Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Originally posted on my art blog (which it has turned out I have never had time for) almost one year ago.

I have given every ounce of artistic and creative energy I have to my children since the first one was born.

My reasons for doing this:

They need(ed) me. Every minute they were awake. So I needed to make it fun for me.
I have to have a creative outlet.
Art brings me joy and if I am happy and enjoying what I am doing, they will be happy.
I wanted to give them a childhood full of happy memories.
I wanted to give them a childhood full of unusual memories.
I wanted them to learn about art, because not much of it is taught in schools anymore.
I wanted to teach them about art in a unique, fun way. Many times in ways that were not in our studio.
I feel I have a unique gift or even simply a unique desire to teach my children about art, and doing this has unleashed more creativity in me than I have ever felt in any other artistic endeavor.
I want to fill every aspect of our lives with art, most likely to fill the hole in my own life. The gaping hole of not sitting in front of paints and wood. But it has not only filled that hole in my life, it has made it overflow. It is enough to just do art with my children. I feel no saddness about not doing my own art.

And so we come to the title of my post. Stealing. I cannot escape the feeling that anything I do for just myself is somehow stealing from my children. They are small. They need me, and at no other time in my life will it be more important to be with them than right now. I will never regret time or energy given to them.

But then again. Are they so small? Yes. I mean no. I mean, yes. We've changed, as a family. Literally overnight. Some of my children are not so small, and need me a little less. So today, I took a few minutes from my duties to creating a happy, clean environment for my family, and I drew this self portrait.

And I felt so fulfilled. And happy. And a little frustrated because I cannot quite make the lines do what I want them to. Made me feel like making a cake for Picasso. Because we would all be happy about that. And we would all be fulfilled.

And I think of the time in a few years when they will all be in school. And no one will be begging me to do "projects!" with them. No one will be asking about which artists birthday we are celebrating. And the art studio will be clean.

And those thoughts, fill me with indescribable loneliness. So I realize, I must start to draw and paint for myself again. A little here or there. Because one day I will need it. When my little ones no longer need me. I know it won't be as fulfilling. But I know that I will always need art.

**Edit: I know so many people who have struck the balance between being an artist and a mother - being an artist independent of their children. I envy them. We have no balance in that respect - which, as I said is totally fine for me. All of our situations and children are unique, and our solutions will all be different, yet beautiful. I in no way think my life is the answer for everyone, it is just the only solution I can come up with for now to keep us all happy. And it will change and evolve, because that is what life is about, right?


Kellie said...

wow...thank you for this. it leaves me somewhat speechless. i come from the opposite spectrum where i love art and to create is amazing for me, but i somehow rarely make time to do it for or with my 4 children. it makes me sad that i don't...and i don't know why i don't. when i found your blog, i was inspired to do what you do with your own children and break free from that mold i've created...one where i have to do things my way, and to let them in on 'art' would be more of a hassle or mess. then you disappeared for awhile and i forgot how important that was. thank you for your honesty. i needed it. and it's good to read something from you again.

B Beach said...

You're such a great mom and artist! We all love you for all you do and how well you do it! You're the best!

lgraves said...

thank you for your post ... it was just what I needed today. you don't know me, but hello from manhattan, ks.

Christina said...

I really really really needed this post. I hardly ever sit down and just do something with my kids. I get anxious and feel like I need to clean or get something else done. But I don't like that about myself. I guess I need to do what you have done, combine things I like with spending time with my kids.

Thank you so much.

jodi said...

this is why you are such a wonderful mom...its a bittersweet day when you have time to do what YOU want. When that day comes I want to lay on the couch with my blankie and watch you create. I find it soothing to watch people create art..like that guy on PBS with the afro? I love that guy.

Abbigail said...

Great drawing. I am glad you got some time to do some drawing. I am also happy that you have been able to find a balance for you and your family. I know how difficult that can be!
The kids get older so fast. I hope to be able do some more projects with my little ones. And some more drawing of my own.

Morgen said...

Okay, first of all, I barely have the courage to read your blog sometimes because you are such a better mom than me. And as a mom of eight children ranging in ages 23 to 3, I can say you are doing it right by putting your kids first.
Now, about the stealing, you need to look at it like filling a vessel. You can't give if you are empty. I get creative, like, sketch my kids reading a book or watching tv. I also tape a photo in my 8x8 sketchbook and keep it in my diaper bag. That way I always have it to pull out and draw at the dr.'s, church, or wherever you have down time. And btw, my older kids LOVE that I make art. It's just who I am. And it's just who you are too.