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The Long View


30 paintings in 30 days challenge day 11

Mixed Media on Paper, Kelly Anne Powers[/caption] I’m bad at the long view. Aren’t we all. It’s easy for me to look at what’s underneath my hands today and say, “This is crap. I am crap,” and forget that this isn’t about accomplishing something this afternoon. Or even tomorrow. It’s about a lifetime devotion to art.

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and if you haven’t read it yet, I strongly strongly recommend it. A writer friend gave it to me, and it’s one of those books where you’ll want your own copy so that you can mark it up and highlight aplenty. There’s such great truth around every corner.

Gilbert made a vow to her writing at a young age. She declared that it didn’t matter if she was ever published, that she would spend her life writing. What liberation. So sure, she felt the ups and downs of successes and rejection but what kept her through it all was her devotion to the craft. That above all else.  

Artist Donna Zagotta recently wrote about her long view on her blogShe says that forty-five years ago she thought that she’d teach herself to paint once she retired. But instead of waiting until retirement, she started to learn to paint. Since that decision, she’s developed an incredible style and taught a whole generation of artists in her national workshops. She’s an amazing person and an amazing artist. And it took 45 years to get where she is today.

January marks the beginning of month six for me as a full time artist. Compared to Gilbert and Zagotta, I am a spring chicken. Not even a spring chicken. My shell is still being formed inside my mother hen. I have to remember that, slow down, and enjoy the process. Because I’m realizing that I’m in this for the long haul. Art is now a deep part of me, and it’s something that I’ll be doing for as long as I live.

Gilbert writes, “What you produce is not necessarily always sacred...just because you think it’s sacred. What is sacred is the time that you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life.”


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