So, another year ends. That always brings a variety of thoughts and emotions to people. For some it's just another day and for others it's the first day of the rest of their lives (or the first few weeks of effort).
It's been a difficult year for me personally and for the first time (and last) I'll touch on exactly why. Heavy stuff: this is the year I accepted my marriage has ended and the family I fought to give my best to didn't make it through the challenges we've been given. Truthfully, I couldn't have given more of myself or my efforts and upon that realization I hit the wall. I found love had a boundary. We all have a boundary but sometimes we don't know where it sits and we continue on even with the challenges' pains until we find it hurts too much, until it awakens us and forces change.
2017 has been about managing emotions, accepting the end of a passionate marriage spanning one and a half decades and restructuring my life's plan because starting over at midlife wasn't in that plan. I could be angry (and I was for a little while) but I think the best lesson here is sometimes people grow apart and to truly honor the another person and the self is sometimes to set each other free. If you cannot grow together you must grow apart or you will wilt.
Sometimes the best answer is the one we don't want but need. In marital vows we tend to hold on to the romanticism, our history and the commitment's dream of the story rather than face the reality the story truly offers. Life is a twisty-turvy adventure that society manages to fuck up with its straight arrow views. It's all a damn roller coaster ride: life, marriage, family, parenting. Nothing prepared me. And that's the perhaps what makes life so interesting. How boring would the straight path be? Depends on what adventure and life mean to you. Everyone's story is unique but the generalizations are all the same: love, health, finances, spirituality. What did I miss? It's always different than "they" say so listen to yourself and follow your intuition.
Michael and I were a beautiful love story led by passion and intuition and with that I know it was right because it led me to some fantastic experiences; however, unexpectedly we had a time limit and thus this love story turned into one volume on the shelf of my life's library. It took a lot of grief and growth to get to that simplified and elegant sentence. I'm clearing rumors and offering my words on the matter. The unique story is mine and I will not share it perhaps ever, but on the generalizations, I am maritally separated and a divorce is imminent, just like a good number of friends of mine at this stage in their lives. We can view that as a sad mid-life reality or we can view it as an empowering new journey, a gift.
My main focus is raising my youngest child well and to continue evolving as an artist and person. I've honestly struggled to keep focused on the painting this year, very disappointed with how much I didn't do but keep in mind that I did accomplish a lot and I did finish all the art for my Back It Up art show and my exhibition at the Erotic Heritage Museum this summer. Plus, I drove cross country and connected to the beauty and misery of what America is. I'm very grateful I took such a journey (thanks to a great friend who joined me) because it altered some of my views and opened up my mind and I think it helped bring me to a solid place despite an uncertain future ahead. I expect these elements to turn up in my paintings.
This year I managed to keep myself as happy and positive as possible despite the major life changes and I didn't give into the "quit" seductions whispered in my ear by fear itself. Honestly, it's hard to get right back on the saddle of artistic creation when something so big and consuming as a big art show and marriage are over, (that almost deserves a "duh") so we'll see how I regroup and refocus and perform artistically in this new year. I see greatness ahead and I'm happy the holidays are about over so I can focus on what must be done.
So, to continue on a positive note, this is what will keep me going in 2018:
- I've been developing some very awesome art pieces in my mind, a bit different from what I have been doing, much of it dictated by storytelling and the influences Savannah has had on me and I'm feeling very compelled to go there but apprehensive at the same time. These new paintings will challenge my skills because the backgrounds would need detail work. That's usually a big wall for me but I think it's time to climb over it. My cathedral painting that I'm still working on in its grisaille layer and that can be tracked on my Instagram, was an exercise in how I could deal with detail work and keep focused. I'm doing well enough to keep going. I don't love it but it's part of the story so it must be there. The paintings I dream require it.
- Also, I've come to the direction of the new erotica collection. I had several ideas swirling for months and it began falling together - kind of suddenly so I know it's time. I'm excited to see how this paints out. Of course, this means I have to research images. Not sure I can do it. I haven't looked at porn since late spring so it's almost like going back into the muck to find the pearls. ;)
- The work in progress art piece to your left will probably be the first of the new collection. I'm struggling with the peacock feathers but the title "Showtime" feels right. I had hope to have it done by the New Year but that didn't happen so the new timeline is mid January.
- I've been looking at the calendar trying to see when I can realistically put seven to ten paintings together for a local show unless I reach for something bigger, which feels daunting actually. I'm months off track for this already. There's no real hurry but there's momentum and when that's lost it's extra difficult to step back up into it so I'm looking to set some ambitious yet realistic deadlines to keep myself going. I know the moment I choose a date, I'm committed and you know what that feels like, don't you? Commitment? It's when the adrenaline hits.
I haven't made any resolutions other than "Do what must be done and do it everyday". As a goal oriented person, I'm always making new "resolutions" and modifying them through the year. I am always aware where I am on my journey. What must be done is different than last year or the year before. What must be done will be done and the results have to show it and that's what you will see. End of story.
I'm wishing you all a wonderful New Year and all the good things life can bring. I'm moving forward into a new mindset this year which is both frightening and exhilarating and I welcome you to follow along in this new stage in my life because I think I'm going to some good places. I'm stepping it up mostly because I cut my own strings, found self love and got into the driver's seat of my own life not just the car. Through that view, 2017 has been very successful indeed. Perspective is everything and perspective is what we can control. May you control yours and thus yourself.
A very Happy New Year to you!