Settling into life as an artist after many years of a complex, very fulfilling “regular” job has been more challenging than I thought it would be. I was sure of what I would be doing (more art), how my day would go (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the studio) and what my main focus would be (more art). However, my spring painting marathon at the New York Studio School left me so stunned with the depth of the experience that the biggest activity I could undertake when I got back home was simply cleaning my studio. For several months. Also, for the first time in 18 years, I had completely flexible time during the summer and yet, for the first time, my husband worked in the summer. My community of friends was including more art related relationships, another change, and although all this was good, I was completely overwhelmed with my own expectations about how being an artist “should” play out.
Thank the Lord for friends who shared their wisdom and reassurance about the creative process during this time. I was also drawn to go on retreat with the Trappist monks at the Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Newberg, Oregon and spent five days in silence. Afterwards, I began reading a variety of spiritual texts as well as practical advice on the creative life, chief among those being “The Artist’s Rule” by Christine V. Paintner, and “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I worked extensively with several 7’x5’ images last year, but things have been shaking out in such a way right now that I am making small things; nothing has been larger than 11"x14". They are little building blocks to a new path that I call “The Way of the Small,” after a card in the Tarot by the same name.
As for cats, it has been pointed out to me that my two kitties often play a role in my drawings and paintings. It is thus perhaps no surprise that Roxy (part-Siamese and 100% attention glutton) should be in a my most recent drawing. It was such a delight to work into this piece. I may have been lost, and may still be lost, but there are signposts on the way like this drawing, friends with whom to consider the mysteries of art and the love and support of family, no matter what outside work and responsibilities they may have. I was so worried! But as one of my favorite people once said “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”