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Far from pleasure, and nothing simple about it – Simple Pleasures #6 of 30

I spent the day second-guessing myself, and it showed in every stroke. There was no ‘pleasure’ and there was nothing ‘simple’ about it. Artists, like gamblers, should know when to quit.

“Do you really have time for this today? “NO, you don’t, but you made the commitment, it’s an experiment, good or bad – go do it,” I said to myself. My mind drew back to the kids at home alone, the condition of the house, the afternoon plans… “Who is this for? Why did I commit to it? “What am I trying to accomplish? What do I want to say… and who cares anyway?” Agitated thoughts bombarded my brain as I headed toward the studio.

Maybe that would have been a good time to turn around. Or perhaps, a good slip in the paint would show me a better perspective.

I had two peppers, one sweet, one hot. In a gastronomic way, this is a pleasure. In a metaphorical way it sums up my life – polar opposites vying for attention, in a constant struggle for power.

I thought of the reasons for this move. There were many, and not all of them pleasant. The good fairies did not whisk me away to NJ, fate did. I needed to make it work. Staying put was not an option, and consent to failure was unacceptable.

I left with paint, two kids, a lien-free car, and the promise of piloting my own plane. I followed my guts to the only place that seemed logical. Home. There was no physical house to go to, no old neighbors to reconnect with, and no parents whose wing I could rest under. There was a sense of something basic and secure in the landscape, and I was desperate to taste that again. “Home” is a state of being. I know that. Location is secondary, but I needed some extra-sensory encouragement.

To my kids, this was an adventure. All the opportunity of the east coast, the big city, they asked for it, they were on board…let the games begin!” Yet in the space that I have come to find “home,” they seem to have lost theirs. And for today, I struggle with the unfairness of it. I’m saddened that I can’t fix it for them. And though it may make me seem the tyrant, I’m exasperated over the idea of trying.

The heaviness translated to my palette. There was no dancing, no simple pleasure. Every decision I needed to make with paint slugged on, changing direction, questioning. One stroke after the other, vacillating thoughts turned my color to mud.

An artist, like a gambler, should know when to quit. The obligations of my day forced it, and I was glad for it. I returned late in the afternoon only to add a few marks from a more peaceful perspective, but all in all… the struggle reads.

A friend advised that I should limit the work I put on my site, as people may see the weaker pieces and consider me a “spotty” painter. From a marketing perspective he may be right. From a human perspective… show me an artist without spots, and I will show you only half the artist.

Sunrise on the Hill – Simple Pleasures #5 of 30
Simple Pleasures… 1 of 30
Natures Course – simple pleasures #3 of 30
Lemon – Simple Pleasures #4 of 30
The Sugar Jar -Simple Pleasures #2 of 30


4 Responses to Far from pleasure, and nothing simple about it – Simple Pleasures #6 of 30

hi kelly. what a wonderfully honest post! i so feel your ambivalence and stress and understand it personally. i admire you for painting anyway, in the midst of it all.

i haven’t yet looked at your artwork but if you have questions about a piece, one idea is to talk about it, like here, on your blog. i agree that people like to see the whole artist, the struggles we go through to create.

moving is so hard. but the kids will find friends and adjust eventually. be who you are and do what you need to do. it’s clear you are a brave woman. Ger

Posted by Geri deGruy · via · 126 months ago

hi again. as i look at your blog further, it’s clear you do just that!
i admire you kelly. best, ger

Posted by Geri deGruy · via · 126 months ago

I totally disagree with your friend. If this is one of your so-called ‘weaker pieces’ then you have nothing to worry about. I empathize with your pain but I still like the painting.

In all honesty, your writing is what hooked me into following your blog. The paintings are gravy. So please keep writing, painting and sharing!

Posted by Sandi Macdonald · via · 126 months ago

Hi Geri and Sandi – thanks for the nice words! It is always nice to know that someone reads this stuff (other than my incredibly diligent Mom). I will keep doing it all. It’s very cathartic, and I fear twice the knots if I were to stop. Today proved to be a much lighter day, full of simple pleasures. Sometimes a full nights sleep is enough to shift perspective, and a flowing day at the easel is always a good thing. Welcome, and thank you for being here. Kelly

Posted by kelly sullivan · via · 126 months ago


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