Last Saturday rolled around and my paintings still were not done. I pulled out a stack of water color pieces I did while I was pregnant, framed them, and surprised myself with how elegant and refined they looked, compared to my usual paintings on cheap canvas or paintings on broken pieces of wood or paintings on scraps of paper. Now, I can spend an adequate amount of time, little by little, working on the pieces in progress and truly finding what it is they have to say. Ahhh.
After I had dropped the pieces off and chatted for a bit, a strange thing happened. I left feeling particularly inspired and hopeful, not just about my art, but about my life. [TERAN] Studio always has a way of doing that. There is something about that space and everything it represents in that city, that renders the place like soul medicine. Perhaps it is the volume and the variety of the highly energetic, inspired, talented, motivated and dreaming souls that pass through their and show their work there. Somehow that energy soaks into those floorboards and blesses everyone who dare open themselves to dreaming and passion. I think of all the artists who showed their work there for the first time(including but not limited to myself), the people inspired to pick up a paintbrush or a spray can or a sheet of felt or a cup of wax after visiting. I think of the people that met there for the first time, the connections made(often orchestrated by the hand of the well calculating and charismatic TERAN himself), the conversations had. Many a time Will Teran as leaned over to me and quietly said, "those two need to meet" or "you should really talk to ____". All that powerful energy zinging around and bouncing off those heavy industrial columns, how could that place not be magic?
Suffice it to say that I had a fair bit of anxiety surrounding the birth of my daughter. I was unwed, technically jobless, living in my car by choice traveling the country. I'll never forget seeing her image on the screen during the ultrasound and feeling love, joy, and terror simultaneously. I was comforted to read throughout my pregnancy that women often have to mourn who they once were, to say good-bye to those people to make room for the all encompassing role of mother. I guess I just did not understand the extent of what that would mean. Could I still be an artist? I imagined myself in some corporate nine to five job, slaving to support my family financially while barely able to enjoy my daughter, my paintbrushes and canvas in a dusty box somewhere waiting to be unearthed after a few decades. My soul ached at the thought. I've come to find that that is so far from the case. Looking at my life now, with Stella turning three and a half months human tomorrow, the driving force behind everything I've ever wanted to do has been set ablaze. As an individual I understand that I need confidence and self care in order to show my daughter how to love herself. As a women I need to behave with strength and integrity to show my daughter how to conduct herself. As a professional I need to pursue my cause with passion and vigor to show my daughter that she can do whatever she wants in this life. As an artist, and as me, I need to take my sweet time and enjoy all of it to show my daughter that life is what you make of it.
Today I took Stella on her first Newburgh Open Studios tour. I explained the paintings to her as she looked on intently. I introduced her to some of the people that I would consider my very best of friends, mentors, and role models. She loved every second of it. The moments that I took her away for a quiet bottle, she would smile and squeel and babble like she often does, with a light in her eyes that seems far far beyond her mere months of experience. Compared to the days we spend at home, while lovely in their own right, I would have to say that even baby Stella seems inspired by the scene that had developed in Newburgh. I look forward to being involved in that community for many years to come.
After seeing and talking to so many artists, parents old and young, children, and everyone between, I realized something that I've always known. This is my tribe. This is my family. These are the people I want to work with. These are the people I want to work for.
I can't wait to show you what I'm up to.