Have you ever been out of control; you’re on a runaway train, everything is zooming by and you’re going down fast?
The ride is exciting but you are heading for a train wreck.
This is what happened to me in the late ’80s. Youth and vigor was on my side and the art market was jumping. It was my time to strike ,and as a prolific painter nothing stood in my way. I was building up steam and running fast.
In those days everyone was a candidate for art. They needed art for their new homes, for investment and just for fun. And everything was right for making money in the arts. Sure, there was the competition but who noticed when you’re moving on and driven to succeed. They knew to get out of the way.
That’s when I discovered that it takes fierce brakes to slow down and stop the insane quest that I was on.
When people are buying it’s not the time to stop, but I was becoming dissatisfied and knew something was missing. I started applying my brakes. I heard an old familiar story that changed my heart and the way I was looking at the arts.
The story is about a king who was driven by fear and believed that he owned the throne. He fought to protect it. But time came when another man was appointed to take his place and sit on the throne. Anger, lies and deceit filled the king’s heart against the young man; the more he hung on to what he thought was his, the more evil he became.
The king had a plan. He would kill his successor and that would handle the problem. The young man who had a heart after God’s heart knew his calling. He waited seven years before the throne was given to him, but meanwhile, he lived on the lam, running from the angry king. The young man waited because he knew he was called; the king fought because he was driven.
I was also driven like the king, but something was happening on the inside of me. I was tired of painting what everyone else wanted — the whims of the interior decorators and the demands of the contractors. Then there was the gallery I owned and managed; I was losing myself and I couldn’t help it. The desire to have was not as powerful as the voice of my soul crying out.
At the top of my career I pulled away from the demands that were driving me into the ground. I fled to Pagosa, and began painting what I wanted to paint and soon got rid of the gallery and the big overhead. Interestingly enough, my market plunged and it came to a screeching halt.
Do I have regrets?
No, not at all!
Could I have done it differently?
I don’t think so. I had to change my mind in how I was looking at art and my life and I needed to learn how to wait for God’s call.
Hopefully I will heed the warning signs as I have been asked to write this weekly column in the PREVIEW for all the arts. The lesson I learned years ago still reminds me to wait for the call, enjoy the moment, proceed with caution and have good brakes.
The Final Brushstroke: One should look backwards, but live forward. Wait for the call.
Comments from readers
I am looking forward to writing for other artists like myself. We have graciously been given a place to voice our thoughts and concerns. Take advantage of this opportunity for artists to speak out. Send your comments to Bettyslade@centurytel.net.
“You must create your own world. I’m responsible for my world.” — Louise Nevelson.