I was just thinking...

I'm just thinking (ouch, that hurt!) as I sit by the window, working on a study for a painting (a rarity as I don't use this method usually) that art is such a great thing to do when you are on the mature side.

Most people have their productive period in the arts when they are young; usually following on from a degree and then, slowly but surely, they gradually cease to work. This is often because life gets in the way in the form of having kids, getting a career and working full time. Only a few get success early and go all the way, some managing to make a living and some not but doing it anyway and struggling financially, regardless.

Some manage to pick up again many years later when the kids have flown the nest or when they retire, managing to satiate their long-wished-for desire. But I've observed that lots of these people have lost the thread after many years without practice.

I am generalising a bit and I'm not describing what happened to me. Nothing was linear with me. I didn't complete my education in art but rather did other creative studies. I didn't marry or have kids, get a house/mortgage or a career where I worked full time or a car or any of the things that can tie people in financial knots. I just gave up doing art because I was young, undisciplined and easily sidetracked; the long story of why I didn't do a degree I won't go into but when we're young we think these things are awfully important when they really are not. One should carry on regardless but I didn't. However, I always kept my hand in, creatively speaking.

I spent most of my time enjoying myself to be honest. Lots of nightlife, dancing, parties, socialising, fancy clothes, hangovers and whatnot. I did all that for a long time. It would probably have been unrealistic to continue making art during that time anyway. Now I'm not doing all that stuff I'm more anchored and therefore have a little more headspace and quietness to work. It's still challenging though since I work part-time and that's a big chunk of my day gone for five days in the week.

What I'm trying to say is that sometimes things can work out (not in the way you expected, but in their own way) and you still get the reward of inner, spiritual satisfaction rather than glamour or material success. In some ways this is better because making art to make money can be a betrayal of one's principles for reasons of expedience and is generally not good for the artist or for the arts overall. This is one of the reasons we admire the art of children. It is because they enjoy the process without any of the other pressures that adults carry around with them.

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