Like many of you, my year has been filled with successes and also some setbacks.
One of the upsides to my setbacks is that I have a lot more time on my hands and my life is more in balance. A balanced life is supposedly a good thing. But in the U.S., being “too busy” is a point of pride, a dysfunctional way in which we feel we are important, that we are “getting somewhere”, that we are “making progress”, that we are relevant. For many of us, being overworked and under rested is a status symbol. It gives us the illusion of success.
I'm not a person who makes New Year's resolutions, but each year at this time I do take stock of the year that was, and set intentions for the year to come. So as the old year turns and the new year dawns, I am asking myself what “success” means to me and what does it look like?
Since I do not need to make a living from my art, I have the latitude to define success anyway I like. But this fortunate circumstance creates its own pitfall.
My friend Kelly Williams often asks; “what is your fear?” Mine is to be considered a dilettante.
1 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge : dabbler
My great fear is that I will not be taken seriously as an artist. This translates into a vague array of circumstances that I desire; a certain number of galleries, a certain number of shows, a certain number of sales. Ambitions that are vague and unconsidered have a funny way of driving me in ways that are often unsustainable and inappropriate to my more healthy desires and actual circumstances. So I am taking some time to evaluate my desires and create appropriate goals.
Will I actively search for more representation, or is that appropriate to my artistic output? Will I develop a technique that is quicker and less laborious, or is my slow pace of artmaking something I can indulge in, and simply adjust my expectations to be in line with it? Shall I go back into the intaglio printmaking I dipped my toe into last spring? What if I were to branch out further into woodblock printing? How would more printmaking affect my connection to my audience? Would it make my art more accessible?
These are some of the possibilities I have rambling around in my head. I am so grateful that I have the blessing and the luxury of being able to fulfill my life dream of being an artist. I look forward to sharing with you the paths I take, where it leads me and the art that results from it all.