The Middle is before you know how the end turns out. I think the middle is why I used to shy away from sharing the process. When I first was getting to know my husband, his request was always to see pictures. Pictures of what I was making. Unfinished work. He wanted, and still wants, to see the in-process shots of my artwork. He supports and reassures me when seeing the “middle” shots because to him, it adds to the richness of experiencing the finished pieces.
Back then I was not on Instagram....When I worked on pieces in the past I had a short list of people I would share my progress with. When I say short- I mean 3 or 4. And I did not have the virtual community that I do now, seeing these various creative hashtag challenges. That is actually part of how I eased back into making things more consistently. It was the #300creativedays that I participated in, and did not complete....I did not count all the creative things I did in 2015, but I did spend more days creating in that year than the previous. And I started to embrace the idea that drawing coloring pages for my kids did "count" as creative. All the little moments added up to make me ready for 2016 and the challenge of creating a public work. "The Weight of Time." For ArtPrize. It prepared me to share that being consistent in pursuing your passions/dreams/goals is not easy....creative or otherwise. Roadblocks do come, in various forms. Busyness. Stress. Fear. Failure. There are also dry seasons. The dry seasons that I am referring to are those times when the other higher priorities in my life need my attention and the amount of time that I can devote to my artpassion/dreams/goals must be viewed through that lens. Determining what’s really happening can sometimes be hard.
Sharing my story here is a bit scary at times. But it is more helpful than hiding my story because when I hide, I start to think I am alone in my struggles. There are times when people are disappointed in how my work changes....and that is something I have to accept. I have to accept that inviting you into my studio, invites you into my mess. The mess of deferred motivation. Even the mess of occasionally losing perspective on why I make stuff.
Currently I am in a middle, I am on my way to Michigan. I am on my way to hang the piece. This morning I woke up earlier than I should have, but my body was ready. In preparation mode. Thankfully my mother-in-law was sleeping on the couch and the rest of my people were asleep too, so I headed to my studio.
I haven't been out there much lately. When there is a gap in time, the distance to getting back seems even greater. Momentum has slowed and it takes more time, it feels more like starting over rather than picking up where I left off.
Of course there are reasons I haven’t gotten out there a lot, but the underlying reason is stress. Change. New. Good new things, but still new. There are new routines with school starting. And decisions to think through.
It is crazy how hiding can look different. Sometimes I hide from the mess of life by going out to the studio to refresh, but the truth is this month doing dishes has seemed easier than facing this middle.
We all are in the middle of our stories. This middle seems to have dark clouds. Is this endeavor going to be worth it? Worth the risk? Worth the sacrifice?
My husband has already answered my questions with a "yes!" I’m thankful for his support. Now I have to search to own the yes for myself… “The Weight of Time” …Was it worth it? Yes. It has already helped me. Helped me to process deployment. Helped me to know my soldier better. Helped me to share my process. Creating this piece has had tangible benefits. But it was also weighty. I have even had a couple bad dreams about it being damaged. In the dream I had to redo two of the canvases. It was all mixed up. THANKFULLY IT WAS JUST A DREAM.
Not only am I in the middle of the outcome of Artprize, I am in the middle of that preparation to say "see you soon" again. This is the phrase we should say....with hope that it is not goodbye.
Middle. Not able to see the end of the story. The beginning and the end of a thing has its own unique challenges. I am happy that even after some personal setbacks, I went back out to the studio. It felt like I was getting back up after being shoved down by my own disappointments. I am continuing to discover how to do business as an artist. I am thankful that mistakes and missteps are not the end, but actually part of the journey. So I keep moving forward.
If you would have told me last September that I would be headed to Michigan with a crew of people ready to help me hang my ArtPrize entry, I don't think I would have believed you. I couldn’t see that far. When I first imagined the size of this piece, it felt unattainable or at best, very far off. My last significant show had been in spring of 2010. Between now and then, there have been a lot of "middles", and we have navigated through as a family. Perspective is essential when we are in the middle, because what happens in the middle matters, maybe the most.