Art brings me joy. I wouldn't be an artist if it didn't. But like everybody else in the world, I have a life outside of my art. I won't bore anybody with many of the details here, but sometimes life gets busy, and it becomes difficult to juggle life and art.
I think the hardest part about being an artist isn't the skill required to draw. That's sometime that comes with time, patience, and practice. The hardest part for me is finding a way to push past the things life throws at me and continue drawing, even when the drawings stubbornly refuse to let me finish them.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not making excuses here. I went into this knowing that life would get in the way for at least a couple of years. That's just life, especially when you're an artist with a family. Life tends to fight you sometimes, pushing to stop you from doing what you love even if you are doing what you love (I'm thinking kids, here). It wasn't anything serious--just the norm of raising a family while trying to pursue a hobby that became a passion and a career.. Things make a person busy, important things. Family, school, sports, church, life. I know I'm not alone. The important thing that I constantly had to constantly remind myself as I contemplated setting my art down for a few years (the thought crossed my mind more than once, I guarantee it) was that I would never get anywhere in life if I didn't push through it.
I wasn't quite ready to start an art career and ended up sort of launched into it last year, so with as chaotic as everything around me was, I decided to take the second half of last year off in order to organize, plan, and envision where I was going to go with my art. I don't regret taking the time off. I got a lot of important things done, and I'm better off for it. My family was better off for it as well. The down side was that I got a chunk of the way into this piece, started on the rather complicated background, and set it down, walking away for 3/4 of a year.
With the coming of the New Year, I decided the time was right to get to work again. I had deadlines approaching and countless opportunities. I started the year with "Frozen Light." It was fitting, I thought, for winter. With "Gathering Pine Ridge" being so close to completion, I knew the time was right to finish it. I only had the background left. Surely, I thought to myself, I could finish it within just a couple of weeks or less.
Yeah . . . right . . .
Yeah . . . I jinxed myself . . .
Bad . . . .
Ok, I'll be honest. Looking back on it, it doesn't seem as bad now as it did then. I will say, though, that everything imaginable seemed to slow me down. Perhaps it was the detailed landscape that required so much attention. Life certainly had a lot to do with it. The family coming down with a plethora of small colds absolutely was of no help whatsoever. At all. In the thick of it, I felt totally jinxed.
Here's the thing. I love my family. I love my life. I love all of the little things that get in the way of my art. Can it be frustrating? Ohhh, youbetcha. Do I pull my hair out a lot? Yeah. Definitely. But I'm also a professional. The important thing is to never lose sight of goals. They may take longer than planned, but any progress is still progress. It's a cliche, but there it is. I push past the frustrating times, enjoy the good times, and create my art.
(Incidentally, I did get the piece finished in time for deadlines, narrowly. It took staying up until 3:30am the night before the deadline (courtesy my trusty friend Mt. Dew) to do it, but I finished it).
13.5" x 16.75"
FC Polychromos & Caran d'Ache Luminance on Fabriano Soft Press Watercolor Paper