Life Is To Live

As an artist sometimes I have these moments where people approach me as if there’s something mystical about my ability to draw or the fact that it’s my passion. These moments tend to happen with people who are not artists or have yet to discover anything that they are interested in enough to make a living from, which is the thing now, you know, “Find Your Passion”.  Truth is drawing is one of the many things that I can do. It just so happened to be the thing I enjoyed doing the most to stick with it. Actually there are many other avenues I could have taken in life. I could have ran track or played soccer. I could have become a writer or a photographer. I could have become a psychologist, botanist or architect. Or I could have become a nun or buddhist priest. All of these things I did or had a strong interest in at one point in my life. I never knew with any amount of certainty that I would end up being an artist. I just knew that drawing was something I enjoyed doing. Matter of fact I had stopped for many years and it wasn’t until being laid off from my job and needing something to maintain my sanity that I started drawing again in 2010. So frankly, there’s nothing mystical about how this came to be. I could have very well have gone off to do something else in my life and nobody would have been none the wiser. Nobody would have been saying “It’s a shame Q. missed her calling.”

So in this climate of “find your passion” and “know your purpose”, I hate to see people get all stressed out over what they’re suppose to be doing in life. I have had friends lament about not knowing their purpose or not knowing what their talents are and it pains me to see their frustration, so here’s my two cents that I’m throwing in the pot.

The overall purpose to life is to live. That’s it. Now how you live is up to you but as long as you are living, you’ve got that covered. No individual has one specific preordained purpose to their life. It would be a tragic lot if we did. Imagine believing that you are destine to be a trapeze artist in the circus and you end up breaking your leg, unable to ever get back out  on the trapeze. Now what? Will you just sit around and spend the rest of your life pining away over what could have been? Unfortunately some people do. I understand we often invest a great deal into a particular idea we have about our lives and can become pretty broken if something gets in the way of that. I know I would be deeply saddened if I couldn’t draw any more. But the human spirit and mind are very adaptable. We can learn new things and find new joys, we just have to allow ourselves to be open to the possibilities. It would be a miserable existence to be locked down from birth to one purpose in life when life itself is a never ending constant of change. 

Talents are not magical powers given to some and not to others. They’re simply capabilities that we can either develop or leave undeveloped based upon your personal level of interest. Like I said before, the human spirit and mind are adaptable. You can learn anything that you are deeply devoted to learning. Finding your talent isn’t a matter of knowing like some kind of premonition, it’s a matter of doing. It’s in the process of learning and doing that you discover what you are passionate about, not before. So try things. Learn things. Do things and see what you enjoy. Once you discover what it is that you enjoy doing then see if you can find a way to make a living from it, if you are so inclined. But it’s not mandatory though. I know there’s a lot of talk going around that give the impression that doing something you love for a living is the best way to live. It is…if you’re willing to deal with the ups and downs. Having to pay your bills from your passion can be stressful at times and you also run the risk of actually losing your love for your passion when you have the added pressure of having to make a living. If you can find a way to manage the stress and pressure, then it’s well worth it. But if you have a comfortable job or source of income that takes care of your basic needs and you don’t really feel compelled to turn a “passion” or “talent” into the source of your livelihood, then don’t. Just because others do doesn’t mean you have to. Live your life in a way that best suits your physical and emotional well being. In the end, at least you’ll have an interesting hobby you can talk about at dinner parties. 😊

Art and Immortality

“The Abbey In The Oakwood” by Caspar David Friedrich 1810

My grandfather passed away last weekend. He lived to the rip age of 97 and with that many years under his belt, I can’t say that I’m too sad about his passing. He lived a good and prosperous life. He’s gone on to be with my grandmother to whom he was married for 50 years before she left this plane of existence. They both leave behind what could constitute as a small village of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s a sight of organized chaos when we all get together but we’re the living legacy of two beautiful people that I am proud to be a descendent.

Of all the grandchildren, I am one of the few who doesn’t have children of their own. This was a consciousness decision on my part that I have no regret in making but with my grandfather’s passing it has got me to thinking about my own legacy. While the memories and wisdom of my grandparents will carry on in those of us left behind, what will carry on of me when I am deceased? Initially I thought of art but not of my own but rather that of a few of my favorite painters, such as Casper David Friedrich. Obviously his work isn’t mine to claim a legacy to but I thought of him because he’s paintings have always been a symbol of solemn peace to me. There’s something about his work that makes me just…chill. But this artist, who I know no more about than what’s on Wikipedia and in the one art history book I’ve held on to since college, lived 177 years ago. That’s almost two centuries into the past. Yet he is still leaving impressions on people’s lives today. The thought of that made me realize that the things we create, whether it be paintings, drawings, poetry, stories or pottery, isn’t just our own legacy, it is also our own way of being immortal. Long after we are gone, a piece of us still lives on. It maybe some work that gets lost and then found again, something someone passes down through their family or something that many hold on to from a time now past, we still live on. 

I am fortunate enough to have created something that others have found enough pleasure in to make their own. I can not track the journey of the art I create once it leaves my hands but I find contentment in the thought that somewhere a piece of me will still live on. Somewhere, I am immortal.

Rest in peace grandma and grandpa. 

Life Without The Arts

“Persona” by Q. Rumbley

I have a little confession, something I’m not particularly open about but felt like mentioning, rather briefly, in a short post. At the age of 43, I can honestly say that I would not have made it this far in life without art and music. In some of my darkest and lonely moments it has been music that pulled me through. And in all the times when I’ve felt that there isn’t anything in life to live for or look forward to, I could at least turn towards drawing and feel some semblance of happiness, personal satisfaction. The Arts does something to the soul that neither medicine, science or technology has been able to achieve. It’s a mystery to me but I am most grateful for it and thankful to be one of the many people in the world who have found healing and expression through it. Which is why I find it deeply disheartening that when it comes to education and budget cuts, the first thing to go are the Arts. If it has been the only thing that has gotten me through some rough times, then I’m sure it has gotten many others through difficulties in their lives. So when a society starts to devalue something that is soul saving do we really understand what we are doing to ourselves in the long run? Now I really don’t want to get into a long treatise on the value that the Arts brings to society but rather I just want you to sit there, just for a moment and try to imagine with me a world without the Arts. Imagine a world with no paintings, drawings, music, dancing, theatre, design, architecture, decorative elements or fashion. Imagine a world where everything is manufactured and mass produced. Cookie cutter homes, manicured lawns, sterile clean walls, clothing that’s only functional, no style, no pazazz…just imagine a world with no human touch to it.

How do you think that world would be? Do you think that such a world is even possible? If so, are we moving in that direction?

Morning Snow

Midwest morning snow.

I woke to a winter wonderland this morning. I usually get home sick around this time despite being over 20 years removed from where I was raised. Not sure if I can still call myself an Alaskan but whenever the snow begins to fall I’m reminded of the land and mountains that nurtured my spirit when I was a child. My mother’s yearly “care packages” of moose, smoked salmon, king crab and Fireweed honey often beats back the winter blues, so I’m watching and waiting patiently for the mailman to bring me my box of treats packed with hugs and kisses, from the land of the Midnight Sun, that me and my other half devour like two little kids in a donut shop. It’s a yearly delight that I treasure as Nature draws another year to its end with the sleep of cold winds and blankets of snow before allowing another to spring into it’s beginning.