Living ‘Kinda’ Old- what’s an artist to do?

-I was going to post an updated look at the painting in progress, but will do that in a few days.-
On Frontline, (one of the few redeeming reasons to still watch PBS) on March 17th, they are airing a program that I just saw online, called “Living Old.”
It’s by turns poignant, infuriating, touching, sad, and chilling. I also am a hospice volunteer which causes me to confront the way life happens to some elderly folks. Why am I ruminating on this in a blog that mostly has to do with being a painter?
1.  I still really really like painting- no that makes it sound like I like chocolate ice cream. More than that…. even if I kept filling up a room with unsold art, I would keep doing it, because it is deeply satisfying and challenging, and is my spiritual practice in a way- particularly when I listen to “Speaking of Faith” when I work on Sundays.
So, I’m not ready to stop.

2.  I look around my basement and see lots of good work completed, but in cold storage so to speak- it’s been shown in galleries, but then came back to me- and occasionally I get ruthless and start purging and dumping…. thinking- “there’s no way that I want someone else to have to deal with all this, after I’m gone.” Plus it makes me feel good to lighten my possessions.
(what do other painters do?)
And then there is this.. .
thankfully my 89 year old mom is doing pretty well, and my 21 year old daughter has her head on straight, works hard and seems pretty cheerful most of the time.  In other words, I am not needed on a daily basis as a caretaker now.

So…  I am conscious about trying to use my time well.  Making these years count.
I paint most days of the week, even though my knees get a bit wonky and stiff from standing so long. I try to exercise, and started jogging again. ‘Love to garden and swim in the summer, too.  I am also thinking of trying to land a part time job. After leaving the safety net (mindfield) of university teaching a few years ago, I have tried to position myself as a self-supporting artist.
Well, let’s be honest, very few of us truly are….. and now that belts are even tighter, it’s a slog to be sure.  I am hopeful that when construction/remodeling and art buying comes back to life, I will be ready with some great paintings.  And I also want to find a way to do meaningful work with a community of colleagues, and in the process, gain a little more security for my own old age.   ya never know

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About nerskine

I've been a painter for about 30 years. I also draw and make monotypes, linocuts and other prints. I like tangled stuff.
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