Saturday, October 10, 2009

Art Blog: DESIRE

The third chapter of “The Joy Diet” by Martha Beck is about desire. This might be one of the most DIFFICULT topics in the book for me. In fact, this is one of my problems right now. I have no idea what I want to happen now. Well, I didn’t know until this week. I have been struggling and have experienced a weird kind of panic for the past year about this very issue.


I have always been goal oriented. From a very early age, I made lists of goals and desires on a regular basis. Despite any obstacles, I would trudge on and accomplish my goals. After high school, I remember working in a factory and telling other workers I wanted to go to college, get a B.F.A. and M.F.A. They laughed at me. They knew I had no money. Yet, I just kept plugging away with my eyes on the prize. Six years later, I had both. This didn’t surprise me.
Then, I wanted to BE an artist. I accomplished that goal and have continued to BE for the past thirty years. Another goal was to make sure my daughter would grow up to be a smart, productive, interesting individual. Well, she is 26 years old now and I am in awe.

Then there was the HOUSE thing. For decades, I would visit people who owned their own homes. This was an elusive goal. Being perpetually single on purpose, I never seemed to have the money to buy my own house. Well, I finally accomplished that eight years ago. I have an extraordinary, art house now. I love it so much. It is my treasure.

I suppose one of the most significant DESIRES of my life is to be able to support myself and still be an artist. For the past two decades, I have done that via my own art production and teaching. It has been a grand ride. I chose teaching because I didn’t want to have to make art that only satisfied the customer (and not my own creative intentions). I have never had a problem with people buying my art. Of course, I love that. However, I have never wanted to have to make art to customer specifications. I have never been into making art to accommodate the masses. In other words, if I make something and they buy it, that is a wonderful thing. I am not interested in producing art just so people buy it. Therefore, I teach to pay my bills. That is what has worked for me until now.
You see, I have always been in situations in which my artist status and teaching status have comingled. I have been lucky. All my employment situations in the past twenty years have encouraged me and have expressed pride in the fact I am an artist; I am a great teacher; and I was an important part of their staff. Things are different now.
So now what? What do I DESIRE?

In a twist of fate, I have been sent to work part time at another school this year. This week after one class ended, I was cleaning up and one of the students who had just left my room came running to the door. He peaked in through the door window and smiled a huge smile. I waved and smiled back. I felt so happy at that moment. I realized what I really want now. Eureka!!! The light bulb moment happened!

"Gimme Some"
Acrylic on Canvas
8" X 10"
Click pic for detailed view


namastenancy said...

These are a great series of posts. You always make me think about my life, my art and where I am going. But it really is always about the journey, isn't it? We arrive in one place, stay for a while and then, the same thing that makes us artists makes us get up and move a bit more down that road. Here's to seeing the next signpost on the journey.

Sheree Rensel said...

EXACTLY!! I have always known there was a long road ahead. I just kept walking. Now, I am at an intersection. I am looking left, right, behind me, and at the road ahead of me. As a dedicated reader of this blog, you know my head has been spinning for a while now. I think I am starting to take baby steps forward. I am still a bit unsure of my path, but at LEAST I am starting to move onwards!!

Thank you so much for always being there for me Nancy. You have always made me THINK too!

sherry ♥ lee said...

You are incredibly inspiring. And you've shown that even those who have achieved various desires throughout life, it doesn't mean we stop desiring...we need to keep ourselves challenged and keep our desires fresh and interesting. Thank you for sharing your story!

Lucy Ladham-Dyment said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It is a joy to read your blog on this topic and relish on your accomplishments! You are to be admired for going after all of your heart's desires and accomplishing them. Thanks for sharing what you truly desire, which is doesn't have to be one more "tangible" goal to check off. My hats off to you!

Dia said...

Wonderful post! & yes, what a simple but powerful *desire* - appreciation & aceptance!

Lisa @sacred circle said...

What a beautiful lesson in discovering your desire! Here's to moving forward!

RJ said...

Dear Sheree--

Although we have never met in person, I have come to APPRECIATE and VALUE you a great deal over the last couple years or so that I have been reading your blog. You put so much of yourself out there on your blog for everyone to see; it's pretty amazing.

You have given me so much inspiration and food for thought... I have felt your joys and your frustrations, and as a fellow artist/teacher, really relate to a lot of what you have to say.

School (and life) can drive you crazy sometimes, but we get some pretty great moments, too. It's those moments that make it all worthwhile (at least that's what I keep telling myself!- LOL!)

Big hug from Ferndale--


Sheree Rensel said...

Thanks so much to all of you who have taken the time and effort to read my blog. I truly APPRECIATE you and value your opinions!!

Sheree Rensel said...

Your comment made the hair on my arms stand up! THANK YOU so much for hanging in here with me. To be honest, I write this blog for me. I started writing as a way to vent and express what was on my mind at any given moment. Having tried and true followers like you is like having the ice cream with the cake!

You are so right. Teaching (and life in general) can make us all crazy at times. Also, teaching can be absolutely glorious at times too. Now that I am starting to teach at another school, I am being reminded why I started teaching. I am finding my true art educator self again. Just yesterday, I was teaching and showed the kids a silly video I made to introduce them to a new unit. These little kids thought the video was so funny. At certain points, you could hear a pin drop in the classroom they were so into watching my silly self teaching them on the screen. It was one of those GLORIOUS moments.
Big HUGS back to you my friend!

becky n said...

Terrific post - and I love the fact that you make so clear that desire is ongoing! It's not just coming up with a few things and then at some point saying, "OK, I did that, got that. Now I'm done."

I never had much art in school, but I would love to have had you for a teacher! I think I'd be in a different place than I am now. But it's ok - I came to it late and love it nevertheless.