Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why Am I An Artist?


In the back of my mind I know I'm trying to out-race dementia.  I want to be a REAL artist before I start to forget how to paint!  That's the journey I'm on.  I don't have it now, or even any symptoms but I know it runs in my family. Watching my mom struggle with it for the past 10-15 years has been a sobering reminder.  Alzheimer's or dementia...whatever you want to call it...it stinks!  So, I'm assuming over time I will progress and get better at painting only to decline in later years.  I don't dwell on it because after all...I may not be here tomorrow!  (lol)

If you've ever struggled to achieve a dream that seemed so far out of reach it would be almost impossible to achieve...or, you've felt like that " little engine that could"...chugging, chugging, chugging uphill always thinking..."I think I can, I think I can..."  Then you know a bit about how the past three years have been for me.

Diving headlong into creating art three years ago (at 58), I've been an obsessed woman!  I've had so much to learn and fortunately because of the Internet and workshop teachers there have been mountains of information to absorb.  I felt I was starting out so many years behind everyone else and to top it all off I began with the most brutal self doubt imaginable.  My inner voice was so so critical of every painting I produced I didn't think I would ever feel confident.  And, because of it, I thought about giving up from time to time too.  I'm glad I didn't.   

My tombstone should have one word on it.... "Persevere" because throughout life that's what I told myself to do when things got tough.  It's SO very easy to stroll through life when things are going ok...but challenges call for perseverance.  So, I've hung in there.

For the remainder of my years I know I will love the artist life and continue to be in hot pursuit of that perfect painting...my masterpiece.  Personally, I doubt I will produce an actual masterpiece but every once in awhile a painting does magically "paints itself" (if your an artist, you know what I mean).  

In three years (and over 390 paintings) it's happened exactly twice.  Today I'm happy to report that the second of those two paintings (Along The Shoreline, above) was awarded Best Of Show in the Pastel Society of the West Coast's (PSWC) general members online competition as well as one of the Top 15% FAV on FASO's Boldbrush competition.  I don't enter competitions very often so this is a big deal for me especially because I've taken a look at the wonderful work submitted by all the other artists.  

I was dumbfounded when I got the call from PSWC and humbled to have my work acknowledged in this way.  I also know to "keep it real"...judging is subjective and another judge or panel of judges would most likely come up with a different winner altogether.  But today, I will enjoy the news because I know tomorrow, I will be in hot pursuit of that masterpiece all over again!!!

10 comments:

  1. You and I are very much alike. My mom and grandma both had dimentia and I do a lot of things to stay mentally sharp. I'm older than you but it sounds like we began our art journey at about the same time. I love this painting and congratulations on the honors!

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    1. I agree Sharon...keeping the mind sharp is a big factor. It's one reason I'm now trying to learn to paint with oils. And, why I do the 30in30s. I also learned to manage our plein air group's website and make a lot of enhancements to it. That task alone really challenged my left brain (ha, don't want a lopsided brain). It's easy to get a little lazy later in life and especially during the winter months! I don't know if it helps in the long run...but it sure can't hurt! Best wishes to you on your journey too!

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  2. Cindy you are a great artist keep on painting my prayers are with you and your family.

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    1. Well thanks so much! Who knows, if I do go down the dementia path...maybe my art will even improve. Ha!

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  3. Congratulations Cindy! This is a beautiful painting and so worthy of the award! Amazing how dedicated you are and how far you have come in a short 3 years.You are an inspiration.

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    1. Diane, thank you so much for your kind words!

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  4. Every year they are publishing the results of new studies that demonstrate how being creative is an effective tool for keeping the mind active and healthy. It is not just art for art's sake anymore; it is for our brain's sake as we all grow older and live longer. Much of who we are, what we become is hereditary, of course, but, oh, how much more is how we live our lives, the decisions we make, the foods we consume, etc. Cindy, you have a wonderful attitude and your progress in your art is not only external (as we all can see and enjoy) but it is internal, too.
    The painting above that won recognition is an amazing combination of technique, flow, color. Congrats!

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    1. Laurelle...thanks so much for your encouraging words...it's certainly been a fun journey!

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  5. You bring up 3 different topics with the slight of hand of a magician. I'm charmed by your musings. If it's ok, I'll give you my take on these..
    1. Age vs time vs health.
    I'm not "young " anymore , either. I've experienced some tragic losses, I never thought could happen. I've awaken to a Dr saying to my SO, "She's not going to live"... I could hear them and not speak. I've cared for my SO'S parents that were Alzheimer, Diabetes, Heart condition, Incontinent souls that passed away just recently. . As did my own Mother. I know my time is limited , not just age tho, from an inoperable tumor. So time is of the essence and still there are days that go by, and not a dream realized...
    Age vs Art.. I began doing pastels and charcoal in my youth, too poor to continue when I became a mom, I've often dreamed of coming back "home" to the art within me. I wrote poetry, played guitat, sang.. but the car accident took all that away. Still.. that art is within me.. I live it, each and every time I view anothers. I know it is still alive and somewhat bittersweet within me. I often just Wish wish wish, I could go off and learn art again. But I'm not financially inclined, as my SO notes..
    Age vs Greatness... I can tell you this, but your heart may not hear it, tho I promise you.. everyone who knows you, hears it.. you already have achieved it. It's there.. it peeps out now and then so that you may bask in it's sunshine.. but it's there. . Truly great artists, know that. They delve into different parts of thrmselves, aware that any moment.. a burst of light. I hope I've not said anything that is wrong. Peace, happiness and great joy in you and your art♡

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    1. My dear "Blue Angel", Your comments have certainly given me cause to pause. And of course be humble and grateful for what I currently have in my life...knowing, that this time too will change for me. I will only add: although time is of the essence, don't worry about not realizing a dream each day that passes. Some days are simply meant to "be". Lord knows I have quite a few days where I haven't realized my potential for that day. Do what you can and look for the simplest blessings in each day...look to the art within a sunrise, or the birds chirping, or spring flowers popping up...those things are the greatest of works we all can enjoy. Pursuing your art can be as basic as pencil on paper. It doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. Some of the greatest art is that of the heart expressed through paper and pen. There are many things I wish I could have done too with my art...schools I could have attended, paintings unpainted. But then everyone in life will have some regrets...we can't re-choose all the different paths we didn't take...only focus on the things we CAN do, the blessings of each day we CAN be thankful for...at least that's what I tell myself.

      It sounds like you have overcome much lately, I appreciate your insight and thank you for your feedback. I'll be thinking of you and praying that you find your own special way of unleashing the artist within you each and every day!! Many blessings Blue Angel!

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