Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Two Cents...

You may or may not remember, but I had a painting that I was going to put into a show. It came to a point that I had two choices, visit home or finish my painting.

Normally it would be an easy choice; finish my painting! Of course! Now understand I live only an hour and so car ride from my family, that's it. And time after time I can find any excuse to not visit. I love my family, most do, however I was never the college student to get homesick. I have never been the one to call every few days just to "check-up", or go home "just because". I was free, why would I? Late nights in my studio making art was my happy place, and disappearing in there for days was not unheard of.

So what was the difference this time? Why was I having to decide? Without going into detail, my heart had been broken; and while this was not the first time, and I dare say not the last. I felt a longing for home. A deep desire to stay with people who- while I might have pushed them away- never left me.

And so, I made a choice, and an uncommon one. I went home, the painting was never completed. And the artist in me believed that I had given up. To not finish something once started is enough to make me cringe. It is a bad thing. Or, is it? Is it bad to let go of something you have put so much work into?

I had started a painting, and I didn't finish- but does this make me less of an artist? I was not wanted by someone I deeply loved, it just didn't work out, does this make me less of a person?

Art is not magic, you create good art because you have worked so hard to get there. Love and deep friendship is not magic, they too are created by hard work- however relationships are more difficult, in the sense you don't have full control. If you fail a painting it is only you to blame, that stroke of ink is there because you put it there. People however, are the paintbrushes that move by themselves, they can be the strokes on our canvas we call beautiful, or the blotches we want to quickly rub out.

There are paintings in our lives that will not turn out, despite our skill and knowledge. There are starting of art that will never be finished, despite all the hours put into them. We can only learn from what we have created, and try to make art that is better next time. Perhaps it is more important to know why and when to let go, rather than trying to finish everything we start.

And you will come to find out, if you haven't already, family- though they may not always understand, and you may not always agree - they are one of the few constants. And if it took me a few failed paintings and a now mending heart to realize that, it was worth it.


  1. I like your two cents, Karen. You are a rock, whether you know it or not.

  2. Writing back across time to this post... what if all you needed to learn from the painting you learned before the finish?

    In the vein of it not being about the destination, but the journey... what if the painting is not about the finished product (unless you're trying to pay the rent with it), but more so with the process?

    You are a fantastic artist... embrace the angst and don't shy away from the tough questions you present yourself. The answers we seek help to guide our journey.

    I knew your mother... I believe she continues to be immensely proud of you.

    Cathleen Shea