July 7, 2018
Years go by far more rapidly than I imagined they would. The last twenty years feel more like only five have passed. I was fortunate to be in touch with my passions as a child. I loved plants, math, science and using tools. I loved creating three-dimensional forms and looking at three dimensional forms change as i walked around them and as the light hit them from different angles. I didn’t really like looking at art except in beautifully illustrated children’s books. I fell in love with black and white photography in my early teens. I didn’t really like looking at paintings until I was in my twenties. I didn’t like drawing at all because I had absolutely no skills in drawing. That, however, was a blessing. Perhaps what I loved most throughout my life is being challenged and I have always been challenged by drawing and painting. I continue to be challenged. Now, however, I love every moment of both painting and drawing, even when it isn’t going well. Why? Because when I am drawing or painting I am totally present in my own moment. I feel alive and connected with whatever it is that causes my heart to beat, my palms to sweat, my mouth to smile and my curiosity to be tickled.
The idea of having lived my life backwards intrigues me. I believe that my first major solo exhibit was a retrospective! Hmmmmm. Since then I’ve had numerous solo exhibits of exciting new work and exploring the next stage of my development. The older I get (soon to be sixty -seven) the freer I feel. Why? Because I’m past the stage where I can ask myself “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The truth is, one is always being whatever one is, at all times, at all ages. For me, the costume of identity I found myself dressed in didn’t feel like the person I wanted to be. I played life somewhat within the safety zone. I don’t think my parents or my friends saw it that way, but I certainly did. I held back so much of what I thought, what I felt, and the vision of the life I imagined for myself.
Now, I am two thirds through my life span. No time to waste. No more time to wait to live the life of the person I imagine myself to be, the person I always dreamt I would become. No more time to keep my heartfelt thoughts and visions to myself, keeping them safe from criticism and judgement. It is now, as it has always been, the Time to Live Fearlessly!
Being past the age of sixty gives me remarkable freedom. I can dress any way I want. I can behave almost any way I want. People will not shake their heads and say I will never amount to anything. Instead, I’m considered an eccentric old lady, an oddity, an adventurer, a bit crazy, perhaps careless, perhaps foolish to do such things as painting while paragliding at such an age that I risk breaking by bones, especially since I already have a hip replacement. Hogwash! It’s the best time to do these things. My children no longer depend on me to cook them dinner and buy them clothing. I am past the point of building a strong resumé of accomplishments and awards that don’t really speak of who I am, what I do and what it is that I give to the people I connect with in my life.
Now to the point of this blog post … I was distracted with my train of thought.
I often tell my students and artist friends that I find drawing and painting meditative. The meditative state is sometimes misunderstood. As I draw, especially when I am in the zone, I am often in two states simultaneously. I’ve been asked what I think about as I am drawing or painting. For me, the meditative state I enjoy most is when I’m focused on watching how my marks are transforming the work I am doing, the new decisions I make as the work demands changes in values, shapes and hues, the energy of my environment as I am working, and the thoughts that wander through my headspace that may or may not be directly related to what I’m working on whether it be realistic or intuitive and abstract.
As I went back into the Sweet Pea Second Generation Dala Art drawing I began yesterday, I was thinking about what I might do with one of the typewriters I will be sketching at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in a week or two. My heart pounded, my brain kicked into a state of excited anticipation and I felt amazingly alive and inspired. If I concerned myself with how anyone else might view such a thought, the inspiration would instantly dissolve and my heart would feel heavy. This time in my life is such a blessing. I hope others will embrace this opportunity to see every moment as the perfect Time to Live Fearlessly!