It’s another stunning morning here in Truchas, New Mexico. The snowfall of a couple of days ago still lies white on the ground, making it feel a lot like Christmas. Over in the humming bubble of warmth and serenity that is Kim’s Airstream trailer (see previous post A Very Mini Artist’s Colony in New Mexico), sits my very good friend, who will read over this post with me when I’m done. I am walking my path, pursuing my dream, following my bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say. So I understand I’m incredibly lucky. I do know this. And yet I’m also unsettled because this life is hard. Being an artist is hard. There. I’ve said it.
It’s not only my dream to MAKE art, but also to SELL art. I’m not greedy. I don’t yearn to be rich or famous. I just need to earn my living. But the art market has been terribly hurt by all the financial upheaval of recent years and not much is selling (except for those well-publicized multimillion dollar sales at auctions—the Van Goghs and the Warhols–note to myself: I must remember Van Gogh sold nothing in his lifetime and shot himself). The art market is stagnant. And, truth be told, even before the crash it wasn’t easy. But we keep on painting anyway because we don’t know what else to do. We were born to make art.
Add to that the fact I’ve been sick and it’s nearly impossible to feel creative. I’ve been so sick that just to do the animal chores every day and the laundry from time to time is almost overwhelming. The old energy I used to count on—that wonderful inspiration to take photos and write to you, or to begin a new series of paintings, is diminished. I’m sure it’ll return full strength when this consuming pain is gone, leaving yet another lesson or series of lessons I’ll look back on and understand.
But again, let me type it out on this computer screen: This life of being an artist, of following one’s path, is damned hard. In order to do it we work to keep the wolves from our doors and our spirits up, but those wolves come huffing and puffing anyway and our spirits flag. I’ve been “impractical” enough not to have built my life of sturdy bricks like the pigs learned to do. Instead I’ve built it on hopes and dreams, on canvas and computer screen. You all know I believe that to live fully we have to be in the moment—but dreams can waver and there are times when putting one foot in front of the other, as I believe we’re meant to do, is challenging.
The fact is that little is selling–not enough to live on anyway. And as much as the blog has become a labor of love, and it truly has, my hopes have been that it would become a source of regular income that, in conjunction with my paintings, would sustain me financially. There are models of blogs in the blogosphere that are designed to make money. There is the product-for-sale model that offers wares for sale: their books or DVDs or classes or… on and on and on. In fact, during this holiday season, in particular, it’s become wearying to me. Then there’s the less intrusive model I follow—that of ads that attach to the blog (those that you see along the right hand panel of the blog) bringing revenue when readers click on them. The weak link with this model is that you need hundreds of thousands of followers and, more likely, a million or more, to make any kind of money. Whether we like it or not, income is a necessary evil for all of us, whether we have traditional jobs or not. The fact is the blog must earn its keep. I do still believe it will be discovered by hundreds of thousands of people—that, since I am following my heart, as I council all of you to do, in its own sweet way it will find more of its following. And it will continue to sustain me.
Let me say it one more time: Life can be hard sometimes. But against all odds, all evidence to the contrary, we continue to believe in our dreams, and we shore each other up. We get through the rough patches and go on to create another day.
I thought it would be appropriate, as we approach another new year, to renew my resolve to continue; to make my intention clear. And with that in mind, watch for tomorrow’s post. Kim will be taking us, step by step, through his recipe for Sweet Cream Biscuits. You know you won’t want to miss that.
Love to you all,