Over a decade ago when I retired from my day job I had more time to spend with one of my dearest friends. Rose was in transition herself and we often had the conversation about whether to look for work or make art. She did not need to work as a young widow left with many properties to manage. She wanted to paint all day long and yet had worked so much of her life she felt she should be looking for a job.
I was new to the freedom to choose game myself and it took me nearly 3 years to just stop reading the job listings. Being the queen of analogies and a visual learner I likened our kindred struggles to the freeway and how so many off-ramps lead to diversions or distractions from what we really wanted to do with our lives. From then on everytime we had the same conversation…should I go back to work or paint, I visualized the freeway and the diversion of the off-ramps. Sadly Rose lost her ability to choose a short time later when she died too soon.
Yesterday I was reminded of Rose and our many discussions of what/where we wanted to go with our art and the freeway off-ramps. I was reminded that nowhere on my list of personal art goals is I want to pay big bucks to show my work in galleries. And yet twice in the past month this has come up as galleries struggle to survive. I feel blessed to have had the experience of showing my work in the cooperative ACCI Gallery in Berkeley for the past two years which has given me good insight into the best venues for various types of my work. And will continue
Rose would be astonished to see how far I have come with my art based on my ability to stray from the comfort of a paycheck. And I like to think she would be proud that I still rely on that old freeway analogy to keep me focused in heading the direction I need to go and grow rather than heading toward the diversions which so often are disguises for the needs of others.