I'm savoring the feeling of six weeks in which my calendar is nearly empty and I'll have time to fully focus on my work and tie up some unfinished computer projects and such. (Taxes are the blot on this pleasant scenario--but will soon be done.)
This coincides very nicely with the beginning of spring and my favorite time to be out poking around in the garden. So I'm feeling pretty relaxed with the present situation. But I can see that after mid-May, my life will become intensely busy with workshops, exhibits and other travel, right up through November. It's all great, exciting, wonderful stuff, but I've had moments of doubt when I look at my calendar and consider what is involved in each event and trip and exhibit. Yesterday when yet another opportunity arose that I intend to say "yes" to, I asked myself (as have several friends and family members) if I am taking on too much.
But here's the thing. I've been working hard for 25 years to achieve the recognition and opportunities that are now coming up, and I'm gratified and thrilled at the way things are going. There is nothing on the calendar I want to erase (although really, I should probably stop adding to it!) I'm aware that things could get overwhelming though, and I have been thinking about how to pace myself and handle the stress that I can already sense looming.
Although I'm framing this as a personal issue here, I know that a lot of other artists go through these times--they're such a part of the ongoing challenge to achieve success (however we measure it for ourselves.) In my experience, saying yes to every worthy opportunity--and then figuring out how to make it all work--is a very reasonable approach. Certainly there are times when energy and resources are stretched beyond comfort level, but the rewards are huge. (I'm not a workaholic or anything, am I?)
I find inspiration in a quote from my late father (whom I miss greatly.) Once when I was little, and upset over having a bad day, he told me in a kind way that "a day is just what you make of it." This stuck with me, and seems both comforting and challenging--true parental wisdom. So my answer to "is this all too much" is that it will not be too much if I don't make it too much. Which is where the challenge comes in of course! I do believe that we are all capable of doing more than we realize. But there must be a quiet center to return to in order to keep stress under control. This is what I am going to cultivate in the weeks ahead, my down time.
The painting above, Rosebud
, 24"x24" is one of my recently reworked paintings and one that feels upliftingly like spring to me.