it is tremendous conscious effort to keep the art near the top, but it is getting easier.

    That is so true Elizabeth: to some degree, we learn how to draw by drawing. Which ties in to what you said Teresa, because we learn and gain our voice simply throught continuing to draw. Thank you for your affirming words.

    What you describe is quite a quandry for me Jim. I feel such an affinity for western peoples, and have good sources and resources for the work as a result of our photo shoots........but there is just something about living WITH the subject matter, that I long for. I'm not sure how I will resolve this yet. I will check the link you sent. Love your work.

    And Debbi........ its already eventful!! Hahahahaha

  7. commitment and focus is a trait we humans endeavor always to get under our belt. It is a great New Year resolution though and well worth striving for. Just don't get a broken leg to do so. It has however kept me at the painting easle and I have probably painted more in the past 4 months than I ever have.

  8. Gary, you still maintain your lovely sense of humor through your......er.......predicament. I guess there is another side to every coin, hmmmm? (i.e., your injury keeping you at the easel). Some of these 'habits' you are practicing may stay with you even after you are up and dancing again! Always enjoy hearing from you, Gary. Thanks.