Many years ago I had the kindest mentor. She was a potter in her 70's, a busy and wise woman. One day when we were having tea she commented on the fact that I kept making excuses for not being able to paint. She told me not to make excuses or to apologize for not doing anything in my life, but rather to focus on what I was doing and why I was doing it. She reminded me that even Georgia O'Keeffe didn't always paint - at times because of health reasons and at others to focus on travel - but she never apologized to anyone. This lovely woman also helped me to realize that as humans we always do exactly what we want when we want to...it's just a matter of paying attention to what is most important to us at the time.
I gave her words a lot of thought and began to realize that I had time (one of my biggest excuses), I was just using it differently and so I began to rise early and paint for an hour before getting ready for work as mornings tend to be the most creative times for me. I also began carrying a sketchbook around to capture ideas and for doodling. During the evenings I would draw and read while my husband watched hockey. I also began the habit of carrying books around with me as I love to read and learn.
I continued this pattern when I had my children, creating a space for them in the corner of the basement that I carved out for my studio. And as soon as they were able (which was very young) I began to include them in food preparation (a plastic knife works wonders on mushrooms and strawberries) as well as clean up...we made a game out of it in order to have more creative time together since I was also working outside our home. The biggest thing I had to let go of was perfection...sometimes canned soup was enough for family dinner and when a four year old makes a bed it's not pretty but, boy are they proud. I spent many years in an orthodontist office with my eldest (ten years) and utilized that time to read and draw. To this day I am grateful for her kindness in sharing her wisdom with me as I realized at the time that I may have been more afraid of failure than really of not having enough time. To this day I make time for what is most important to me - my family, learning, community and always art.
AIRdirondack Art Project