Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finding Inspiration

Vivaldi’s Virgins
By Barbara Quick

At best, studio time has been sporadic over these last few weeks as my familial duties ebb and flow.  Although I don't have any worthy images to share with you, I thought that I could share with you a bit of unexpected inspiration.

I have been reading a most stimulating historical fiction by Barbara Quick titled "Vivaldi's Virgins".  I am addicted to art related fiction.  It's a genre in writing that easily sucks me in and keeps me up at night as I obsessively turn pages.  This story recreates for us 18th century Venice thru the eyes of a cloistered orphan and student of Vivaldi, the Red Priest.  Barbara Quick's style of writing immediately set my visual senses a flutter.   There are passages that had me weeping at the brilliance of the idea.  Here is a favorite:

"Are all lives such a complicated puzzle?  Maybe it's only in Venezia - in this place where everyone's role is so striclty and precisely defined - that the cracks between the puzzle pieces tell as much a story as the pieces themselves.  Each piece, seen in isolation, makes no sense at all - a corner of this, a limb of that; a leaf, a shadow, a section of water or sky.   The meaning only becomes clear when all the pieces are fitted together."

I also found an insightful review by Terez Rose that you may read HERE.

Have you found inspiration in writing before?  Do you have a favorite art related fiction to recommend?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Now, I must binge on Vivaldi's beautiful scores as I paint and draw.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Los Angeles Art Show

 Heirloom, oil on panel, 10" x 10"

This painting will be exhibited at this year's Los Angeles Art Show which opens with a Gala Reception on Wednesday January 20th and continues thru January 24th.  Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery has once again put together an impressive collection of work which you can see in person at booth G182.  I am very happy to once again be a part of this fabulous show.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Artist and Mother

Lately, I have had extended conversations with several young aspiring women artists who are most interested in how I manage motherhood with my career. I suppose it’s a valid question, although in my own naiveté, it was not one I thought to consider when I was deciding to pursue a career as an artist. I’m not sure where to start on this one though as it is such a big topic with much potential for controversy. I do have fears of being pegged as one thing or another but, I feel this is an important enough topic to bring up, that my fears are less consequential than the potential benefit this post may have.
As a student, there were several professional women artists teaching at LCAD. Most (if not all?) of them had chosen, long before I became their student, to decidedly NOT have a family. I think this was, at least partially, due to the stigma of not being seen as a professional artist. Betty Shelton, Sharon Allicotti, and Darlene Campbell were all wonderful role models for me on how to become a strong, intelligent, sensitive, and successful woman in a career path that at the time, (and I’ll let other’s decide about the current scene) seemed dominated by male egos. Yet none of these working professional women were raising a family. I was too naïve to see this deficiency.
Now, I am the mother of two young children (5yrs and 3yrs) for whom I choose to stay home with, while maintaining my career as a painter. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It sometimes feels that everything is happening at once. But, I’m not sure I wouldn’t feel the juggling act of life any less without children. It’s just that my concerns are different than they would be without a family. We all have busy lives, with too little time in the day. Right? I also believe that by continuing my painting career, I am a better parent, because I am showing my children how to be a whole, complete and happy adult.
I think it’s very important for me to point out here, that I am not the type of person who thinks everyone should have children. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For me though, I knew it was right. I have always loved children. I very much enjoy seeing their worlds open wide with every minor discovery. I knew I would raise a family and I feel I’m doing a good job in that role. Being an artist has made parenting that much easier because we always have creative outlets to fall back on. What kid doesn’t like making a mess on the dining room table with paint, glue and of course glitter?
I’m not going to lie though. These last, especially, three years have been the hardest of my life. Our little family has had to deal with a series of unfortunate medical and financial issues that has both tested and strengthened us as family. Finding balance has been the key for our survival as a family, as parents and as artists. I am very fortunate to have my husband, who happens to also be an artist. He understands how profoundly important it is for us both to continue our chosen career paths. We often swap family roles so the other parent can get to the studio to work. I don’t think I could be as good an artist, mother or person if I didn’t have the overflowing love and support of my husband. Andrew Wyeth said, “One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.” I think that ‘love’ Wyeth is talking about is as much the love the artist has for her subject and process as well as the love that’s put into the artist from those around her.
I really believe there is nothing in life that should limit your art, and your art shouldn’t limit your life. Meaning, if you WANT to have kids and a career you can. There will be times when there seems to be an imbalance, with one needing more time. But, with hard work, dedication and a clear heart open to both, your life will be full for having both. Your life experiences no matter your choice of family or not, will inform your work. For me, my children have really benefited my work, by giving me a clear vision, optimism and a reason to make this world a bit better.
I hope my words will be comforting to some young artists out there who struggle with the desire for both family and career. It is possible, with patience, balance, love and support. Please feel free to share your stories or comments on the subject.