Heard yesterday: If you’re going to use social media to sell your art, you’ve got to be social.
And this too: you’ve got to figure out what your story is and you've got to tell it. Excellent: just as I’ve decided to leave behind the world of language and words to immerse myself in image and instinct, I’m back to words.
So what’s my story? This: that I’m a 60-year-old woman who, for better or worse, left a high-paying, high-prestige federal government job and I’m now a not-quite starving artist without a W-2 for the first time ever, starting my own business and figuring out the tax system for the first time ever, deliriously happy about finally devoting myself to something I’ve wanted to do for my entire life, even happier to be on the inside of the studio rather than looking in from the hallway on Open Studio weekends, and trying to figure it all out.
Oh, and occasionally fighting the demons that rise up, boil over, scald me, tear at me and won’t let go. The demons that shame me, tell me I’m not good enough, not talented enough, too poor and lazy, too riddled with poor judgments over the years, too late, not worthy despite . . .
Despite what? That I’m bright and beautiful and multi-talented and accomplished. That I have committed friends and fiercely good-hearted grown children. That I actually do have enough money to see me through for a while, that I’m wise enough to act wisely, and that I do have an enormous store of “personal agency” that’s just waiting to be tapped and put to good use.
The demons come and they go. As do moments of sheer pleasure and grace. I will tell my truth and make my art and they will be one and the same. I don’t know why my spirit got put in this body with this history and these capacities. But it did. And this -- this page, this art studio, these paintings -- is what it looks like.
Here’s something of an aside that may be the whole story: when I neared my upper 40s, I started telling people I was 50. I couldn’t wait to be 50: so many women had whispered to me that relief and wisdom came in the 50s. I was so ready and they were so right: my 50s brought clarification, calming, deeper learning, relationship building, acceptance and revelation. But the 60s? I haven’t heard anyone talk about that much, so I’m guessing that this decade may be defined by the type of individual exploration, observation and discovery that begins to bring us to our own essential selves, and that we walk the details alone. Along with aging's ongoing loosening of our internal emotional strictures . . . the trade-offs are worth it.
Hey! I got a federal tax id number yesterday! Now that’s something.
And you comadres and copadres? What’s your story?