I am a woman, I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, and an artist. I am also a mother. I think a fairly decent one. So often on this blog I joke around and poke fun, almost always at myself, but tonight I am giving maternal advice to all those young artists out there. It is simple. WEAR A MASK! I have touched on this subject a little bit in the past, but tonight I am very serious. I never wore a mask. I sprayed dangerous chemicals indoors. I painted with semi gloss paint with improper ventilation. I have worked in garages, in basements, even in my studio without doing things the right way. I had an infection in my mouth many, many years ago from holding one paintbrush in my mouth while using another in my hand. I have wiped excess paint into my clothing, essentially wearing chemicals, all because I was too involved in the process to think about the consequences. My Dad yelled at me. He was a house painter who had gone through hazmat training. He told me if he ever came in my house again and it smelled of spray paint that he would be really upset with me. Dan has repeatedly warned me for years. Did I listen? No, stupidity and stubbornness rule the day. I didn’t want to stop what I was doing in order to take the correct precautions, now I pay the price. Last night I did a not so great piece of art. Why? Because I felt awful, because I spent the day wheezing. Last night Dan made me laugh as we went to bed and ended up running for the inhaler. I am an extremely intelligent woman who has made some really stupid choices. I have spent the last week with a simple head cold, but for me any illness goes straight to my respiratory system, which by the way wasn’t so great to begin with. I was the victim of cold and damp Chicago winters for many years. I’ve had bronchitis more times than I care to say. I had pneumonia last June. I can no longer be in the same room with a flower that has a strong fragrance. The detergent aisle at the grocery store is an issue. If it seems like I am belaboring my point, I am doing so intentionally, I don’t want anyone else to make my mistakes. I have a passion for art, but I also enjoy breathing (I just can’t go without making at least one semi serious joke). I woke breathless this morning, and struggled on and off through the day. No piece of art ever produced will be worth your health. Learn from me, just consider me your “artistic mom”.
As I said, today was a struggle. I began work on a piece, but as I have often done before I won’t be finishing it until tomorrow. Not enough oxygen slows me down.