Posts Tagged ‘Work-Life Balance’

Through the years of art study and my creative professional career, the topic of whether making art was work or if focusing time and energy and financial resources toward art really constituted a job or “work”, has popped up quite a bit. I’m sure I am sensitive to it because I have struggled with the fundamental reasons it is asked in the first place. How can doing what you love be work? How can one say they have a job when all you’re doing is having fun?

You see, many people associate art-making with a hobby or activity that we did as kids and a luxury for many. Recently several of my painting students commented that they didn’t realize how hard it was and assumed that it always came easy for me. They thought, like many who think there’s a magic happy pill out there, that taking a six week class would give them all the techniques they need to be a skilled painter.

But isn’t that how it usually is when we see someone passionate about their work? Don’t they make it look easy? It’s become intuitive for them, they are comfortable, which leads to confidence and a productive work ethic. But like any relationship, the one we have with ourselves as artists is a daily balancing act and requires nurturing and yes….work.

I struggle daily with my work/life balance, especially having three different jobs to manage, a quilting of income streams that is paramount to any artist’s financial success, let alone to satisfy the artist’s tendency to have several projects in the works. And I don’t mentally or physically work efficiently in a 9 to 5 construct. Creative energy comes in waves so I work on other aspects of art-making in those down times. The flip side to that is I suffer artist guilt if I’m not actively in the studio or at the easel. One way I overcome that and enjoy time with friends, exercising, doing the things that don’t feel like work, is to think of myself as always being on the job, that being an artist is 24/7. There’s not a time clock that gets punched when I become the working artist, it’s just an essential part of my being.

I know I am not alone in this struggle, it was brought back to mind yesterday as I was reading a blog post by one of my favorite artists working right now, Nicholas Wilton. It is refreshing to get a peek into his process because it is so relatable. He so eloquently shared his struggle with this issue, art as work, I literally thought I was reading my own thoughts.

Check out the post here, it’s worth the read.


Wilton’s words are personal and ring so true. I realized this struggle essentially makes me feel vulnerable, to judgement of course, but also to choosing hard, hard work. I could choose a different way of life. I could be making a lot of money, I’m sure if I had chosen a different career path. But at the end of a long day of teaching or working in the studio, the choice is quite easy, I choose joy.


Orion Rising, Acrylic/Mixed Media on 4 x 4″ canvas.


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