Kokopelli Conga

Kokopelli Conga
"A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art." --Paul Cezanne

March 1, 2015

Creativity while dealing with life's curve balls

The last year and a half have been a challenge for our family and, in particular, the last nine months have taken much of my attention as Mom. Our youngest son was diagnosed Anxiety, causing ODD behaviors last June. We have been in therapy with him since that time. Weekly at first, then every two weeks, then three, then every six weeks - until yesterday - our most recent therapy session. Apparently we have "graduated" and that will be our last session (unless we have a major resurgence of problems). Admittedly, I am a little nervous going it alone, but the the therapist seems to have confidence in my skills to assess the situations and adapt our approach to his behavior in order to achieve positive results. I think child therapy sessions would really be more aptly named "parenting therapy." We have learned some great tools and techniques to help us better communicate with our little one as well as improve behavior and cooperation. But, there are always setbacks and weeks that are challenging. It's at those times that I have to take a step back and remind myself of how far we have come compared to where we started, say a prayer for some additional help and guidance from my Heavenly Father, and continue to plunge ahead and do my best.

I recently posted a blog entry called Recharging my Art Batteries wherein I mentioned the many hats we wear as artists, adults, and as parents. My "Mom" hat is the most important hat I wear. It is the role I cherish most, and the role that is the most most tiring, frustrating, and demanding. But also the role that is most rewarding. Frequently in the last nine months I have had to take my "Artist" hat off because there has only been room for the "Mom" hat, and that has been hard in some ways. 

I haven't created as much art as I would have liked to make in the past year. I haven't had the time to pursue my personal goals and dreams in that arena, nor have I been in a position where I can make time. Because, let's face it, when you are a parent, spouse, volunteering at your child's school, volunteering at church, and working full-time outside the home (not as a full-time artist), any time you "find" to paint is actually time you make. In my case, I will often choose lack of sleep in order to paint. But I can't do that all the time. Sadly...I'm not 20 years old anymore and my body doesn't handle  "all-nighters" without consequence! :)

However, as my previous post points out, I have tried to keep myself surrounded by the art world in other ways: by accepting a Board position with the Utah Watercolor Society, attending meetings and workshops when I can, and by just keeping in touch with my artist friends. I follow an artist mentorship online. I read art blogs and Facebook posts. I read art magazines. And now, as our family life has begun to improve, I am trying to carve out those days where I can make time for my art again.  

So, how can you be creative while dealing with life's curve balls? Well, for me, I am still working my way towards creating a regular weekly painting schedule. In the meantime, I am trying to carve out small chunks of time: 2-3 hours here and there - often late nights, and I make small paintings. Small is better than nothing! It gets the creative juices going! It reminds me of why I love to paint and why I choose to paint. 

I picked up my pencil and brushes a few weeks ago and was able to complete two more book illustrations. (It was one of my late nights...and then I got bronchitis two days later. Setback for another week!)

Additionally, after several months' hiatus from the contest, I got back in the Nibblefest saddle this month with the theme of "Black and White," and was able to create another butterfly painting for my ongoing series. This painting was up for auction for a week on eBay. :) To my pleasant surprise, the winning bidder turned out to be a dear friend of mine who now lives in Maryland. I was very happy to ship it off to him this weekend and hope he and his partner enjoy it for many years to come.

In the meantime, my brain has been buzzing with ideas for new, larger paintings, and I still have eight illustrations left to complete. 

How do I hold on to creativity while dealing with the unexpected in my life? One little painting at a time! It may not be as much or as large as I want, but I feel that every little work of art completed gets me one little step closer to my goals. :)

Here is my first new (non-book illustration) painting for this year...and I'm looking forward to making more time to create in the next 10 months!

"Flying Into Black" ©Jennifer Love

How do you hold on to your creativity through unexpected problems? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Have a good week! As always, thanks for stopping by!

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