My blog is something I write to keep in touch with those of you who like the paintings I do, and to share some of the things that work for me while I juggle being both an artist and a mother.
I first started painting when I was pregnant with my first baby, at the time I was seventeen. I have since been blessed with four more children. Most recently a darling baby boy, Oscar, who joined us on the ninth of November. I am remembering afresh the sheer joy and extreme love a new child brings into your life. I am also reminded of the many challenges to identity, art making and simple day to day living (most being temporary).
In the beginning of my journey as a mum, I saw parenting as a wonderful thing, but a kind of diversion from my real calling. My first baby was unplanned and although very, very loved, I always had in mind the things I would do after parenting. I have learnt so much since then and have come to the realisation that I am a great parent (and so is their father), and that the most satisfaction in my life actually comes from seeing my children grow and thrive.
We live within a culture though, that doesn’t celebrate parenting all that much. Being a stay at home mum never won anyone many accolades. It is a shame really. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.
It is so much easier for me having a baby now than it was for me back then. I am so much calmer and I have more resources. My daughter is now seventeen herself, and I couldn’t be prouder of her choices and the adult she is becoming. She is where I had hoped to be once, about to head off to Uni, and I have always encouraged her to not do what I did, to achieve more than what I achieved. Then I find myself thinking about how rich my life has been, how I wouldn’t change it at all, and I hope my advice for her is right. But, I wonder if anyone these days tells their daughters to just have a family and be a great mother?
Any how, I digress, back to the now. I want to cherish this time with my new son as I know he will grow up fast, like all children do. I have always been so determined to fit as much into life as possible. I have pushed myself for years really to make art and to be committed to the process, while also being the best mother I can at the same time. Its been exhausting at times, but I have made a lot of art.
So, I have made the decision to quiet that rush in my head (for a few months), and to be present with my family. I am having a kind of painting sabbatical. Maternity leave I guess.
I still plan to blog though, and I have written this post during a feed and with my small baby now asleep on my lap. One handed. Writing is another creative outlet for me and so is reading, but I have been so busy painting my heart out I haven’t given either things much time. Since having this little guy I have been forced to slow down, to focus on the small things in life, like Oscar’s feeding and sleeping. I am also enjoying reading (while I feed) and watching SBS flicks in the night, (subtitles don’t wake anyone) and just generally really filling the ideas tank. I feel like although my body has great demands on it, my mind is on holiday. I feel like for so long I have been outputting ideas that I had become stale with out even realising it.
And I am taking this time to also think very deeply about the core values behind my work and what I want to focus on in the future. I know painting can be a powerful medium. But, the balance between commercialism and sales and painting from the heart, is one that is so hard to find, probably impossible to find, (great thesis topic). It takes time and dedication to create great art and I always feel like I come up short when it comes to how I want to paint and how I actually do paint!
I still have much to learn and I am thinking a lot about that as well. I tend to get dissatisfied so easily with finished pieces and am always seeking to improve. But then, these seem like (are) “first world” problems and I want to do things in life that are meaningful, useful and have purpose. So far being a mother comes closest to ticking that box for me. With art being icing on the (my) cake.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy all the pics of me with my five babies, they are all so precious and so individual. I have changed a lot over the years, I am more patient and less selfish than the younger me. I would love to hear about how having babies has changed you, or if you haven’t had children what brings the most satisfaction to your life.
Oh and a few weeks back I did a guest post on the Creative Women’s Circle blog, all about how to save time etc.. when working towards a deadline with kids. I am now using all these tips to survive having a new baby in the house! I also had an interview on the blog of Artist Lisa Addinsall, you can read that here.
I am looking forward to seeing what cooks up in my head over the next few months!
P.s.. There are still paintings available in my shop if your after something for Christmas etc.. !!!