Finding Balance

"The life you wish for is the very life you now hold in your hands,

if you are willing to shape it with the same care and attention that you bring to your art-making."

--Margaret Peot

The Successful Artist's Career Guide

Finding the perfect balance between Art and Family has been a recurring theme for me, threading itself in and out of my blog posts since I began this journey in September.  Now, with the school year drawing to a close, I have mixed feelings.  Of course, I look forward to long, golden summer days with my kids, playing and enjoying the sunshine.  But, on the other hand, I've been very anxious about losing my quiet personal time, when I had a regular routine of painting alone in my studio.  In the back of my mind, I've been worrying:

Will I have to put my art-making on hold until next September?

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I decided to do a "trial summer experiment."  First, I spent two or three hours each morning painting, while they amused themselves (fighting, television, legos, crafts...) which worked out pretty well.  They complained about being bored at first, but eventually they would come up with something creative. 

One afternoon, after a morning of painting, I took them to the mouth of the Bushkill Creek, just a short walk from my house.  Here, the creek runs into the Delaware River, and there is a nice view of Getter's Island.  I brought some snacks and art supplies, and told the kids they could play in the creek while I worked.  And it was very successful!  They had a great time squirting each other with water, walking upstream and tubing down the creek over and over again, and just swimming around in the deeper places.

I did a value study using Prismacolor "paint-tip" markers that I bought at Blick last week.

After that, I did a limited palette value study of the same scene, using two colors: burnt sienna and prussian blue.  I used watercolors instead of oils because it was simpler to deal with, but nevertheless, I think I learned a lot!

At the end of the afternoon, the kids and I were happy and exhausted.  I felt like I had been a good mom and a dedicated artist!  This experience gave me hope that the coming summer will be a good one!