This past month I have found myself wanting to quit my job. Of course I don’t really have a job in the true sense of the word. No one is paying my salary, and I am my own boss. Though I do sell my artwork now and then, I would literally starve to death if I depended on sales to remain alive. And the monies I earn for my writing, a more reliable steady income, would virtually leave me destitute if it were my only source of revenue. Still this low paying position of artist/writer takes up an inordinate amount of my time. For the thirty years that I practiced as a mental health professional, making a fairly decent income, I never worked as hard.
So truth be told I am just plain tired, exhausted really, burned out. I want to quit. Quit painting? Or writing? I don’t think so. What I want to quit is the business of being an artist – the marketing, networking, dealing with exhibits and galleries, going to openings, writing query letters, “building a platform.” Too much of my time is spent outside my studio dealing with other people and negotiating with the art/writing community, knowing and getting known, developing a reputation, tooting my horn so to speak. God, I’m sick of it.
The recluse, hermit, monk within is going insane. I want to stop complaining and being a grouch. Like Greta Garbo, “I want to be alone.” I want to retreat to my cave and paint pictures just because painting gives me pleasure. Or writing novels because I love the characters and stories I have created even if no one else ever reads the work. I want to stop thinking about what might sell, or how much I should charge, or about being more “cutting edge.” I’m tired of feeling competitive and of being self-critical when I spend too much thought on comparing myself to others. I want the time and space to express myself creatively, just because that’s what I want to do, without the pressure of earning a living, of having a job. And since I’m earning so little money anyway, why not quit?
I am officially giving notice to the world that I resign. For now, I am without a job – no more covering the gallery, running workshops, writing articles, or attending meetings, art openings, or writing groups unless I want to, and right now I don’t…
Who am I kidding? Next Friday night, June 3, 2011, is the opening reception for “The Art of Association.” It’s a collaborative exhibition of three local art groups: the Artists Association of Jupiter (AAoJ), Artists of Palm Beach County (APBC), and North County Art Association (NCAA) at the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta. I’m in AAoJ and APBC, so five of my paintings are in the show and two of my Dad’s. I wouldn’t miss the opening for anything. And there is a fabulous 3D photographer, Art Siegel, whose work I got to know at the “Vivid Art” exhibition in 110 East Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach. I just have to write an Examiner article about him.
Let’s face it, being an artist/writer is not a job. It’s my life. I can’t quit. I’ll just have to find more balance, meditate more, find time to relax, listen to what my unconscious is telling me. Above left is a photograph I took of a Buddha at the Morikami encircled by a wire fence. My painting of him “Buddha at the Morikami” on the right, free of the fence, is more than halfway done.