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The journey of being an artist late in life

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

So tonight it dawned on me: (Not quite dawned as it was past dawn and the evening had settled nicely) that taking on this task of renewing my passion for art in my later years was no mean feat. The first thing to overcome was competing with much younger celebrity hip youngsters with new trendy tech ways of selling their art compared to myself. We will not discuss the beautiful pouting girl with the hot pants on painting a still life! We all know comparisons are stupid but we do it anyway. Then there is the task of trying to convince galleries you are a serious artist, even if you have done a 'normal job' and raised two kids on your own - oh no, you should have been roughing it in student digs and/or climbing the academic art ladder and maybe wearing a beret. I fell into teaching because I fell out of law and had two kids to feed who meant more to me than my own success. Law was never for me anyway. I loved the research but hated the paperwork #ADHD brain. But art never really left me. It manifested itself all over the place - on classroom walls - in lesson plans - on kids craft tasks and for friends' birthdays. I especially loved the science cell clay sculptures! The concepts and ideas I had done in my BA were now simply tied into literature and poetry instead. Everything I was creating had to be small and bitesized to fit in with teacher training and nappy changes. Sometimes I was painting into steam on shower doors and other times I baked a cake and made little icing sculptures. But I was always an artist. I had lost my way and as the years passed I said to myself I will find time. I didn't. Then I was involved in a serious accident in the town centre. Coming that close to death made me realise that it couldn't be held off any longer. The journey back on the path I had been on since I could hold a crayon (funny story - I drew an entire crayon line around my grandparents' house when I was little and blamed my sister - after some height measurement it was discovered I was indeed the real culprit!) needed to be completed. I had been on a detour but this detour didn't lesson my art experience. It enhanced it. I was still creating art in all these other places. So, I wasn't schmoozing with art critics and gallery owners, but I was talking ideas with the next generation and I was consolidating the things that most capture my attention as an artist. I was learning empathy and humility which are subtle elements some artwork never captures. I was also learning strategies for organisation and believe me, as someone with ADHD (and who knows what else), I am still learning. Quick tip - bullet journal saved my life! I could not keep a diary. The set structure was too much and after 3 consistent days I would be incinsistent. The #bulletjournal allowed me to create my own spaces and doodles. See how easily I digress ... the main aim of my blog post tonight is to keep you encouraged as others have done for me. I thank my friends who have journeyed with me and kept me going through rejection and doubt. I thank my kids for being ungrateful and hard work at times because it did help drive me to take this little selfish step back to my art. What wonderful people I have met. They are all part of my artwork. So dear art critic and gallery owner I was not out of art, on a sabatical, teaching, misdirected or any other such thing ... I was creating and part of that creation was relational. Amen to that!

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