I have had a really difficult time with the final of this story, which is of course my story. I have made several failed starts. I find that the closer events are in time, the more difficult it is to write about them.
What has finally pushed me over the edge into writing the ending is Connie. Sweet Connie and her beautiful comments.
I am concerned that she won't like the final chapter.
I did finally leave the studio and set out into the larger art world.
The last four years venturing outside the studio has been huge for me. I do not have practiced social skills. I am quite introverted and can be awkward in group situations. I don't understand the networking thing.
But I have loved getting to know other artists. I have been lucky in connecting with a few people who believe in my art. I have learned heaps. About myself, about the art world and about art. My art has improved several fold (isolation wasn't good for my growth as an artist.)
Success as an artist is much much harder than I ever would have imagined. I don't want to go into all the ins and outs of the last four years. I don't feel that I have enough wisdom or detachment to tell you what it all means.
When I was young, my father wanted me to get an education so that I would have "something to fall back on". For many many years I judged him for that. I don't anymore. Now I think he was right.
Our culture does not value art or artists. I am not complaining, it is just how it is.
I believe that art and creativity are vital to an individual's and even more to our culture's well being and spiritual health. Which is one of the reasons I am now teaching creativity.
I think being a full time artist is more of a vocation, like being a nun, than a career. If you want even a remotely comfortable living it might not be for you. If you can do anything else as a job and be happy, it might be a good idea. You will probably need a second job anyway.
But in spite of the small chance that I will ever be successful in the world's eyes, I am still oddly happy that I am an artist. Even if I never can make enough to live on from my art, I am strangely happy that I am too stuck in my ways now to be practical and have a "real job". I am willing to do other work to support making my art.
How can I possibly express the deep love and gratitude I feel every day that I can be creating? How can I convey how deeply I am fulfilled by this vocation? How much I believe in what I am doing? How right it feels?
And I am very happy to now share the wonder of being creative with other people. I love teaching creativity, and it takes away the pressure of trying to make a living from selling my art.