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Sunday, February 27, 2011

A New Week; A New Day

I woke up this morning out of my funk. As I glanced around my bathroom, I saw outside the window the photo of winter I'll use to paint this God awful season this summer. I've seen it every morning these past dreary months of more snow than we've ever had in my memory, but was too blinded by the doldrums. I got my camera. The painting will need more white and I'll play up the touches of burgundy, but it will have the same busyness as the other three paintings in the series. Plus this scene says how I have felt since the snows began--dark and gloomy.

What a week this was. I was back to work,but not happy about it. When work was scarce, I filled the time painting and blogging. I liked that--better than my real job. I could have continued on doing just that. Now this interruption of my good time. I resented having to set those activities aside to make money--even though that job supports my habit as Honey so clearly pointed out. Conflicted, I was a grizzly bear.

This morning the bear was gone. Maybe he slipped away while I arranged the gerber daisies I picked up at the market yesterday? Maybe he slipped away when I accepted I had to re-balance my time? No longer could I split it between painting and writing. Now I had to split it once again between designing interior spaces and painting. The balance in my life had shifted over the last couple of weeks to another kind and the shift made me uneasy, antsy, totally unhappy.

Balance is important to me. Focusing on one activity has never made me happy. It's made me feel confined. I need a couple of things going on that call for different approaches, different parts of the brain at work--add those to normal day-to-day activities and my world is in sinc.

But I have a hitch. I am ambitious. Ambition and balance do not go hand-in-hand. When you have a number of things you like to do to keep yourself balanced, you're not going to be a star in any one of them, just pretty good--hopefully pretty damn good, but never great--see, there it is plain as the words on this page. And every now and then, I crave fame, albeit recognition. Recognition came for me Friday when my client finally understood the logic behind my space design and it made sense to her. She saw the functionality and the safety in the design and realized in a work space function and safety should take precedence, then comes aesthetics. Maybe it was that breakthrough that lifted my spirits?

After I do a quicky watercolour of my gerber daisies from life and a little serious painting, I think I'm going to reread Ambition, The Secret Passion by Joseph Epstein; A Wide Ranging Look At Changing Attitudes About Achievement in America.
I read it years ago (1980) when I first recognized this drive I have and disliked what it did to me. Have a lovely week. Don't take yourselves too seriously please. And, as Sadami likes to say, Cheers.


  1. Is that your living room Linda, I LOVE it!!! I love peaking into other blogger's lives... in a non-creepy way of course :-)

    I agree with everything you said about balance. It's very important.

  2. What a wise and wonderful post about topics balance, accomodation, dissatisfaction, creativity that touch us all. It is perhaps like straddling a wire from your the stark, messy reality of your first photograph to the light, order, color and calm of your other photographs.

    Sometimes we seem to get stuck on one end or other of the wire and lose all memory of our accomplishments on the other.

    Your living space is so attractive!

  3. I see all the errors and typos in my comment. Hope you can make sense of it - apologies. Time to s l o w d o w n . . .

  4. Thanks Agnes. Thanks Bonnie. Given my moodiness, I have to surround myself with color; it stops me short of the pits. And Bonnie, if anything is life itself, it's typos, hiccups and trip-ups, they are what makes perfect, perfect and joy so joyous.

  5. My Buddhist brother occasionally (more often than I wish) chides me not to follow too closely the path of ambition. Unlike his sister, he is neither a painter nor poet. I desire more than anything to connect with viewers and readers through my vision, my interpretations. It's all agonies when no one notices. But you are right, fame requires total dedication and I think tolerance for an unbalanced life. Like you I have too many interests, too many ways of seeing and a great need to explore and experience variety in order to have a satisfying emotional life.

    Thank you for a thoughtful article on this Sunday evening.


  6. Garden Groans, I'm so glad I'm not alone in seeing things in many ways. Different subjects seem to call for different approaches--styles. I've thought so my whole life. I never really could understand how other artists just painted everything in the same fashion. I figured they painted something some way, somebody liked it--many be a lot of people liked it, so they kept painting everything that way, why mess with success? When that happens, I think making art then becomes a job, the fun goes out of it, because now the painter is in business. This is an interesting topic for discussion.