Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When We're Fragile

Yes, I know, I know: Long time, no see. No excuses. Just an explanation:

First, I have been working, making new art and finishing old pieces that are lingering in my studio. I currently have 6(!) works in progress within view. (I read books the same way - several novels, audio books, short stories at the same time.)

Second, I have been ruminating on some big decisions regarding my work. Here are just some:
  • Should I branch out and show some other work NOT done in colored pencil?
  • Is it time to switch media to more oil (i.e., more money)?
  • Should I stay in my art coop or is it time to move on?
  • Should I attempt to show my work at other galleries?
  • While wanting to teach colored pencil and drawing classes, how will it negatively eat away at my studio time (which is SO precious).
  • What other avenues are available to me as an artist?

Those are just a few things mulling over in my head - constantly. Yes, I could probably do all of the above; but I want to do whatever I choose very, very well. (Oh, the curse of the Virgo perfectionist!) And, how will I do all of these things while juggling many, many other family responsibilities. (Unlike Maggie Stiefvater, whom I admire SO much, I am not the Queen of the World or Super Girl; I know my mortal limitations.)

So you see, I have been pondering some big changes and that brings up number 3.

Third, whenever I am faced with big changes (the biggest for me is leaving the co-op), I can spiral into the abyss of depression. Long family history topped with the fragile ego of a creative spirit is a legacy I have dealt with for all of my adult life. It is a fact of my life, albeit a sometimes shameful one (why do we continue to perpetuate this!), and I know will probably never just disappear. So, once in a while I "go under" and eventually emerge.

So here I am emerging.

This drawing I just completed last night and it suits my current mood perfectly: intact but fragile. Here is "Fragile Hold", colored pencil on 8 x 10 Ampersand pastel board.


Deborah Ross said...

This painting is simply beautiful, it takes my breath away. I hear you. I, too, am considering making big changes ( branching out to other galleries, changing my medium, and the relevance of my art to my true concerns about our world). And guess what, I'm a Virgo also! I'm sure whatever you decide will go well for you, because you are so talented.

Serena said...

Great to see you back, Rhonda! I was only wondering a couple of days ago why I hadn't been notified of any of your updates for a while. I'm glad you're okay albeit a little fragile.

A beautiful drawing! You are a master of coloured pencils.

I can understand your considerations as I have faced them myself numerous times. It's a constant juggle for me to create art when I'm on my own with four kids still at home, daily family distractions, teaching two classes a week and household duties. I'm trying to paint more at night even though I prefer day time. I'm not a night owl and find myself yawning and feeling tired the moment 10 o'clock hits. I have found that teaching two classes a week is manageable but still cuts precious time away from my own art. I used to do three classes a week (one at another studio) but cancelled the latter as I was getting no art of my own done. I seemed to being doing constant prep work for student classes and it became quite stressful for me. I have become tougher in that area and make the students do their own prep work now. That said, teaching is a guaranteed income each week so that has to be a positive.

I have noticed a few blogs lately talking of a slump in their art sales and the general consensus suggests it's because of inflation and higher costs of living. Art is seen as a luxury that is harder for people to afford in the current financial climate. So artists are talking of painting smaller, selling prints and/or creating more affordable pieces.

I think galleries would LOVE your work so it's definitely worth looking into that avenue.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Rhonda, I feel your pain as a previous president once said (only I mean it :D) You really have to attack just the things you're passionate about, otherwise you'll come to resent them.

Your dandelion is gorgeous and I got to see your musicians in person in Bethesda. One of the best pieces there.

Marsha Robinett said...

Rhonda, good to see you again. I, too have wondered if you were doing OK. I think we all reach these moments in our lives. I know I ponder all the same questions. My main venue is art fairs and commissions. I don't have family responsibilities but I do still have a regular job, and this interferes with my art time.

I agree with Serena, teaching is good's fitting it into my schedule that is difficult. Have you considered making a tutorial DVD? I've been looking into trying this...possibly more mileage for your efforts.

You know Rhonda you can move on without giving up where you're at...I've done that before and found that some things just fall away, leaving room for your new passions.

I think to be a successful artist today one has to be creative also in creating a venue, and to be happy with ourselves we must follow our passions. Life is short.

Quilt Knit said...

H! Wow! I thought a lot of thinks Rhonda, while you gone. I think you have had a very overly exciting and trauma awakening time in the last year. A son in the military, no easy acceptance, when a Child, so young, says this is me and does what you may not have wanted. Mom's and Dad's have to embrase the those changes. Then your Bolivian trip to the orphanage.
Lots to think about, in so short a time.
I would not leave anything if it is going to make you feel - as if you are loosing - a grand part of yourself.
I think you should pursue the other areas. Just go slowly and enjoy the world as the revolving resolutions of Our lives come to Us.
I cannot tell you how glad I am to see your work again. Love the Dandelion.
((( Circle of His Angels of comfort)))

Sherrie Roberts