This is the weekend to come to terms with my new status of single mom with only child away at college.
I intend to do some baking, continue reorganizing the house, garden, clean the pellet stove, get some exercise and pull at least one print. This week I have been fairly busy with my friends who have been making sure that I’m not wandering incoherently around in an empty house or sobbing myself to sleep. I have had lovely invitations to dinner and taken advantage of every one. There comes a time when I have to see what it feels like to be alone for an extended period without the anticipation of my son coming home. After all, the next time he will be home is Christmas.
In truth, I am looking forward to the alone time. Last night I set up the radio so that there is more sound in the house than just me talking to myself or the cats (I’ve always talked out loud to whoever is or isn’t around so please don’t count this as “crazy cat lady” behavior – for me, its normal). I intend to bake some bread for myself for the coming week to prove that I really do like to bake bread; it’s not just an activity that I do to nurture others. And then there is the studio. It is waiting for me like a living thing. I hear it whisper to me as I glance its way. I notice that the drafting table is cleaned off and waiting for a new plate. The inks are patient for now but need stirring and want to sing their sticky songs as the brayer rolls over them.
I am excited about this. I am looking forward to this private time. I am happily anticipating a weekend of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes…..
Last night was the biweekly meeting of my art support group. The group consists of four women artists.
Two of us are painters, one is a fiber artist and I’m the printmaker but that doesn’t matter.
We have varying commitments to our art in terms of time and livelihood but that doesn’t really matter either.
What does matter is that we have created a space amongst the four of us where we can share the most intimate pieces of our lives, including our art. This is where pieces are shown first. This is where ideas are introduced and tested. It’s where we can admit our shortcomings and celebrate our victories, personal and artistic. It’s where we can talk about our fears and brag about our accomplishments ad nauseum and no one actually vomits. They cheer along with us or cry or hug or dance.
Why does this work so well?
Here are a couple of quotes for you:
Rosalind Russell – “Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.”
Eric Maisel – “An artist feels vulnerable to begin with; and yet the only answer is to recklessly discard more armor.“
So – Why does the group work? Because it’s safe. Because we know that what goes into the group, stays there. Because we know that no matter what, we will get loving honesty from one another. Because we depend on each other for support and we have committed ourselves to give support as it’s needed.
From what other people tell me, what we have in our group is special and not easy to find. I’m not sure how we got so lucky to find the right people to make it work so well. We’re all very different in our personalities and our art. We don’t always agree. But it is a safe place. Maybe it’s because we have thrown all of ourselves into the group and not just our art. We have celebrated weddings and births as well as shows. There has been divorce and disappointment.
Making art is personal. It is standing up naked. It is discarding your armor. When you can do that in front of friends who love you and know that you are safe and loved, it is amazingly powerful.
I have found that in this group of special women. I can take the power that we make together and go out into the world.