Fighting Disillusionment

Disillusionment with everything, really. Politics, the economy, the art market, humanity's appreciation of art and artists, the community in which I live, jobs, money, savings, travel, myself, my career, my interests, my options.

There was an article published this month in the New York Times called Maybe It's Time For Plan C about independent business owners and artisans experiencing the downsides of pursuing their dreams.

To say the least, it was disheartening.

I took a bit more time off from painting than I intended to. I spent time reading, thinking, exploring new/old hobbies, pursuing interesting avenues to augment my business. During this time I began to wonder... Am I even doing the right thing? In general? In life?

Will I one day be sitting in a pile of broken canvas after some inevitable apocalypse wishing I'd spent less time thinking about my art business and more time learning to fish, to garden, to (God-forbid) sew?

Okay, maybe not. I'm not banking on inevitable apocalypses. Yet.

Ultimately, I love what I do and I do it because I'm good at it, dammit. These are my skills, and that's what I'm offering to the world, and you know what? I keep discovering that I have more skills than I thought. My definition of "artist" continues to expand, and that excites me. It involves so much more than paint. Regardless of what one might think of my art, I'm good at being an artist.

And I don't just want to be good at it, I want to be unearthly badass at it. This might take me the rest of my life, of course. Which means, counting backwards, I had better be on my way this very second.

Here's where the kicker really happens: I know that I am on my way. I know this because I'm working towards something. I know this because I'm pursuing it wholeheartedly. I get up early, I do never-ending "business things," I paint, I write, I plan, I dream, I even freaking make videos now, I work, I work, I work. All. Day. Long. Even when I take time off, I work. I'm constantly pursuing more work. I'm always trying to add more in my life, not less.

Most importantly, I know I'm on my way because I can see a distinct and measurable difference in my life over the last 10 years. 

Hell, that's even true exponentially over the last 5 years.

.forward motion.

I just have to stay pointed in that direction. One foot in front of the other. Always.

I have no interest in "retirement." I am not looking for a scheme by which to get rich so that I can stop doing the very things I was born to do. I am not going to let my life pass by in a series of intentions and promises.

I've started painting again. I've almost finished a new piece. I'm about to start three more.

The fog is lifting.



You know you are exactly where you are supposed to be, right now.

Mercury has been retro-grade all month long, which is a lovely time to go backwards, to do some retro-active thinking, deleting, rearranging, shuffling. A time to go back and do what we want, how we want. We always come back inspired, well rested, and refreshed with a new view.


Shayla Maddox said...

All week I've been feeling gradually better and my head has cleared up and I've had more energy. Today I've been running around like crazy, filled with ideas, starting new projects, feeling all inspired.

Finally. :)

emily said...

Oh, Shayla...I Love, love your paintings. Without question, they make my home...mine. Peaceful, good, happy, irreverent, mystical. Our home - mine and London's. They create the most incredible atmosphere. I love them.

Things are so screwed up, I know. So many people unemployed, underemployed, war war and more war and that fake-grassroots fascist cult brought to you by the Koch brothers poisoning everything they touch...

And personally. You know how art is a priority for me but with my stocks cratering and paying out of pocket for Leeloo's chemo...things are hard right now.

But you are you, and you're awesome and amazing. You have a brilliant future.

And me, too. So my damn stocks cratered. I have London and he's the sweetest two yesr old there ever could be. College for him and retirement for me are a looong time off. We'll be alright.

And I'm still on a quest to fill every room with your art.


Shayla Maddox said...

Aw, thanks, Em. :)

It wasn't specifically related to you or anyone, it was more just an overall mood I fell into.

Actually I think it's mostly that after Joey being sick for so long and finally passing on, my show, my car accident, my trip to Japan, my house flooding, and the 5-6 commissions I busted out after all that, I shut down a bit. I felt so exhausted. And I don't like allowing myself to relax or rest (I don't like to admit anything has "beaten" me) so I just pushed myself into a brain fog.

You know, that or Mercury being in retrograde. :)

Either way, I've been feeling great this week. I've even been working out every day because I have so much excess energy. And I have SO many ideas now that the biggest problem is deciding where to put my focus.

Suddenly I feel like doing EVERYTHING. ;)


emily said...

Well, then...if I can help by sending along some new running shoes, just say the word :)


Shayla Maddox said...

Haha, will do. I have definitely been using them! :D