An Epiphany of Pace

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It seems odd to me, that even at this stage of my life, it still takes me some time to realize things, or to have an epiphany about something that should have been pretty obvious. It could be that I’ve always been more of a leap before you look sort of person. Something that has gotten me into hot water and situations that unfortunately take a lot longer than the leap, to climb out of.

Leap

In April, due to covid19 and the situation I found myself in at my place of employment, I had decided that living outweighed the very real threat of the other alternative of staying there could. So feeling pushed to make a choice, I chose life, and never went back. I say it this way as I don’t feel that I quit, I feel I was forced to make a drastic decision. But this isn’t what this post is about. It’s about being aware. Taking the time to think.

Think

“When” I create my art, has always been a tricky subject. Life has ultimately decided for me the when in most instances. For example, as a young mom, although I would have preferred to stay home, reality stomped its often large, dirty boot, on my plans. As they say, the kids had a nasty habit of eating, and wanting to wear clothes. So I took whatever jobs I could get. For my husband’s work, we had to move, a lot. This meant I had to start over every time. From finding a home, to packing, to getting the kids enrolled in new schools, to finding new doctors, this was always on me. Add to that, finding work, and then working. Well when would I cram in art? Art which is the very air I breathe.

Doing It All

Somehow, I always found a way. One of our first apartments, was a two family flat. We were upstairs. Each flat had a bay window in front, and attached next to it was an enclosed porch. It really was a pretty little apartment. On one side of the bay window, one of the windows opened on to the porch. My boys were young then, and leaving paints, and mediums around wasn’t such a good idea. When you stepped out of our apartment door, there were stairs that led down, and a landing that led to our front porch. This porch proved to be the ideal place for a tiny studio for me to work. Most of the time, I would simply open the bay window, and climb over into the porch. Now that I think of it, I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t just go around. Hum. It must have been that once my youngest was napping, or they were settled watching TV, it was easier to just clamber through the window. My little porch “studio” worked well also because I could keep my eye on the boys while I painted.

But that nagging question, of “when”, still dogged me. When we first moved there, I set up the studio, but I had my boys to care for. My husband had a job painting overpass bridges. This job often took him away for weeks at a time, and we still needed more income. I had made a few friends, and with their help, (watching my boys), I was running around going on job interviews. (At this time, non of my friends worked, so they thought I was bonkers.) And with all of this, when would I find time to paint?

Around the same time that I finally found a job, (which came with it’s own craziness), my husband got accepted into the Post Office. However, he had to pass a test where he was required to know every address in the city, and it’s zip code. I kid you not. He was given cards to study. So we would go over them relentlessly every spare moment, for weeks. Thankfully he got the job, but with two boys, and the hope of one day owning our own home, I still needed to work. Again his job required odd hours, He had to start out working nights. This was tough on all of us, but it allowed me to work. Our oldest was in school, and that left the little one. So not being able to find anyone to watch him, (this was back in the day, not many daycares), my husband “watched” him. That’s another story.

When I got home, I cooked and cleaned, cared for and played with the boys. I had to be really organized, but I was young, and had a lot of energy. I set up lights in the studio, and would work on a painting two evenings a week for an hour or so after they went to bed. This is just one example of how I fit in the “when”.

Each time we moved, with each new job, and each new situation, and with each new child, I found a way to fit in the “when”. But I was always rushing. Rushing through getting kids ready for school, through work, rushing through being there for my husband, through family outings, through life, and through working on my art, and honing my craft.

This brings me to my “epiphany”. After I left my job this past April, I found it hard to concentrate on my artwork. I was going at my usual pace, and getting some things done, but considering I now had “all the time in the world”, my kids are grown, I’m basically on my own, and I have set up a nice studio area, it was weird, I was struggling. Not really accomplishing what I thought I should be.

Then it hit me, that the rushing and speed that I kept up for decades, that, that was my pace! It was the force that kept me going, that made it almost a desperate act to create. Not “having the time” is what forced me to make the time.

Let’s not also forget that what is happening in the world right now, the pandemic, and how the daily fight for our very lives politically, socially, and mentally, is affecting all of us.

It took me months to settle enough after leaving the job, to really work on my art and writing. That feeling of being lost and alone, (which is not new, but is now affecting the entire world), caused me to hesitate, and falter. Then of course there is “social” media, which has been and is getting darker by the day.

For what they call creatives, (a fairly new way of describing artists, and craftspeople, which for me the jury’s still out on), anyway, for creatives like myself, it can render those who have historically been the most sensitive among us, mute or frozen. That’s another loaded word, “sensitive”. It can imply that the person is weak. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Being sensitive means aware, means feeling, and caring. Its often what pushes us to create, to make others feel, to envision great things, something, anything. And that, that takes courage.

Courage

Now I have this other dilemma, to reinvent my pace. Sometimes lately, I feel like I have too much “when”. I need to balance it more. But the state of things makes that harder now. I hike or walk every day, and that’s good. But I miss seeing my family, easily, or at all. Every move has to be carefully weighed against the possible danger, as I am high risk. I also live in a small town, so there was never a lot going on to begin with. It’s gotten to where, when I stopped at my local library, (I put books on hold and they brought them out to me), it felt like an adventure. Having to have my books brought out to me shouldn’t have been such fun! I rarely see people that I don’t live with, and Zoom, or facetime is difficult for someone with anxiety issues.

Anxiety

Add to all of this the fact that for the first time in my life, I began staying in bed later and later. I was definitely faltering. And it wasn’t that I was actually sleeping more, oh, no, I was checking the social media beast. The beast that will suck up half your day when you fall down one of the cajillion rabbit holes that it opens to you. It left me feeling even worse. I couldn’t save everyone, or change hearts. I felt less productive, and less motivated. I had the “when”, but I was allowing the world to dictate my daily fate.

Fate of the world

About two weeks ago, I decided that enough was enough. I set my alarm to six thirty a.m. , not to wake me, because most days I would wake around then. No, I set my alarm to remind me to get the hell up. Out of the bed. And I have been. Over the last four months, I have actually been painting steadily. But I’ve had a lot hanging over my heart, exacerbated by social media. Which I do have to follow to a certain extent, (this blog, posting my art on IG, on Etsy and FB and trying to find outlets for my art to bring in some income, which has pretty much dried up.) Since I started forcing myself back on track so to speak, I am feeling better, and have more energy. But it is a tentative change, one that I have to be aware of every day.

…but where in the universe to find buyers?…

I know the “when” is entirely up to my whims now. This means no excuses but can also mean no pressure unless I put that on myself, say by entering competitions, or taking on commissions. Either way it will be mostly at my own, new pace. Epiphany!

Thanks for reading my blog. Please visit my gallery, and check out my work on my Etsy site, etsy.com/shop/omordah or visit susanm.l.mooreartist on Instagram. Please “follow” “like and share” here and at these sites as this helps to grow my art life.

Also if you feel inclined, you can “Buy Me A Cuppa Tea” by going to PayPal and donate the price of a cup of tea/coffee to sumor4@yahoo.com Your encouragement of my art and this blog, means the world to me! For those of you who choose to give a monthly donation of $5.00 or more for the year, please contact me to let me know, and I will SEND a piece of art to you!

Stay safe and well, see you next time!


Brown Eyes Blue, Some Musings On Life

Color has always been important to me. Even as a small child, the aesthetic of color was something I paid attention to. Growing up, we were one of the last families that I know of to get a color TV. After constant pleas to get one, my father finally asked me why it was such a big deal to me. I looked at him and said, ‘real life is in color daddy’. I was four. I guess I was precocious. The reason I remember this exchange, is because my dad found it funny, and would repeat the story to whoever would listen. We still didn’t get a color TV.

I have brown eyes. Occasionally throughout my life, I have wondered how different my life would have been if they had been blue. We all know that blue eyed people have more fun. That’s not to say that for most of my life I ever really wished for that. At least not until recently in my waning years, and being alone so much due to covid19, and ruminating in my own mind about “what could have been”. For most of my life I actually found blue eyes, especially really light ones, creepy, almost devilish. Heheheh. I know, I know, how dumb that is. It may have come about from something I may have heard when I was young, who knows? It did seem that a lot of people that seemed insincere had blue eyes, and often actors with light blue eyes played the “bad guy”. It occurs to me that this is how unreasonable attitudes can arise. I definitely don’t want to add to that shite show. For a long time the only people that I personally knew with blue eyes were my grandmother on my Mom’s side and her second husband who I knew as Grandpa, and I never felt that way about them, so weird.

Here’s my theory on this, as I grew older, it became very obvious that people with blue eyes had the world on a string. Just like blondes, blue eyed people seemed to get away with a lot that the rest of us schmucks couldn’t. And I get it, now. (Watch Republic of Doyle, you’ll see what I mean). So here’s my theory on “spoiled” blue eyed people; people can be very superficial, particularly here in the US. Historically blue eyes have been revered. Songs that played on our heartstrings. Movies and how those blue eyed ones are treated, usually being chosen for the main protagonist, even if not the best actor for the part. I suppose that in this case, the lack of a color TV did me a favor. I know many may disagree, but as I grew up, it was obvious to me that kids at school got treated better, often learning very young to play the cloyingly adorable golden child. Then regarding songs, there are a few that I can think of, that highlight or praise brown eyes, one is Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, which is a beautiful song, and another is “Beautiful Brown Eyes” by Rosemary Clooney. But for the most part, it’s those blue eyes people sing of. Oddly enough, I don’t have a lot of portraits that I’ve done, where the subject has blue eyes. I don’t think that that is a conscious thing.

I did have a childhood neighbor, who had blue eyes, and she was the typical middle class princess. I wasn’t allowed to touch anything in her room, and everything was precious, and dolls were it for her. I played with dolls, but I also liked climbing trees, drawing, building forts, and riding horses. Also she only had to bat those blue eyes to get what she wanted, while, I only had to do nothing to suddenly be in trouble. Go figure. I know this is bordering on whining about things that can’t be changed, but it is, to me, one of those things that just seemed to happen a lot. That’s not to say I thought about it much, or even at all. I was a naturally happy kid, and things always seemed to roll off my back. And even as a small kid, I knew that I preferred things the way they were for me. Somewhere in my kid brain, I knew that I was good with the status quo, and just got bored with her. I was what people called back in the day, a “tom-boy”. I wore that like a badge of honor, completely clueless that they didn’t necessarily mean that in a good way. I think that there was only one time that it brought me to tears. I had an older cousin, and he saw that I was upset. I remember to this day what he said to me. He knelt down to my level, and said, “don’t worry, tom boys make the best women.” Then he winked at me. And he was right, heheheh.

Then there are those with green eyes. They always seemed more mysterious and just didn’t have that same shallow vibe. My kids have eyes that change from green to hazel to almost yellow/gold depending on the light. And it’s awesome, I may be a bit biased. Funny how our different experiences in life can “color” the way we think. and By the time we did get a color TV in my childhood home, life had hit us pretty hard, and it just didn’t seem as important.

As an artist, I bounce back and forth between sketching, black and white inking, and vibrant color, and enjoy using all of these styles of art. But I also know my four year old self was right, life is definitely better in color.

Thank you for joining me, and I hope everyone is staying safe and well.