This post is long, was fun to write, and if you stick around to the very, very, end I’ll explain what the sketch is of.

“I’m a prisoner in my own skirt” — Edith Russell

Let me start this post off by saying that I did not steal the sketchbook that I am currently using. Not exactly. A better way to explain what happened is that I think the sketchbook choose me.

I was working as an art therapist for a well-known mental health agency, itself a smaller branch of a much larger national chain you’d recognize if I mentioned it here. So I won’t. When I started working there the art room was a hot mess. Now, I pride myself on a tightly run ship of an art room, and during my cleaning and reorganizing I found the sketchbook. It’s very pretty, it was made in Nepal, has flowers stitched on the front cover and it’s inside papers are soft and beautifully pulpy. Over the course of the next three years that I worked there I periodically put it out during my groups, but no one ever took me up on the offer to use it.

Towards the end of my tenure there the agency, like almost all other outpatient mental health programs in New York , began a conversion to a new state mandated system referred to as PROS. If you have ever worked anywhere that has ever undergone a complete philosophic and practical overhaul based on the opinions of experts that have never actually worked in the field they are experts in, you are already groaning. If you have not, and would like to know what all the groaning is about, simply grab a friend and head into your kitchen. Instruct your friend to intone, ceaselessly, “NO, not that bag of peas, the peas on the left, NO not the bag of peas on the left, the bag of peas, grab the peas on the left. NO, not the peas on the left, grab the peas on the left,” whilst you open and shut the freezer door on your head. That is, a little, what the process is like. For an even more authentic experience, complete follow-up paper work documenting the experience, know that for the purposes of your paperwork that “peas” refers to “rutabaga,” and, also, please refrain from using the word “rutabaga” in your notes, or the words “freezer,” “open,” or “shut.” Please try to be as detailed and specific as possible. Make three copies.

I digress. I thought, during that awful, horrible, conversion that I would use the pretty sketchbook to take notes during the approximately 5,000 meetings a week we were required to attend, or that, at the least, I would use it to doodle in as a defense of my sanity while paragraphs that began with “11(j) SEE NYSDOMH form 12.33k-z” were read out loud, and I did take a few desultory notes and make a few painfully self-conscious doodles, but the book was too pretty, and I felt bad exposing it to such torture.

So, back in the art room it went. But, I was pregnant, and very sure that the new program wasn’t a good fit for me, and knew that my husband was being transferred out-of-state soon after our baby was expected, so I put my notice in with the agency, said goodbye to some really good people, packed up the personal flotsam I’d acquired, cried at my goodbye party, and went home. Somehow, I really don’t know how, the sketchbook came with me.

Shortly after that my first daughter was born, very shortly after that we moved to Massachusetts, sometime after that my second daughter was born, and practically right after that we moved to Louisiana, and the sketchbook came with us. This is quite remarkable. Packing and preparing for moves brings out a side to my personality that I wish I was able to tap into more regularly: I become a lean, mean, throwing out/donating machine. I get rid of loads of stuff while preparing for a move, and during the ensuing unpacking I bemoan how much stuff came with us anyway, and throw out more. At least four times the sketchbook sat on top of a “get rid of this” pile, and each time it escaped.

A few months ago I got back into the habit of keeping a sketchbook, I knew I had to. I’m healthier when I can make some art, and I function better as a Mom. There it was, waiting for me: the perfect sketchbook. Everything works well in this sketchbook. Pen, ink, charcoal and pencil all flow beautifully on the textured paper, the natural color of the pages gives immediate tone to what I’ve drawn, and the book feels good in my hands — sometimes my daughters run their hands over the cover, or the pages, and my toddler delights in picking out my self portraits with her and her sister. I look at it often and can’t believe that I almost got rid of it, days that I don’t have time to draw I like seeing it on my table, it’s become a talisman for me, we are a perfect fit.

One more funny thing about this little sketchbook of mine: I swear, it was empty when I found it. And, I swear, that when I tried using it at work I flipped through its pages several times and always noticed that it was empty. But a few weeks ago I sat down with it at the end of the day, I was too tired to draw, I just wanted to look at some sketches, I opened it all the way to the back cover and there written in a beautiful script that was not my own was the following: “I am a prisoner in my own skirt.” — Edith Russell

If you follow that link you’ll learn, as I did, that Edith Russell was a survivor of the Titanic, but that she almost didn’t make it into the lifeboat due to the constrictive nature of her very fashionable skirt. More importantly, what a quote! What a chance to reflect on the self-imposed constraints we place in our lives, roadblocks to the happiness we so desperately want. How many times have I sabotaged a chance to really, truly, get what I want out of life? Oh, tons, tons and tons of times. That whole time I was working at that agency, for instance…ah, but that’s another post, this one has gone on long enough as it is. So, I drew Ms. Russell. Apparently she didn’t die very happily, although she did continue to live an extraordinary life. Oddly, I think I look a little like her, and I’ve got more to say on the way that making art starts connecting the artist to odd facets of the universe, but I’m saving that for another post too — and I’m hoping I might get some feedback about other practices that draw folks into magical moments of kismet. Meanwhile, thank you so much for indulging me, if you’ve gotten this far. I’m quite enraptured with this little magical sketchbook of mine, and this post was fun to write.

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Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston

Sketch portrait of Zora Neale Hurston

Sketch portrait of Zora Neale Hurston Copyright 2014 Kate Forman

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” — Zora Neale Hurston

Isn’t that an amazing quote? I came across it in a book I’m reading: ‘Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy’ by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It was a gift from a friend who is fortunate to have a gem of a used bookstore in her neighborhood. I’m fortunate to have her as a friend, among her many strong points is a penchant for generous and thoughtful gift giving. She gave me the book two years ago, but I only just started reading it. I’ve had this experience before, of having a book in my reading periphery for a while, and then finally cracking it open to discover that it is exactly the book I was hungry for in that moment. That’s how I felt when I read that quote by Ms. Hurston, I was so hungry for that sentiment of timing and patience, I practically licked the line off the page.

Somehow, I never read Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their eyes were watching God’ during my education. It’s a mixed blessing: I’m sure I would have benefited from reading that book at any point in my life, but it was delicious to read it for the first time in my thirties. If you haven’t read that book yet then I have to tell you: you should probably stop what you’re doing right now (yup, stop reading this) and go out and buy/borrow that book. You can come back and read this later, no thanks necessary — I’ll just be happy to know that more people are walking around with that book informing their souls. And then, there’s that quote above. So simple, so profound, so kind and generous, so perfect for me right just now in this moment.

Hence, my sketch painting of the beautiful Ms. Hurston. The link on the book title shows one of her portraits, it’s one of the (approximately) eight I sketched from to make the above painting. Drawing from photographs on the web is a tricky business. Importantly, it is never a good idea (unless just for personal edification) to do a strict copy — any illustrator who draws exactly from a photograph and then uses that created image for monetary or professional gain is guilty of copyright infringement (unless, of course, they’ve previously worked out a mutually agreed upon usage contract with the original photographer.)

In addition, there’s the issue of authenticity. A photograph is also an artistic image, not the original person. This is so last century (or maybe two centuries back? Photographers?) to dither about, but a photograph inherently changes the subject. So, as an artist, it’s important to recognize that attempting to draw a figure out of history based on photographs is several steps removed from it’s source. Who knows what Zora Neale Hurston really looked like (away from the self-conscious imposing view of the camera?) Who knows if Ms. Hurston liked the assembly of photographs on the web, or if she felt they accurately represented her? My answer to all of this is to sketch from several different sources, and then imbue (hopefully) my drawing with my own emotional reaction to Zora Neale Hurston as I understand her, resulting in an original work that is reasonably recognizable as a portrait. And what would Ms. Hurston think about THAT? Ah, if only I knew…

Here’s what I do know, though, I’m quite proud of this little sketch painting. It’s finished, it happened relatively quickly — largely around nap and bedtime, it felt good to do, and now it feels good to look at. I like how loose I was with it, I was more focused on process instead of product, and I’m thinking that’s the only way I’m going to get any painting done.  Also, I really like that I painted this in my charming little sketchbook, it’s contributing to the increasing chunky texture of the book — always a sign that art is being made, and a way of answering back.

All pieces

A few weeks ago my little ladies and I were visiting the local library, as we often do. Vera B. William’s wonderful ‘A Chair for my Mother’ was one of the books the children’s librarian had displayed on top of the stack and I excitedly pulled it down and said to Lulu, “Lulu, Mommy used to work for the lady who made this book!” And Lulu said “Next, we go to the playground?” And that concluded my name dropping for the day.

When I was in my twenties I had the very good fortune to be an occasional studio assistant to the amazing Children’s book illustrator and author Vera B. Williams. Vera is pretty much as you imagine her: she has beautiful white hair, crinkly eyes, a perfectly raspy perfect Bronx accent, a strict policy of wearing skirts in the rain, and an ever present joie de vivre. Vera’s books are beautiful and very real.  The kids in her books grapple with things that real kids do: poverty, imperfect adults, life’s ups, and downs, good days and bad days. However, there isn’t anything depressing about Vera’s work. Life is worth living, despite all it’s twists and turns, and Vera’s kids live life to the fullest, minus any smarmy sugar coating.

One conversation, among the many interesting ones I was lucky to have with her, stands out in my mind, and is something I’ve reflected on ever since becoming a Mom. We were eating lunch and Vera mentioned that she’d been given a gift certificate to a cooking class, and then she laughed, and said that when she was home with her kids cooking had been one way to be artistic, but that now that she was working as a full time artist she rarely cooked anymore. I’m paraphrasing liberally, it was a long time ago, but I remember her listing some of the other ways she used to be artistic while she was raising her children, and I remember her acknowledging that she didn’t do much of those types of things anymore now that she was able to paint and write on her own schedule.

I remember being surprised, at the time I was walking around with the  “all of a piece” quote from Anna Karenina written in my address book, and my number one aspiration was to have everything in my life in one piece too: I wanted jobs, friends, a place to live, and a lifestyle that all moved cohesively in one socially conscious and artistic direction. The notion that the successful artist in front of me had ever not been completely put together and succinctly goal oriented was difficult to wrap my mind around. I was very young, and so thought I was very old, and had difficulty recognizing that life doubles around on itself, sometimes, and that, sometimes, the winding path, with plenty of rests, is the most productive.

Now, with two small halloween costumes draped over my art desk, along with an unfinished sketch, and finger paintings drying on the kitchen table, and jack o lanterns that still have to be carved, I take great comfort in that conversation with Vera. It was a gift, and there’s a reason I kept it tucked away in my mind. Someday soon, far sooner than I can imagine now, these little people will all be grown up and I’ll have more time to paint, but, for now, there are crinkly library books to read, sticks and leaves to collect, and small, pudgy, fists determined to have their moment at this keyboard too.

Thankfully brushing the dust off…

'Holding Hands' Copyright Kate Forman 2004

'Holding Hands' Copyright Kate Forman 2004

So, it has been a very long time since I’ve posted anything here. Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting this blog and my other on-line presences: the website… the twitter….and the Facebook. As it turns out, it’s just as easy, if not easier, to be distracted and even overwhelmed by an abundance of good things. I’m used to griping about the ick and the gook — they’ve been my standard excuses for not marketing-painting-hustling enough — but I didn’t imagine that loveliness could be a de-railer too.

Plus, full confession: I was always walking a line between keeping the super personal & the super professional clear…I never saw myself as a blogger who’d use this forum as a diary. I wanted to blog to refine my sense of my presence on the web, market myself, get new ideas and words back, be a part of the times, and get better at using words to describe myself and my art. And then I hit this obstacle: how to express the super personal, super wonderful, and concede that it meant re-creating how and when to make art…

In short order: when I started this blog, not too long ago, I was a single childless lady who made most decisions, including artistic, within the wide open space that description entails. Now I am (happily, over joyously, breathtakingly) married and 32 weeks pregnant. It turns my head around, it amazes me, it inspires me, and…it’s changed me.

On top of that: two really cool illustration projects fell in my lap. I’m not complaining about any of this, no sireebob, I’m kicking up my heels in joy (okay: metaphorically, as I’m not jumping around at all these days.) However, all of this good stuff overwhelmed me…and in an attempt to prioritize this blog, and the above forums, went by the wayside.

But that’s not what I want, what I do want, now more than ever, is for  my ability to create art and generate an income from it to be consistent. So, taking a deep breath, I’m waltzing into this Thanksgiving Holiday giving thanks for the amazing goodness in my life: for my husband — who emboldens me, for my growing baby — who captivates me, for my friends and family who’ve always believed in me, and for my capacity to climb back on the horse, again, and continue trying to make this thing of a working artist…work.

Artists need vacations too.

'Traveling Suitcase' Copyright Kate Forman 2009

‘Traveling Suitcase’ Copyright Kate Forman 2009

Yup: it’s that wonderful time of year, vacation time. I’m a big believer in vacations, and I find that they’re sometimes hard to define for a working artist, as we often spend our time between a day job & hours reserved for making art, so often time off is used as more time for the art making. That’s great, but I’ve learned that there needs to be a balance between many open days in a row that can be reserved for making art and many open days in a row that can be used to just relax.

Some years ago I read ‘The Artist’s way,” by Julie Cameron. My good friend Asta currently belongs to an on-line community organized around the concepts of the book, and her enthusiasm has made me think about taking a stab & working the book’s “program” again, especially as the first time around I didn’t devote enough time to it — though I really connected to its principles.

One thing that I remember the most about the book, and appreciated, were the author’s words on the importance of “refreshing your eyes,” and getting a different view — even by taking a new walk in your old neighborhood. My Grandmother had many sayings she liked to dole out, and one that has always stayed with me, and resonated as I read the book, was her admonishment to: “have a view you never had before.” It’s pretty wise, and can be applied profoundly or simply. As artists I do think it’s important to constantly refresh our eyes, we have a great capacity to find magic in the mundane, but sometimes it’s nice to stand in front of a new view & give our peepers a charge.

Right now I’ve got my feet up typing this in Norwhich, Connecticut — several hours away from my beloved Queens. I grew up in a place not too dissimilar to Norwhich: a lovely mix of beautiful old buildings, many of which had seen better days, some urban poverty, and a desolate abandoned industrial section. My hometown is currently undergoing a financial renaissance, but Norwhich is still struggling with the fate of many old river towns — its local industries have been strangled by the malls and big stores, and what commerce exists within a walk doesn’t offer more than corner stores and/or bodegas.

Personally, I have a love hate response to gentrification: there’s something gloriously sad about proud old buildings whose owners obviously treat them with a lot of love, standing side by side with former glories who’ve been chopped into many apartments…it seems a bit more honest than some of the overly “cutesy” stuff that seems necessary to sustain a small city’s economy.

However, this is about vacation — and I’m enjoying myself: I like the views, and getting a taste of suburbia is interesting — the house we’re staying in has a dishwasher, a washer/dryer, and a food disposal in the sink (which I’ve never, ever, used before.) It’s definitely a more convenient life, in some ways, but having to get in the car to get everything isn’t so great – I do miss the convenience of walking around my neighborhood.

On this leg of the vacation I’m combining rest and art making time, and getting lots of reading in as well. I finally read Camus’ “‘The Stranger,” but I also packed three disc world series books by the brilliant & dangerously funny Terry Pratchett. Someday I’ll do a whole post on him — he writes like I wish I painted. Meanwhile, though, I wanted to end on a paragraph of his I read last night, it made me think about missing NYC, and comparing it to this life style — love for the big apple often gets expressed tritely, but in the brilliant Mr. Pratchett’s words regarding a booming metropolis in disc world I found some of my emotions perfectly captured:

Poets long ago gave up trying to describe the city. Now the more cunning ones try to excuse it. They say, well, maybe it is smelly, maybe it is overcrowded, maybe it is a bit like Hell would be if they shut the fires off and stabled a herd of incontinent cows there for a year, but you must admit that it is full of sheer, vibrant, dynamic life. And this is true, even though it is poets that are saying it. But people who aren’t poets say, so what? Mattresses tend to be full of life too, and no one writes odes to them. Citizens hate living there and, if they have to move away on business or adventure or, more usually, until some statute of limitations runs out, can’t wait to get back so they can enjoy hating living there some more. They put stickers on the backs of their carts saying “Ankh-Morpork–Loathe It or Leave it.” They call it the big Whaooni, after the fruit.

from Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett

For now, I’m off to have a view I never had before.

Learning how to accept a compliment

'Harvesting Water' Copyright Kate Forman 2004
‘Harvesting Water’ Copyright Kate Forman 2004

A long, long, time ago — when I was deep in the throes of an extremely awkward adolescence — my Aunt Liz gave me the following wise advice: “you better learn how to take a compliment.”

 I don’t remember anymore what prompted her to say that, but I imagine that I was probably melancholy and morose at the time. The words had quite an impact on me — I still think about them. I’m not very melancholy or morose anymore, though I have my moments, I guess we all do, but learning how to take a compliment is still something I’m working on.
 
Maybe it’s a woman thing? Maybe it’s an artist thing? It still amazes me when people like my artwork, and compliment it — especially when they notice and then comment on something I was trying to articulate in a painting but thought I hadn’t expressed successfully — the attention feels like a gift, and often overwhelms me with gratitude.
 
Lately a lot of wonderful things have been happening to me, and learning how to accept good things — and trust the attention to my artwork and the new opportunities it inspires — has been a learning curve.
 
The one I wanted to write about today regards my Australian friend Asta Lander. Asta is an incredibly positive person: she channels her creativity — expressed visually and via writing — for personal health and good, but also for the “greater good,” specifically human rights and women’s rights issues. For some perspective on her thought processes you can check out her blog
 
She’s inspired me — and displayed never-ending faith in me, even when I dropped the ball the first time we discussed collaborating on a project together. Her kindness, and compliments to my artwork, are bolstering — but it took me a while to know how to accept it.
 
Accepting that my artwork is reaching someone also means accepting that I’m being seen — art can be used to hide behind after all, and there’s something comforting in that, though stifling (did I mention that my moody adolescence was spent scowling over intricate notebook drawings…and not math homework?) Being seen is liberating, and a little scary: someone saying “I love your artwork, lets…” means that pipe dreams become real, and so does the effort.
 
I mentioned in a recent post that Australia has been very good to me — and that I’m learning to trust that goodness and the paths it seems to be leading me on. My vagueness around my collaboration with Asta is intentional, I’ll write more on our project when we’re more underway…but for now I wanted to give a clear, and seen, statement out to her, and to the universe — thanks for the compliments!

Subway Sketches

'Traveling for Care' Copyright Kate Forman 2003

'Traveling for Care' Copyright Kate Forman 2003

Today I took a nice ride out to Flushing, Queens on the 7 Train. The 7 Train, in case anyone was wondering, is NYC’s best train line — and I stand by that argument based on the following:

1. By the third stop in Queens it’s elevated & affords gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline & the passing queens neighborhoods below, and

 2. It’s a little like taking a train ride around the world, or, at least, the world’s cuisine: in a matter of minutes the 7 Train passes over fantastic Irish pubs, Turkish Restaurants & classic neighborhood Italian joints (Sunnyside,) wraps around a bend and becomes “little Ireland” — dozen or so real-deal Irish and Irish-American pubs (beginning of Woodside,) keeps heading East & passes over Columbian, Mexican, Ecuadorean and Phillipino bakeries & restaurants (end of Woodside,) chugs on over Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani and several Argentinian bakeries & restaurants (Jackson Heights,) glides past the Met’s CitiField & ends in Flushing: home to hundreds of Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese BBQs, restaurants, noodle shops, bakeries, street vendors, etc. How many other modes of transportation can claim all that culinary divergence?
 
But I digress: I was on my way out to Flushing to pick up two paintings I had hanging in a group show, curated by the fantastic Cyn McClean, at the Flushing YMCA. It’s a pretty lengthy subway ride, and I like to pass the time by drawing
my fellow passengers.

'Subway Sketch Guy with the paper bag' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

'Subway Sketch Guy with the paper bag' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

I’m always nervous at first, but by the time I was finished sketching the guy with the paper bag I was warmed up and enjoying the process.

 
'Subway Sketch Young Girl with her i-pod' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

'Subway Sketch Young Girl with her i-pod' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

I’ve been busted plenty of times (the young girl with the i-pod totally knew I was drawing her) but I usually find that people don’t seem to mind. A long time ago I was drawing a man and when my view of him was obstructed the elderly lady sitting next to me made the people standing in front of us move so I could keep drawing (talk about pressure,) and the man I was drawing graciously pretended not to notice…so I kept drawing.

 
This might sound creepy, but in my opinion the summer time is the best time for subway sketching due to two facts: 1. I can wear sunglasses (the 7 is elevated & flooded with sunshine) which obscures my obvious gaze and

'Subway Sketch Sleeping Lady with Glittery Shirt' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

'Subway Sketch Sleeping Lady with Glittery Shirt' Copyright Kate Forman 2011

2. People tend to be sleepy and not as aware of being drawn. Wow…that does sound creepy…and true. 

 
I noticed that by the time I got back home I was very relaxed, and not that concerned about the heat — one of the benefits of devoting all that attention to detail.
 
It made me remember the first editorial illustration assignment I ever got (up at the top of this post.) When the call came in I was elated, and terrified. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to start, so instead I went out and drew on the 7 train. As a result, almost everyone in that painting is someone I sketched that day — just another gift from NYC.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

'Ribbon' Copyright 2009 Kate Forman

‘Ribbon’ Copyright 2009 Kate Forman

To quote my friend Debra — today started off with a flying flop. My allergies are in full force, and NYC has been H O T — neither condition helped my organizational skills, or motivation to do anything.

Keep kissing those (artistic) frogs

'Behind the scenes' Copyright Kate Forman 2006

‘Behind the scenes’ Copyright Kate Forman 2006

 This weekend was my beautiful god-daughter Jenna’s first communion. It was a blast: she looked like a wee princess, and kept her tiara on long after her pretty white dress and hand-knitted shawl came off. There was a lot of dancing among the young guests, but Jenna’s younger brother, Scott, my Godson, and I took some time to look through his sketchbook.

Scott is an amazing artist and he keeps an almost daily sketchbook. It’s awesome and filled with pictures of his imagination, including a castle he designed for his sister (what princess wouldn’t want a pink castle with a purple slide as the exit door?) and a cool green frog waving from  a cool turquoise lily pad.

Which brings me to the point of this blog: Scott’s self acceptance, and how all of us other keepers of sketchbooks and similar collections of dreams and ideas could learn a lot from it.

You see: the frog drawing, as compared to some other sketchbook pages, was, well, a little rough. Please understand, I’m not dissing Scott’s artistic talent, he’s WAY ahead of where most 5 year olds are developmentally. It’s just, the wave was a little off, and the posture on the lily pad was just a smidge un-frog like. On top of that, Scott’s name — drawn over the frog — had been crossed out in blue crayon, and the whole page had been ripped out of the book, and then stuck back in.

So I asked Scott what was up, and this is how he explained it to me: first he wrote his name, but then he didn’t like where it was, so he crossed it out, and then he thought he didn’t like the way the frog looked, so he ripped it out, but after a little bit he realized that he liked the drawing just the way it was, so he put it back in.

That’s all folks.

No breast-beating or loathing self-doubt, no torturous self talk or avoidance of sharing. Just an open, confident, loving ability to edit, and accept, with a healthy dose of matter-of-factness.

To top it all off, when I praised Scott for his truly wonderful drawings he very seriously looked me in the eyes and said: “yes, I am a great artist.”

Now I know I’m biased, he’s my Godson after all, but I really think he’s brilliant. So, the next time I’m painting and berating, or resenting a revision, or shrinking from self-promotion I’m going to keep young Mr. Scott in mind, and dial down the neurosis and up the acceptance.

To that end: I never liked the illustration that accompanys this blog. I still see it’s faults, but today I also reminded myself that I painted it while I was working 40+ hours a week, and operating on way too little sleep. It was an illustration for a children’s magazine, and a perfect fit for the article. There are things about it that I learned from, and wouldn’t repeat today, but I still really love the make-up guy — I painted him with greatness.

Time management, argh, ack, and oh jeez

'Tug of Water' Copyright Kate Forman Illustration 2004

'Tug of Water' Copyright Kate Forman Illustration 2004

Since I’ve had this blog (two months,) I’ve made it my business to post about once a week, usually on Tuesdays. However, I didn’t post anything at all last week. After nearly two months of prompt and enjoyable blogging, a developing Twitter presence and a fairly steady presence on Facebook, I hit the wall.

Simply put: I have poor time management skills. However, I also have a day job, a family, the loveliest fella ever, illustration deadlines, and, you know, a strong need to make art. So, more complexly, if I spend all day painting I have anxiety about my marketing campaign (I have GOT to get out another e-mail ‘blast,’) but if I spend all day twittering and networking (check out this cool jewelry and mixed media artists’ blog, and this magical artists’ one too) I have guilt about not painting (what’s the point of shouting “I’m an artist, pay me” from the virtual mountain tops if my craft languishes?)

But, let’s be real, it’s even more complex than that: because my day job sustains me financially, and I find it emotionally rewarding too, because my family and friends (and the lovely fella) need more than furtive texts and breathless apologetic voice mails.  If the other side of my career and my personal life don’t get enough attention, they all get cranky, and justly so…but if I place my art lower than them on the time priority list I get cranky (and so do art directors on tight deadlines.) So.

It’s hard.

In an attempt to save this from a completely self gratuitous vent, I will pass along this fantastic blog: ArtBiz — for the business of being an artist, I find her to be an excellent resource for art marketing and tough love inspiration. And, shuffle shuffle, I am aware that balancing acts and time management are all things I can and will work on.

But, I’d just like to say: it’s still hard to get pulled in so many directions all at once.