Disillusionment with everything, really. Politics, the economy, the art market, humanity's appreciation of art and artists, the community in which I live, jobs, money, savings, travel, myself, my career, my interests, my options.
There was an article published this month in the New York Times called Maybe It's Time For Plan C about independent business owners and artisans experiencing the downsides of pursuing their dreams.
To say the least, it was disheartening.
I took a bit more time off from painting than I intended to. I spent time reading, thinking, exploring new/old hobbies, pursuing interesting avenues to augment my business. During this time I began to wonder... Am I even doing the right thing? In general? In life?
Will I one day be sitting in a pile of broken canvas after some inevitable apocalypse wishing I'd spent less time thinking about my art business and more time learning to fish, to garden, to (God-forbid) sew?
Okay, maybe not. I'm not banking on inevitable apocalypses. Yet.
Ultimately, I love what I do and I do it because I'm good at it, dammit. These are my skills, and that's what I'm offering to the world, and you know what? I keep discovering that I have more skills than I thought. My definition of "artist" continues to expand, and that excites me. It involves so much more than paint. Regardless of what one might think of my art, I'm good at being an artist.
And I don't just want to be good at it, I want to be unearthly badass at it. This might take me the rest of my life, of course. Which means, counting backwards, I had better be on my way this very second.
Here's where the kicker really happens: I know that I am on my way. I know this because I'm working towards something. I know this because I'm pursuing it wholeheartedly. I get up early, I do never-ending "business things," I paint, I write, I plan, I dream, I even freaking make videos now, I work, I work, I work. All. Day. Long. Even when I take time off, I work. I'm constantly pursuing more work. I'm always trying to add more in my life, not less.
Most importantly, I know I'm on my way because I can see a distinct and measurable difference in my life over the last 10 years.
Hell, that's even true exponentially over the last 5 years.
I just have to stay pointed in that direction. One foot in front of the other. Always.
I have no interest in "retirement." I am not looking for a scheme by which to get rich so that I can stop doing the very things I was born to do. I am not going to let my life pass by in a series of intentions and promises.
I've started painting again. I've almost finished a new piece. I'm about to start three more.
The fog is lifting.