16 July 2010

Making art vs. ...

Therapists are tricky little buggers.

I don't intend to go to therapy last night to talk about being an artist, but somehow that's exactly what happens during my session.


Through a series of conversational and therapeutic twists and turns somehow I end up "claiming my artist self."


And committing to submitting a piece of my artwork to a show (any show) by the end of this year.


How the heck did this happen???

It's that tricky therapist of mine.

Oh, she's a wily one alright!

Darn her.

The thing is that I know this is probably good for me. But it's also scary.

I haven't exhibited a piece of artwork in a show in more than 20 years!

This is probably how I let myself get railroaded into this situation...by mentioning that in therapy. And by talking about the fact that often I don't think of myself as an artist. It's always been a kind of "making art vs. being an artist" situation for me.

I mostly think of myself and refer to myself as "someone who makes art" rather than "an artist."

For many years in my twenties and early thirties I don't even pick up a paint brush or make a place for myself to make art in my home. Art becomes something that I look at and think about, but in which I never engage.

Then in 2001, my maternal grandmother (my last biological grandparent) passes away and my mother and I meet in Florida to lay my grandmother to rest and to clean out her home. During this time, my husband apparently decides that I am much too sad, that it's been long enough since I have made art and that he is going to change all of that right quick. When I return home Chris surprises me with an antique drafting table, new chair (which Annabel immediately claims as her own...) and art supplies - all set up in a nook in our office.

What a kind and generous man I married.

Lucky me.

In the succeeding years, I've added significantly to the original set of supplies and used that drafting table on and off. Some years very on and other years - depending upon what's happening in my life - very off. But it's always there waiting for me. And Chris is always. always supportive of any time that I spend away from him while being creative.

Since the flood, we've re-done our basement and I claim our former finished storage room as my own. I mean I kind of ask Chris if it would be all right for me to use that room as a studio, but it's really more like I kind of - um - er - inform him that we'll be clearing out that room so I can use it as a studio.

"Sooooo, what would you think..." I say to Chris, "about me moving my drafting table down to the storage room and using it as a studio?" [Interpreted...this means "I've already thought this through and this is what we're doing"]

No hesitation from Chris as he replies, "I think that's a great idea."

Best husband EVER.

So suddenly I actually have a dedicated space where I can create.

My studio.


A real studio space just for me where I can be creative. Not in our office. Not in a corner of the guest room. My very own room. It feels very decadent and I know it's going to be kind of a pain in the ass to get rid of all of the stuff we have down there in storage (and it IS a huge pain in the ass), but I can live with that.

Today all of my supplies still need to be organized, but the furniture - including the beautiful antique drafting table that my very thoughtful and generous husband bought for me so many years ago - is in place and ready for use.

So, somehow all of this comes up in therapy and suddenly I find myself "claiming my artist self" and committing to this show.


Still, I guess this isn't such a terrible thing. Because the truth is that even though I might not have the confidence in myself to say that I'm an artist, I am truly at my happiest when I'm at my drafting table being creative. And this commitment will certainly force me to get to it.

So, Universe, bring on a show for me!

(Darn therapist...)

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