Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finding Your Artistic Path

While writing Life, love ma for my children, I spoke with my daughter's friend who expressed frustration at having too many artistic talents and not knowing where to focus. I could relate. I went through phases of fashion design, interior design, painting, poetry, and on and on. Always wondering what would unlock the secret to that stream of productivity, that prolific gush of work that I could ride like a wave, that would truly satisfy my inner itch to create.  
Happily, that journey is just as important and satisfying as its goal. Your life as an artist is as joyful and productive as you allow it to be when you take yourself seriously. Nothing is keeping you from that path of exploration and discovery, but here are a few hints that might help narrow your focus if you really want to devote your efforts to your most worthy pursuits.

finding your path
I am certain that Martha Stewart found joy in entertaining, preparing a beautiful feast and sharing it with friends. Her joy was infectious, and the love she poured into each stunning dish and table accent exuded her enthusiasm, passion and pleasure.   She succeeded in a huge way when she combined that passion and perfectionism with business sense and marketing savvy.  She built an empire on her passion for entertaining. That’s a little shocking, isn’t it? An empire from a passion for entertaining. 
What is your joy?  Is it music, poetry, painting, leather work, jewelry making, writing, herbal remedies, graphic design, animation, calligraphy, fashion design? What gets you going, gives you energy to work all night on a project, to dream that you’re succeeding at it as you sleep at night?  If you know what that is, embrace it. 
I have had too many passions, myself. I LOVE designing clothes and sewing them. I love painting.  I have hundreds of poems I’ve written—scrambling for a pad and pen at 3 in the morning when words can’t wait. But what should I focus on? Where should I spend my precious free hours when I’m not earning a living? Here are five simple questions that I’ve answered for myself that might help you choose which of your talents to focus on right now. 
1. How easy and natural is it for you to do? When learning the skills needed to execute this type of art, do you learn it easily or is the training a struggle for you? Better yet—even if it’s a struggle—do you get a rush from learning, so much so that you’re always hungry to learn more?
2. Do you like all of the aspects of it or just the dream of it?  Every art has a nitty gritty side. The supplies, the set-up and clean-up, the maintenance of your equipment. Sometimes we imagine a romantic view of art—a vision of our finished piece—but it falls apart in the drudgery of execution. Do you love “getting your hands dirty” for
your art?
3. Do you find yourself constantly coming up with ideas for your art? Do you have a sketch pad or note pad you carry around full of jotted-down ideas? Lyrics? Concepts that come to you as if on their own? Do you dream up designs in your sleep?
4.  Do you do it differently than anyone you know? Do you have a unique edge, a certain quality that is all your own?  When your work is compared to that of others in a similar situation, can yours be identified as distinctive? If it isn’t yet, could it be?
5. Lastly, does your intellect believe in it as much as your heart? Is it logical to you? Or do you spend hours struggling to justify your art to your practical side?  If you don’t believe in it, you won’t succeed. But rather than struggle with it, go back to the source of your spark. Spend time there, with your heart, and call it a passion, a hobby, whatever takes the pressure off. Eventually you may come to believe this is is your calling. Then, if you believe in it...
Begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Goeth
Your answers to these questions will help you understand which talents in your life to pursue. There may be many. And what you pursue may change over time.
—excerpt from Life, love ma

1 comment:

ruth said...

Love it!! So true that as life situations change the ability to focus or the drive to focus on a certain craft can evolve too. I've seen that shift in my life and haven't given up on some talents just let them hibernate while my joy in focus is on something else that is more constant.