There must be some artists out there who never struggle with feelings of frustration. If they exist I'd love to meet them, as I am certainly not one of them! As grateful as I am for being able to pursue my art freely each day,IÂ still have my moments.Â I am happy to say, however, that my fits are briefer than they used to be, and they are fewer and farther between. It's a solitary business, and sometimes the solitude alone can get to you. SometimesÂ the art-making itselfÂ feels like a struggle;Â the vision is there, but the ability to fully execute it to your artistic satisfaction may lag behind. Other times, it's theÂ "business" side of art that frustrates.Â Being a full time painter, it is something I definitely need to manage in order to prosper; but sometimes the drive to do so just isn't there.
But life is what you make of it. It's a cliche, but the longer I'm here on earth, the more I realize it to be true. I can look at my art making as a struggle, or I can see it as a challenge. I canÂ bemoan my shortcomings or I can look forward to mastering a new skill.
I came across a wonderful quote the other day that just leapt out at me. It comes from an article on writing by the talented best selling author Elizabeth Gilbert. The quote has to do specifically with film making, but I think it applies just as well to anyone pursuing an artist's life:
"Quit your complaining. Itâ€™s not the worldâ€™s fault that you wanted to be an artist. Itâ€™s not the worldâ€™s job to enjoy the films you make, and itâ€™s certainly not the worldâ€™s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.â€? - Werner Herzog German Filmmaker
This is one for me to print off and paste above my both my easel and my computer. So the next time I might feel like whining I can just take a breath, consider these words, and get back to work.