Part 1- Artists Life- Downsides

One of my latest works in progress

( Decided to do a 3 part series in light of the fact that i think we are all kind of sick of talking about the pandemic- So, here’s something different for ya’ll)

I haven’t spoken very much about my life as an artist on here because,’s usually not a grand topic of discussion no matter who is listening. But today, you lucky people, i’m gonna expand on that mysterious topic – What actually is the life of an artist like?

Yeah, i know – you are waiting with baited breathe, right?

Let me start by saying i haven’t always been what anyone would call an “artist”. Sure,i colored in coloring books, did some drawings in high school , and even entered a few local contests ( albeit the ones my mom entered me in for coloring in the lines of a newspaper illustration to win a basket of candy or some such). But it wasn’t until 2009 or so that i decided to actually try to put any real effort into it. And it wasn’t until 2011 that i began pursuing a life consistent to the ‘stereotypical’ artist. It was the year i left my comfortable, stable, normal life of domesticity and strayed directly into the wild bohemian lifestyle.

Now, i was going to get into how that all came about, etc. But that isn’t the point of this post. What i really want to talk about is what i learned, and to dispel any mythical beliefs, and confirm others.

First of all -IT IS NOT FOR THE WEAK.

I learned rather quickly that you cannot just walk into a nice gallery and expect them to show or accept your work. Hell, you can barely get anyone to take you seriously unless you have been around for 20 years, belong to several ( paid) art associations, and have gobs of money and connections. And don’t even bother submitting work to well known art magazines unless you are willing to pay heavily for one small advertisement. Those featured artists have all of the above, plus are very very very good. Most also have art degrees from prestigious schools. I also learned that it is super easy to fall into addictive, destructive behaviors because it is oh-so-acceptable in the crazy artist world.

Ok, next- it isn’t something you can live off of -not for a long time or maybe ever. To this day, i know very few local artists who don’t also have to have a “real job” to supplement. So, no- you won’t be spending all day in the studio playing with your paints and having famous people “drop by” for tea and to admire your latest work. Generally, you will be using whatever bits of time you can manage to practice, using whatever bits of money you might have left over after buying Ramen Noodles for the week, and using whatever bits of energy you can conjure up when you are done work , chores, and errand running. If you have kids- it’s even worse.

And here is the part almost no one ever sees or understands. When you do get that time, money and energy it isn’t simply pouring a glass of wine, putting on some inspiring music and gloriously brushing the canvas in a passionate madness .

The Skinny:

It’s spending hours stretching canvasses by hand because it’s cheaper to than buying them (after you have enough used frames or recycled something like old window frames.) It’s using up old house paint because you cant afford anything better( thank god i haven’t had to do this in years).It’s spending hours painting edges, framing, and putting hanging hardware on .It’s painting in sub par spaces, with make shift props until you can do better. It’s cleaning out old paint jars, brushes, and surfaces. It’s stressing about how & when you will be able to get better materials. It’s trying to find storage for the oodles of pieces you don’t sell and likely never will. It’s looking at the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you have spent creating/practicing with little or no return, because , if you don’t do digital stuff- the amount of material waste is un-imaginable . It’s trolling internet options for selling your soul on the blackmarket ( for pennies on the dollar) on sites like Zazzle or DeviantArt just to possibly make a few bucks ( IF you want to spend hours creating and managing a page).It’s a roller coaster of depression, self sabotage, and reckless/destructive behaviors to cover up a deep self loathing that comes from barely EVER selling your work. It’s watching others sell pieces that you know you could do in 5 minutes with a crayon. It’s attending every event you can to get your name out there, and entering as many ‘calls for artists as’ you can find ( especially the free ones which are not easy to find). It’s being thought of as lazy, irresponsible, crazy, and sometimes, pathetic. And believe me , i could say so much more.

about 2012- deep in “the grotto”- a friends basement
it takes the edge off?until it doesn’t..

Now, i don’t mean to paint a picture ( pun intended) of a living night mare that never ends . Because if you get through these things and continue on despite the hardships- you can maybe, possibly, at SOME point start selling regularly ( whatever that means) . It means that eventually you will become known as an actual “artist” ( and not some loser that just wants to fritter away their life pursuing the meaningless).I can tell you that you will never forget the first time someone refers to you as an artist, it’s one of the greatest highs you will get along the way. BUT, the only things that are gonna get you there are: patience, practice, and passion.

The 3 “p”‘s.

And i find that this is true with almost anything in life. Whatever you want to become, you have to be willing to do all three to get there.

Call me crazy, but here i am- 10 years later- still doing those very same things.Everyday ( Well,almost).


The Unasked Question

two of the books given to me by my new love interest- amazing reads!

As i mentioned,one of the things that have come up in my new relationships has been the return of some of my old auto pilot insecurities. Another blogger brought to the table a question of what i think they are based on- a good question and when i read it, i knew i was already partly in the process of dissecting them.Thank You, Jim!

The conclusion i have come to is that most of my insecurities:

  1. happen when he leaves because then i start analyzing everything that was said and done. I may dwell on this for hours trying to find some reason to be suspicious
  2. happen when he seems more distant than usual
  3. happen when he isn’t as attentive to certain things previous partners have been
  4. happen when he says something odd , and i take it wrong
  5. or just happen for no reason at all except that i am tired, hungry, cranky or stressed

Mainly i know this- i am starting to realize how deeply ingrained this pattern is and how destructive it really is. It’s as if in my mind, i go back to another time or event that happened with someone else and start comparing it. I look for any and all red flags. Then i descend into all the possibilities.I both rationalize then start thinking “but what if..” However, in all honesty- NONE of those things have culminated with this guy the way they have in the past.

Let me give an example…in several previous relationships- when i noted that someone began getting more quite or distant, it turned out that there actually was something going on. Sometimes it was another woman, sometimes it was just them being unhappy with me in some way, sometimes it was because they wanted out but didn’t know how to approach it, etc. So, i internalized those events.Having these experiences time & time again forged an auto response in my head that i should somehow “prepare” for a disaster or heartbreak. However, this time around i have been completely “off” in those assessments. For instance once, he was just distracted with concern about his roommates family situation. Another time he was semi stressing about finding a new job. Funny thing too- he always bounced back the next day- right back to the normal attentive, adorable Benny i love.

What i am realizing in all of this is that my previous responses need to go away in order for me to see him for who he actually is, and not what my past experience tells me he probably is. Because , THAT is seriously unfair to both of us. And i know the whole thing is a pretty cliche issue, and that it is summarized by “Once bitten , Twice shy”. But that summary only justifies continuing down a path that does not lead to growth , nor does it promote trust or allow us to fully meet our potential.

a passage that really says it all

Now, for the title of this post. ( stay with me , it’s all relative).

This guy is extremely different than any other i have been with.He is a 2nd certificate Black belt in Kenpo Karate. So he has been studying the sutras , buddhism and philosophy, and being single for the last 4 years , has been able to focus even more on applying those heady principles into his life. He is also a scholar and a poet.And i have to humbly admit, way more advanced in spirituality issues. Sigh- trying to get myself over the fact that, not only is he a “man” AND younger than me, has been hard on my ego. But surprisingly , it has also been my saving grace.

I am learning to let things go along more naturally, not to assume, and to see things in a larger more compassionate way once again. This is something i have lost along the way in the past few years as i held on to old , stubborn patterns. Previously, i was very involved and acclimated to exploration of my spiritual self and i felt at peace usually- very Zen about the world and my life. I got off track at some point. But he has reintroduced this into my life.

The unasked question is what i realized we forget to ask ourselves about our partners on a regular basis:

“Is he/she feeding my spirituality in a healthy way so that i/we are actually growing?”

I have never before thought of this as an important consideration the looking for or being in a relationship but now i realize it is the MOST important.

How many of you have asked this of your current situation? If you have not, i now challenge you to do so…

Well, Hello there, insecurities….We meet again.

This is my face today- pick one…any one…

I don’t know about anyone else but the way things have been going the past few months has totally gotten me way off kilter. It seems to be an endless drifting in circles with an occasional side trip back into a box of some sort. In fact, i am even writing this raw- with no plan or much forethought , except to address the above topic as best i can.

Sometimes for me , the best thing to do is make a list of what thing are bothering me so that i can sort through them and ( hopefully) get to the root (s) of them.So, here goes…

  1. As i have stated, i am recently in a new relationship. Things have gone really well and honestly i have very little to complain about…but yet..lately..insecurities are once again surfacing. I loathe to admit it, but i am pretty sure they are in my own head and not based on any real facts.
  2. I’ve returned to doing more art. This has been good on a financial level, but defeating on an emotional one as i feel like i should be much more advanced in some ways by now. My art sells in spurts. Often i will do something i am very happy with and it doesn’t sell. Then i do a few that are barely even challenging and BOOM- i sell 4 or 5 in a short time frame. Some would say “stop trying so hard”. But i feel that’s not the answer.
  3. Transparency #1- i started smoking again. Its started as occasional in May with all the stress, and now its back to full-time. I am not even sure how i feel about it other than disgusted with myself and guilty.
  4. Transparency #2- sobriety- i don’t even know how to broach the subject anymore. I haven’t exactly had anything resembling a “relapse” but i have been very casual about it. I cannot as of today say that i have maintained sobriety the last few weeks, nor can i say it’s even close to the relationship of hell i use to have with it. I feel like i am on a carousel.I don’t exactly have any regrets as of yet, but i do start contemplating fears about it sometimes.
  5. We have a new roommate . There is always a break-in period when that happens. She is a lovely person and we feel she will fit in well..but only time will tell until we all adjust to the new dynamics.
  6. Finances- where to begin. Summer is always a tough time for me. I get less hours and have to finagle everything constantly. Hopefully the extra rental income will help and August will be more stable.

Suffice it to say i have a lot of wavering emotions going on. Nothing that is life threatening or the biggest issues in the world today. But those big worldly issues are certainly affecting the way i usually handle thing like the above. I wake up in an alternate universe daily, and am having difficulty arranging things in functional order. I am pretty sure there are many going through similar feelings and just want to say- YOU are NOT alone.

Right now i believe many of us are failing at keeping commitments, struggling to balance the never ending changes, and ,although somehow surviving, wondering how long it will last. I have no answers, but i see seeking and striving.

So here is a very BIG HUG for all of you…from my heart to yours…Love yourself, love one another, and never give up!


The “Other” Notebook

A while back i wrote a post about a little notebook i use for many many things on the daily- notes , lists, to-do items, jotting down phone #’s and other random info.This is still the case. I keep it on my person at all times because i never know when i will need it. I buy them at the dollar store( inexpensive) and they are small enough to carry in my purse.

But recently there is a new type of notebook in my life. This one was also bought at the dollar store (although i had considered investing in a higher quality at first given it’s importance). This one is a regular size spiral notebook like the ones kids take to school usually. But this one is truly special.

You see, over the years and through many relationships, i always felt that after the initial infatuation period, things just kind of fell into a rut and i struggled with constantly trying to resurrect some form of it, to re-ignite the fire, if you will. I tried behaving differently( more bubbly, more fun, more..anything), making more & more complex meals to please him, attending more interesting events together, new clothes, immersing myself into my partners hobbies, even playing more romantic music, having candlelit dinners, and new hairstyles. None of it worked of course, but i continued to delude myself that certainly, at some point, my partner would suddenly look at me and we could begin our romance all over again.

Part of this was uncertainty and insecurity on my part. After years of trying to pin it down, i came to realize that having no true “father figure” in my life growing up that i could honestly look up to and find and example in, i was stuck on some crazy cycle of figuring it out myself. I made many mistakes, some worse than others . I was extremely insecure. And , it wasn’t until i spent this last year totally alone that i was able to put most of the puzzle pieces together , admit where i had gone wrong, and have a real sense of what i DID and DID NOT want in a partner going forward.

One of the things i had to address was how to get around that feeling of “loss” when the patina of puppy love started wearing off.I had to find something healthy to continue feel connected to a partner, something that didn’t put a strain on either of us, cost a bunch of money and time, and still made us both feel loved and valued. Something not of a material nature, but rather a communication of our souls.

Now, i realize , not everyone has this issue. Some people know that the salad days of a relationship are inevitably temporary. And these people seem to easily slide into a state of security and find a deeper connection with very little distress or frustration. That’s the “normal” thing we learn about, and it’s what is called “growing” and “maturing” . I do not disagree with that as the gold standard, but it just doesn’t happen for me.

So the solution this time around has been one that fits both of us like a dream. My new guy is a self professed philosopher and scholar, as well as a poet. I love to write poetry as well, and indulge in other forms of writing ( like this blog). Writing helps me tremendously with stress and gives some sort of touch point for my feelings.

Here’s what we both agreed to do: Pass this notebook back & forth between us each time we see each other, having written either a poem or just a love letter to the other each time- with a date at the top. We have talked about how long it may take to fill it and if we would want to publish it when it’s full (as in, getting it made into a book, not really trying to “sell” it per say).I also have thought about what this notebook will say to my children when i am gone regarding the nature of “love” as well. So far it is working beautifully.

It helps me know that my partner still has loving feelings and thoughts about me. It lets me know that he has taken the time to write them down. I know that the words are original and from the heart.And that when there is a physical absence ( due to work schedules, etc. ) i still can hold these words in my heart and feel a sense of security. Down the road, if/when things start to settle and become more rhythmic, i can re read the words and know that all is well.

On the outside we have large blank stickers that can be drawn on, and we aren’t limited to only writing words inside either ( we are also both visually artistic) so that some times when there are no words, a hand drawn page of feelings in an art format. In fact, there really are no limits as to what can be included and that just contributes to it’s awesomeness.

Ok- yes, this may not be for everyone. And it is certainly something both partners need to agree on. I cannot imagine the additional damage it would do to a relationship if one partner was always pushing the other to write, etc and the other partner felt resentful about it or really didn’t want to do it. So, be sure it’s amenable in your individual situation. There are many alternatives for “keeping the love alive” over the years and i am always open to suggestions, especially since we are pretty much still in that infatuation stage at the moment.

So, i ask you- what do you all do to keep that spark going?

Snuggle Therapy

Snuggling…it’s one of those things you sometimes take for granted- whether with your children , grandchildren, pets or partner.

As i have begun a new relationship recently it has brought to mind the absolute benefits of snuggling. In fact, if i had to put my finger on one thing i missed most while being single it would be cuddle time with worthy partner. Fortunately , after years of going without this vital form of therapy, i now have (at last!) someone who knows how to do it right!

For me, it’s not just the show of affection, nor is it the expression of love. It’s the security and comfort felt when you slide right into someones arms like a well fitting glove and remain embraced until both of you are calmer , happier and more connected. And there is a right way and a wrong way to participate( these mostly apply to intimate partners and not so much pets).


  1. make sure your partner of choice actually wants to be held or embraced. There are times when it is uncomfortable or inappropriate. Gently suggest or ask if it would help first
  2. make sure you not wet/damp with sweat and grime( like immediately after gardening or working on a car in hot weather. This can be a huge turn off for many. Take a shower or at least a quick hygiene clean up.
  3. be aware of cues that someone is ready to stop- it may be due to pain, stiffness to even a hot flash!
  4. ask before you touch sensitive areas( hair,belly buttons, breast, buttocks,lovetc) .If you aren’t sure just say “are there any areas off limits?” Some of us have phobias.


  1. hold too tightly- this is definitely uncomfortable and can ruin an otherwise great therapy session
  2. try to make sexual moves during snuggling- not usually the time.
  3. have bad breath , dirty clothes , or smell like a brewery or smoke factory .
  4. fidget too much- it can turn relaxation onto frustration

I’m sure there are other suggestions as we are all individuals. And i realize not everyone enjoys this type of close, intimate contact. With small children we have to judge the appropriateness based on family preference, child comfort and timing- bedtime snuggles can go a long way with bonding while reading a bed time story or to calm a fussy toddler. For pets- they are either affectionate and wanting to be snuggly or they aren’t- use caution and do not ever force them.I know that should be common sense but you never know.

At any rate, i believe deeply in this close contact therapy for building relationships, repairing trust and restoring security in light of past emotional damage . It’s free, shows compassion and can be done on a regular basis without side effects and i truly think it can make the world a better place , especially during these trying times…

Namaste !