Become an Artist and Create More than Thursday’s Meatloaf

I have read of women with a family of 5 children and a business to run, a husband and meals to cook, going to University to get their Master’s or Doctorate degree and still doing charity work, socializing, and looking immaculate; that’s where I got the idea I could go to University to get a BFA.

I hesitate to write this.  Yet it saddens me to frequently hear from women I meet, who would love to become artists, how they stop themselves with notions of so-called sensible reasons.

This was:  My Journal entry August 6th, 2001.  It came from a hand-held cheap, Mead, Five-Star in a class by itself, spiral bound,Neat Sheet Perforated Pages, with 200 ruled sheets, and 400 ruled pages.

Runnng a family is at best fun and rewarding but a woman needs to be as free as her husband and children to be an artist, even if it only means designing her life to fulfill her dreams. Dreams that don’t cost her her family, but allow her to feel proud of accomplishing her vision.

When we are in our teens we have a million ideas – do these ideas get pushed back – do they become expanding waistlines, huge backs and hips?

If you had a short sentence period of life left to live because you are dis-eased would you make certain that you cleaned the house, picked up the cleaning, paid the bills, washed the car, and did lots of laundry between doing all the other self-imposed obligations you didn’t want to do when you felt forced to say yes.

Taken from the Series 'Cold Cereal'

Each day is so precious even when you are not compromised in your health.

My personal discovery is that nothing in the house changed while I went to University full-time for two years.   (Notation:  two years for a diploma worked into being five for a degree).  The dust still sat on the top of everything.  The house still looked the same at the end of a day even when I hadn’t spent ten hours wandering about in it.

The same little imperfections were on the walls.  The messy areas, where there was no other place to use the messy items or to store them, still struck me in an uncomfortable way; even though I had not walked past them a million times a day, as in the past, wondering what to do with them.

But while the house lived its life without me, I created hundreds of projects, got a diploma in Studio Art and following that a BFA degree, showed my work in galleries, was published on the cover of two literary journals, wrote, painted, entered juried competitions, and put my work on the Internet.  And I didn’t know I had it in me when I was taking the garbage out regularly for something to clean up.

Art School was one of the dirtiest and messiest places I had ever worked in.  I learned we were focused on the project not on our surroundings  We had great relationships; we learned what we had never known about ourselves and each other.  The mystery of life came upon us and we had feelings; strong feelings!

We became sleep deprived and were told to do things we had never dreamed of.  We were let loose!!  I called the courtyard full of industrial junk our play pen:  our toybox. Sometimes we felt isolated when we worked and sometimes we worked in groups.

There were many times I ate pizza, celery and peanut butter, plain bread, cereal, or junk near the end of a term, but it did far less harm than resenting the doing of something I no longer wanted to.

There was one time when I had to wear the same clothes for three days – that’s about as much inconvenience as I remember. (Notation:  This is when I remember feeling like a REAL artist having read up on Louise Nevelson, one of my favorites, who would roll on and off a small bed in her studio wearing the same clothes for days while she worked on a wall-size sculpture.)

I never knew a house could run itself.  My family was amazed and thrilled with the difference in me.  My secret self shone.  And to my amazement they all knew how to look after themselves.  It wasn’t a slice; I have never worked harder in my life; had only 5 hours sleep a night, worked 7 days a week, and pushed myself to the, and beyond the, limits of my imagination.

Every new term Dad would go into the hospital for a couple of days for cancer treatment. Usually he announced it without any warning and always when a printmaking project was due. Our business dropped when Bailey, our soft-coated wheaten terrier of 14+ years, got old suddenly and collapsed.  For seven months I was sick at heart with the thought of soon losing her. Bills piled up and at one point I measured the pile:  it was over 10 inches high. We had a robbery in our home and lost $25,000 in property that we were very fond of; some was sentimental.

What a blessing to have something so rich to focus on as my art:  my heart’s desire.  It was a ten year dream that still continues.  Our wheaten had a seven month old age and died a natural death, my Dad died in the hospital on the 3rd day after an operation a year before my graduation, and a very close friend died soon after.  I couldn’t prevent the deaths and I couldn’t control other lives either.

What I have learned to do is concentrate my attention on my gifts and talents and make something from these instead of living through other people’s lives:  ie. family, friends, people in newspapers, on TV, celebrities in magazines, etc.

How does your own life look, could you write a story about turning down a different road now and becoming what you dreamed you would when you were still in high school?

Start here!  This space is for you…………..

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

4 thoughts on “Become an Artist and Create More than Thursday’s Meatloaf

  1. This is spectacular!!! I think you should send it to a few magazines
    I can see it published…so important for every mother, working woman,
    single woman or woman, period! Bravo!!

  2. ..brilliantly and honestly written. Thank you for the inspiration and nod to the moms who dare to do more. It isn’t easy to work, return to school for something you love so that — as a person (because you WERE a person…before you were MOM 🙂 )..you can one day actually earn a living while working at your passion, keep the house up, kids,…the works. I suspect the hardest part is acknowledging it is “ok” that everything isn’t “perfect” :)…and that’s just fine. Thanks again
    Christine

    1. Hi Christine!
      A heartfelt thanks for your response… thank you for making the time to sit down and send me these beautiful and kind words. I suffered with perfectionism for many years until one day I happened to notice how much I loved the imperfection in nature, and I relaxed into mine. When you become consciously happy, and live as your authentic self dictates, your family, friends, and circle of influence notice the upswing to your energy and respect your commitment… from this point they do what they know they have to so you will become all you are meant to be and release your special gifts into the world. Mothers as Martyrs are very extinct. It’s all in the presentation and delivery of your dreams and desires… a journal to write in, a bulletin board to pin up your art and clippings of everything that raises your pulse! And magazines, scissors, and glue stick to start arranging shapes and colors into abstracts, fashions, or landscapes. Julia Cameron’s, “The Artist’s Way” Morning Pages are very powerful too. Let the children follow you with journals and bulletin boards and cutouts of their own. The secret is everyone is an artist and shhh.. you cannot fail at art! Loved hearing from you; my email is at the bottom of my homepage if you need it.

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