The Laws of Nature

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Turning Back the Hands of Time



Please excuse my brief lapse in "book reporting," but I've been up to my ears in preparing TWO solo exhibitions for this summer. Matting, framing, labelling, writing artist's statements and price lists, crating .... ugh! My dining room has nearly one hundred paintings crated and ready to go for both exhibitions. No time for reading/writing until a little later.

HOWEVER, I can't resist throwing out a question for all of you to ponder:

If you had the opportunity to "turn back the clock" and return to the time when you first decided to become an artist, what would you do differently? What didn't you attend to, or what path didn't you take that you now wish you had? Can you still do it, or is it too late?

I'll begin by saying that I should have been much more productive in my twenties and thirties. I should have painted more, listened to others less, and actively sought more venues to display my work. Obviously, it's not too late now, but I often wonder where I'd be today if I'd attended to all that more diligently when I was younger.

What about you?

14 comments:

hwfarber said...

I don't think I ever decided to be an artist--I just was. I did not attend to "being me" until I was older; I listened to too many others, also. If I could turn back the clock I would choose to be irresponsible until age 30--I have no shocking stories to tell the grandchildren. I'm working on being less boring but it's a bit late.

I am applauding your having 100 paintings ready to go. Two solo exhibitions in one season is the dream of many artists--and you are there. Enjoy.

r garriott said...

Great question! Wish I'd painted more, especially the things that seemed too outlandish or large. Wish I'd been a better, less ditracted student. Sometimes, not always, wish I'd kept taking classes through the years. Wish I'd developed a thicker skin. Wish I'd listened more and talked less. Wish I'd painted more.

-Don said...

Congrats on having everything ready to go out to TWO shows! Is either within driving distance of me???

As for what I would change... Not much in the early years of college, because I would not have met my wife or had the three children that are the center of my world. However, like R, i wish I'd painted more...earlier on...

Great question. (Christina even said so, as she looked over my shoulder - when she should be working on homework.)

-Don

Sheila said...

TWO SOLO Shows!!! I'm sure if I keep following your blog, I'll have one in about 10 years right?
;o)

Life is filled with coulda, shoulda and wouldas aren't they? What would have happened if I took my cousin's offer to work at his Ad Agency in NY 34 years ago? My insecurity of my artistic ability kept me from taking him up on the offer.

It certainly would have been a different career from what I chose.

I think I should have believed in myself a little more and taken painting lessons much earlier than the ones I took 4 years ago. Then I could perhaps be a 10th as successful as you.

Kathy said...

Hi Hallie - I don't see anything "boring" about you at all!! Anyone with your imagination, wit and sense of humor can't be boring.

Hi "r" - I can identify with your list. The irony of life is that we don't know these things when we're young and have the time and energy. If only we could live life backwards, like Merlin!

Hi Don - the shows are in Maine and New York. I WISH you were within driving distance and then we could finally meet! Great answer to this question - - you obviously took the right course in live because it led you to the family you now have and cherish!

Hi Sheila - but, you took such an interesting course in life that led you to forensic art and, from what I remember, you became successful at it! Imagine how many people you helped!! We artists have little chance to do that, so you've far exceeded any of my own goals.

Margaret Ryall said...

I've often considered how my life would be different if I had studied design out of high school like I wanted to instead of pursuing degrees in education. I just consider it but I think the stability of my first career was important to my psychological development and it gave me the financial stability to comfortably move into art. I've accepted the no art school training. I wish I had actively pursued art from 1973 to 1998. I should have drawn more and painted but instead I thought about and read about it. Those endeavours have supported my development in a totally different way.
I have my fingers crossed to fog lifting today and setting off on my art trip to NY and Boston.

Carolina Moon Arts Studio said...

I don't think i would have done anything different. I believe that all my art experiences have led me to the place that i am now where it is all coming together. Working with you is now making sense of it all, you are filling in the blanks and it has been such an amazing ride!! I can't wait to see what develops next!

Eva said...

I've finally learned in my old age that the biggest waste of time and probably the most emotionally draining was "shoulding" all over myself.I retired not at the top of my abilities, but where I am the most content. I know now that what I fought so hard to win I really didn't want or I would have had it. Two solo at one time blows my mind! I can't imagine what more you could have done to top that.I hope you realize how much you have accomplished and what a wonderful artist you are. Bravo!

Mark Sheeky said...

I'd have started painting at 22 not 32, but that said my meditative 20's were necessary to produce me. My art would have been very different and probably worse if I'd have started earlier. Perhaps then, what I'd have changed is to start at 42... (in 2015!)

Good luck with the shows. I'm sure they'll be huge successes. Two at once sounds like wonderful fun!

Kathy said...

Hi Margaret - it seems that you've made up for the lost time very well! I look forward to meeting you on Wednesday. Happy travels :-)

Hi Carolyn - with your talent and determination, only GREAT things can happen in the future! Keep going ...

HI Eva - you're sooooo right - regrets are a waste of time! Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for the generous compliment. I've never been very good at receiving praise from others, but will work on it.

HI Mark - yes, those ages are critical to artistic development and you've had the good sense to take advantage of them!

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Wow, two solo shows at the same time in two different states? You definitely Rock! Congratulations!
As to the question: I didn't get the idea that I would follow an art career until college even though my dad was an artist. If I could go back I would take more care to try to go to an art specific university and go into a masters program right after my BFA. I would focus on one medium to the exclusion of all others instead of learning everything so I would be "well rounded and have more fun." I would be more serious instead of being happy to just be making art. At the end of the day, I probably wouldn't be any happier than I am now. LOL! But that's what I would do.

Kathy said...

Hi Tonya - my feeling are similar to yours in that I would have achieved greater depth rather than breadth in art at a much younger age. I think it would have served me better, but then - who knows? I've got to work with what I have now without regrets.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

If I could go back, I think I would endeavor to be less suspicious of my own artistic voice.

When do you sleep, Katharine? One hundred paintings ready for two shows--Wow. I hope the shows go very well.

Kathy said...

Hi Elizabeth - your insight is, perhaps, the most important one to me. Trusting our inner voice is essential to being an artist!

For decades, people have asked me "when do you sleep?" In fact, I get enough sleep (6 - 8 hours/night), but when I'm awake I can't stop producing. I LOVE to keep busy because it makes my life more interesting, and (I must admit to a huge character flaw) I become easily bored. Just tryin' to keep it lively :-)