I know - for artists, the past few months have been, well, challenging.
Everywhere I looked, or read, or listened, I heard messages about the economic outlook and how my art career was about to change. That my planning, my hard work, those moments when the door seemed to open - had suddenly disappeared in a little poof of dust as the future collapsed.
Back in 2007, when I painted The Empty Room, I was actually thinking about a women involved in a relationship: she is standing on the threshold, but is she leaving an empty relationship, or staring into one? I left that determination up to the viewer, and it is the same determination I use now as I stand on the threshold of the new year.
Am I leaving an empty year, filled with closing galleries, slowing sales, enthusiasm for the work but with few sales?
Am I staring into an empty year, filled with real economic sacrifice and uncertainty?
Or do I see the empty room as one that is open to a wealth of possibility? Filled with new choices, new work, and new opportunity?
No one really knows the future. What we know - what I know - is that I do have control over how I experience the future. There might be some plans that are put on hold. Others might be discarded while new opportunities appear. It's all in how you see it.
We have a choice.
Live on Purpose.
I read once that life doesn’t really get interesting until you know what you want. I would have to amend that statement: life doesn’t really get interesting until you act on what you want. Knowing is passive. It’s a purely intellectual exercise. I know that I like chocolate, but I can only appreciate how much I adore, desire, and would do nearly anything for chocolate by taking a piece of rich Belgium creaminess and letting it melt slowly on my tongue.
Of course, acting has its downside. Since the effort to reinvent your life can be harder than doing things the way you’ve always done them, there’s probably no real reason to risk it. Except for when you look back twenty years from now and wonder why you didn’t.
Have a wonderful 2009
Sue Favinger Smith is a professional artist who began her art career at the age of 50. She writes Ancient Artist: Developing an Art Career After 50, a blog dedicated to empowering artists seeking to reinvent themselves at mid-life. You can subscribe by visiting http://ancientartist.typepad.com.