Ready for the big bold statement?! here it comes....I am an artist. It is who I am (Okay... wife, mother, daughter, supervisor, and an employee are also who I am... and this post is about being all of those things!) But there is a lot that people do not understand, about what it means to be "an artist". I have put together a list of things you may or may not know about artists; things that may help you understand me a little more :)...
1. We usually have day jobs.... I work a forty hour a week job. This helps me with insurance, gives me a steady income and provides stability for my family. I carve out time for art on weeknights and weekends when I can. I do try to make time throughout the week to just "do" art. But life happens. And problems happen. So sometimes, we put in much more emotional time that we think. The trick is to find time for your passion.
2. We have homes and families....My home is also the home to my Husband, my daughter, our 2 dogs, 2 horses, 2 goats, a bunny, a mini horse and 12 chickens. We have 5 acres and lots of critters to care for. We feed the horses 3x a day, everyone else is 2x. We also need to feed ourselves! And in my house, I tend to be the primary cook. I only prep one meal a day- Dinner. We tend our make out own breakfasts and lunches and/or eat leftovers. We also have 5 acres of fences to care for, lawn to mow, snow to remove (even by gates to pastures/pens and chicken coop). We clean out horse sheds and their dry lot, we shop for our food and theirs (grain), and we go get hay and put it in our hay shelters, we have to clean tack and groom animals...We have laundry and cleaning to do as well. We have daughter in sports, FFA, NHS, PSEO classes, as well as other extracurricular activities. She rides horses competitively. So the summer is filled with horse shows, lessons, and training.
3. We have parents...my father has passed and my mother is aging. She needs help with finances, with cleaning, shopping, making and going to appointments, remembering meds, reminders for everything. She has the beginnings of dementia- which is sometimes worrisome and heart breaking. I see her almost daily, and get multiple phone calls when I don't.
4. We value our art time....Sometimes its 10 minutes. Sometimes its 10 hours. I may need time to just think on the business end of what I am doing, marketing, taking photos, buying supplies, finding reference material, and then....there is time to create. I wish I could devote more time to art, but having a family means a bit of a sacrifice. So when I DO have time, I get really picky about my space, and my choices. Please do not tear apart my space to find something, fix something or make something. If you wanna get in there, ASK! Don't just do... Because, if I want to get in there- I can't if you are. Or if you do ask me to use my space, put it back the way you found it! Just check with me before using it. Don't tell me. I may not be in that room right away; maybe I need to check my email, order business cards and get something to drink before going in... I do take my time to arrange some things before I start. I am weird. (Maybe it's a creative person's OCD?) And pleeeeeease....DO NOT hang anything on my easel! Not sure why it gets me, but it does.
5. We need support...If you know its a rough week, give us time. Art is a release. It's cathartic, it's therapy. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means. Be critical,but don't criticize. Give your opinion in a non judgmental way. We need to push ourselves, but don't push us over the edge;) If you visit someones space, if you go to an opening...DO NOT tell the artist you'd love to put a piece of their art in your bathroom...it's tacky. Seriously. You could have a million dollar bathroom, but the first thing I think is crapper! Ew! We put a lot of time and energy into what we create. You are getting a piece of their soul, a part of who they are. I know that I have a hard time pricing and tagging some pieces, as they are special to me. Some never leave me:) Go to their shows, their exhibitions, to the art show of students they've taught. Ask to see what they've been working on. Go on an art day adventure- go to a museum! Go to another artist's show- we love that! It gives us perspective and time with the people we care about.
So, take from this what you will...I needed a little time to decompress and this list helped get a few things off my chest. It also helps me realize we all have a lot on our plates. Remember to take a minute to see another person's point of view. To walk a mile in their shoes. Life is short. Create something; a memory, time for someone to get away, a work of art. Be the person that inspires, that supports, that has an open mind. Help someone else make a little room on their plate....