Using The Gift

I never quite understand people who,because they have a particular talent believe themselves to be better than others. I have a gift, an artistic one, but so do millions of others. I have often said, “Sure I can draw, paint, cook, do pretty much anything creative, but the laundry list of what I can’t do is ten times longer. There are those who can dance and sing, talents that I would love to have. I am sorely lacking in the coordination department, which essentially cuts out pretty much any athletic prowess. I bring this up for a number of reasons. I have had people suddenly become interested in being my friend because they see what I can do, and trust me, I can spot those ones a mile away. I have had more than my fair share of snide comments from other women who see my abilities as competition. I don’t feel that way about things that other people are good at. I admire what others can achieve. I will admit to having a little “hair envy”, basically mine sucks and always has. These days, much to Dan’s amusement I comment on how nice other women’s knees look. (If you saw mine you’d understand..six surgeries have done some damage) Do I wish I were thinner,richer, or more accomplished? Sure I do, I’m human, but I am more of the mind-set that when someone else looks better, or does something better or different from what I do, I applaud them. I had the conversation that I wrote about earlier in the week, the one that took a swipe at my self-esteem. Then yesterday I saw a neighbor, a woman who I at one time considered a friend. I did a lot for her. I foolishly gave and gave of my artistic self, doing things for her and her kids. She turned into one of the women who made the snide remarks. I’ve been accused of “showing off”, all because I made a beautiful dish to bring to a neighborhood gathering, or gave a hand painted piece of furniture as a gift to a neighborhood child. (Believe me, I was invited to the party for every kid on the street) My point, the reason I write all of this, is that I don’t show off. I never think I am better than anyone else, and I shouldn’t let someone else who has a ridiculous issue about me, (envy) to cloud my thinking, to get in the way of my art. I have given myself a stern talking to, and have had encouragement from a number of people in regards to that post.

Back to the “gift”. The best thing about having the ability to do everything I can do is that I can create something special for people I care about. I have a very dear friend in the midst of a horrible problem. She means the world to me, and other than letting her know that I am here for a shoulder to cry on, there isn’t much I can do to help her situation. We are good friends because we are much the same, nice, decent, thoughtful women. We accept each other, we share our lives, we support each other. We love our husbands and our children. We joke that we get along so well because we are both middle children. She is one of the finest people I have ever known. I can’t fix what is happening in her life, but I can use what I have, my artistic gift, to let her know that she is loved and thought about. So tonight I decided to make my project for her. She will be mad at me, she says I give her too much, but she is wrong. She has given me through her friendship more than I can ever repay. She loves pears. To eat, to wear, (her favorite pear sweater), she has pears all around her house, I think she needs one more. I raved about the wood burning and the pearl paint when I did the table. I’ve been anxious to try something else. I have some scrap wood in the garage, so I drew a quick sketch of some pears, and pear flowers, and grabbed the wood burner. I have barely begun to paint it, but it is late, so I will post part of the started project. I know my friend will read this, she is so very supportive of what I am doing, so I don’t want her to see it all yet.

In addition to tonight’s post is a quick pen sketch. I had a lovely day in the vineyards with Dan. As we sat on the terrace of one of the wineries I drew the scene in front of me. I have photos of this same location and think it just might need to become the inspiration for a painting.leoness photo

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I Am An Artist

The sun is still out. Although it’s after seven, I am so happy with myself for taking some time today to really work. I finished a piece of art today because I wanted to, and not because bedtime was looming and I still hadn’t produced for my blog project. It is a pastel and pencil drawing.Image

 

As always I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started. I looked around my studio and at some photos that I had either taken myself, or at some time in the past clipped from a magazine for the “to do” pile. There are a lot of pictures in that pile, I’m ashamed to say how many. I took more than two thousand photos in Paris in 2009, that makes up most of the pile. I reassured myself continually that I would some day “work”. Setting aside ideas made the illusion seem that much more real. As long as I had projects for the future it meant I wasn’t giving up on myself, when in fact I had given up a long time ago. That again is another source of pain for me. When I think of the countless hours I spent organizing my photos, my supplies, and rearranging my studio, I could cry. All it was was a way to avoid the reality of not being good enough. Money spent, not wasted so to speak because the supplies are all still there waiting to be used, but I honestly have enough “stuff” to fill three lifetimes. I was playing at being an artist. Doing a project here and there so I could lay claim to the title because it was the only part of me that I hadn’t given to my family. I stopped working a time-clock job in 1994, I did a few murals in Chicago, did more than my share of craft shows, and even entered a painting that was accepted into a museum show here in town. The reality is I gave all of me to my husband and children. Do I have regrets? Yes, but none having to do with time I gave them, but for the hours lost when Dan was at work and the kids were in school when I could have given myself permission to be more than “mom” or “wife”. Instead I felt guilty of every moment I gave myself. Days were spent cleaning, rearranging, making things as special as I could for them. They all have nightmare memories of craft shows, when the night before they were frantically helping me to finish things because I hadn’t given myself the time. I’m sure more than a few people wondered how many strip clubs my husband went to, he was covered in glitter for days. And at the shows I found myself being approached by people asking me why I was there, telling me my work was too good. I didn’t have enough faith in myself to believe it.

I have written here before and will write it again and again until I believe it. I am an artist.