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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alice Neel

"I thought you had to give up a lot for art, and you did.  It required complete concentration.  It also required that whatever money you had had to be put into art materials."

American Artist
1900 - 1984

The Spanish Family (1943)
What have you had to give up in order to be able to paint, or write or play music?  Our muses can be demanding — asking us to give up relationships, friendships and even family.  And sometimes our muses will drain our spirit and leave us battered and lifeless.  Art requires the artist to be faithful and loyal.   Art demands that we work hard, often with little or no respect, money or fame.  We labor on day and night hoping that one day someone will discover us.  Sometimes we hurt those we love.  We sacrifice our family on the altar of creativity.  And for what?  The hope that maybe one day someone will notice.  It takes a lot of courage to be an artist.  To be willing to sacrifice so much.  For some of us, we sacrifice our sanity or even our lives.  

And yet, I think there is another way.  We can find balance in our lives.  We don't have to sacrifice everything.  We can maintain our sanity without falling off the cliff.  Don't let the creative impulse destroy you.  Be strong.  Find a way to balance the wild and crazy spirit with the routines of daily living.  Maybe you can knit, take up yoga, play golf or simply take a walk.  Embrace the whole you, not just the creative side.  Anything taken to the extreme is destructive.