December 11, 2016
For the past six months I’ve been shuffling the cards of my life, past, present and future. This morning, I stood gazing at the three oil paintings hanging on Kathleen’s wall outside of my South Portland bedroom.
Kathleen and I have been friends since the age of two. She has, perhaps, the largest and most comprehensive collection of my work, chronicling both the growth and blunders of my journey as an artist. Two to three times a year, for the past three years, I have passed this wall of the Egan Cove Gallery walking from my bedroom to the bathroom. I’m reminded of my roots as an artist and nudged to return to them and nourish them in a way I’ve neglected.
copy of a painting by Vuillard – oil painting, 1976
oil painting inspired by Sarah Moon’s photograph in the Pirelli Calendar – 1978
en plein air oil painting – Portland Maine 1975
For the past year I have struggled with the direction of my life. I’ve been frustrated by my diminished growth as an artist as the business of art demanded more and more of my time without rewarding me with sufficient financial reward for the invested time. I began shuffling my unique deck of cards, one comprised of my skills, goals and personal dreams that encompassed not only my life as an artist but as a mother, friend, mate and teacher, too. I needed to deal myself a new hand and play that new hand, even if I had to bluff, as if my life depended on it. Because … my life does depend on it.
The lives of those I love, depends on how I play that hand. When I get up from the table, I want to do more than just break even. Just breaking even keeps me in the game of art, but it doesn’t allow me to grow as an artist, to become a much stronger painter, to touch more people’s lives and inspire them to keep pushing the limits of how they see the world around them.
I have been given the go ahead on a commissioned oil painting. Such perfect timing. When I return home on Wednesday I will return to my roots and squeeze out the oil paints. Two weeks ago I attended a life-changing seminar. I stopped shuffling the cards. Last night, inspired by the Barroom Messiah event at Blue Jazz Club in Portland, Maine, I finally dealt the cards and now I’m ready to play. My strategy is totally new and feels foreign to me. I’m excited. If the strategy felt the same I would know that my direction would bring me to the same end.
The workshops I will be teaching will be fewer. I will be growing stronger and have more to offer when teach the three or four that I will continue to offer. My experience teaching in Wales is the kind of experience I am looking for in a workshop. I will not be crossing Wales off my list.
If you have read this far, I thank you for indulging me in my card-playing analogy. I grew up in a family that is obsessed with playing games and I learn better through playing games. By inventing the Color Scheme Game in order to understand how to apply color theory, I learned a skill that threw open the doors to a joy of color I never imagined possible. My hope is that by playing Life Poker, I will do the same, throwing open the door to becoming the artist I know is inside of me.