I find it doesn't quite fit to use the word "artist" to describe myself these days. I closed my beautiful gallery during Covid and did not reopen. I am moving to a home studio after 23 years of renting studio spaces.
When I first discovered and fell in love with visual art in the 1990's, I took classes in collage, monoprinting, silk-painting and drawing at Memorial Art Gallery's Creative Workshop in Rochester. As I got more immersed in learning different mediums, I attended workshops all around the country.
By 2000, I had a studio at Hungerford in Rochester. I started teaching workshops. I exhibited at museums and art centers and galleries. I thought all I wanted was an art career - to achieve "success" as a "visual artist" - and I gave 110% to make it happen.
In 2017, I moved from my studio in the Hungerford Building in Rochester to open a gallery in downtown Canandaigua. I loved the challenge. My sales increased. I met wonderful people.
Then the pandemic struck. The growing extremism of politics, the horrors of police brutality, racial profiling and inequitable prison sentences for people of color began to make me question my values. Did my life truly revolve around selling art? Were awards and financial success what drive my passion for creating?
The answer was no, but I still felt confused. I knew what I didn't want, but I didn't know what I did want. I knew I was looking for a "new way" of being in the world that did not see the earth as ours for consumption, destruction and profit.
I began to see how thousands of years of colonialism and patriarchy had acculturated and subjugated me at every turn of my life. Yet I also felt a deep trust I was heading towards a life that was real and heartfelt. Meaningful, genuine, true to me.
Over the past two years I have taken more time to listen to my inner wisdom and guidance. I slowly let go of looking outside myself for validation, approval or recognition. I started validating myself, taking back my identity, my feminine power.
I am no longer creating work for income - sales, shows and awards are exciting and feel great, but they aren't what motivate me to create. As I become increasingly concerned about the well-being of our planet and all the beings who inhabit it, I want something more.
The word I now like most to call myself is a creative. Whatever I do, from gardening to writing, to cooking or painting, I am always creating. I love the flows of ideas that start my day; and I appreciate how much work it takes to translate those ideas into creative acts. I recognize every step in the creative process involves risk, the possibility of failure - but in accepting failure as a natural part of living, I am also learning that my problem-solving mind will step in to offer new options that are often better than my first ideas.
I am now, as always, a work in process, only now I see now how beautiful it is to be just that. I appreciate more. I enjoy more. I am learning to be present more.
Opening my heart is opening me as well to new possibilities for the future. I'll share those ideas and adventures here and in my online journals. I hope some of these projects will offer connection and enrichment and encouragement to you and others.