It’s funny how the universe works. I’ve been feeling directionless for some time now, having great difficulty figuring out why I’ve spent the last 35 years painting and why I should spend the next 25 or so doing the same. Am I not simply taking up space on the planet that could be used more productively by someone else? But… and this is a big but…. It’s who I am and it’s what I’m supposed to do. I’ve asked these kinds of questions many times over the years and at the end of the day I realize that I truly do know, from deep inside me, I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. The why of it is not something I need to concern myself with.
But how on earth do I keep going, just from a practical standpoint? I’m alone with only my art to support me and frankly, I’m tired. Very tired. And so I obsess about how to keep going. My solution was to find a way to get myself out of my comfort zone for even a little while in effort to shake up my perceptions. I believe that doing so will result in giving me a fresh approach to my work. With this in mind, I applied for an artist’s residency at Yaddo, an artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York.
I grew up in the area and ever since I was a child I dreamed about spending time in a place like Yaddo. It would be a month away from the demands of my every day studio life, surrounded by other artists from a myriad of different disciplines. I’m pretty isolated in my pursuit and as a result I haven’t had many opportunities to be immersed in the creative process alongside other artists. An artist’s residency seemed like the perfect solution! As intimidated as I am by the process and having to present myself to this prestigious program, I figured all they could do was say no.
Becoming involved with the Yaddo application led me to discovering USAProjects, as several artists who have participated in the Yaddo residency program have had their art projects funded through this organization. This is how I stumbled upon this concept of fundraising and it has given me the direction I’ve needed to move forward as I had to put together a cohesive plan for the work I wish to do.
But it’s weird, ya know? In order to raise the funds needed to support my work I have to reach out to my whole network of friends and supporters. I feel very strange asking for money. I mean, my loved ones have supported me spiritually (and in some cases financially) over the years which has kept me going through many a dark time. But now I’m asking for money outright and it’s truly not the most comfortable thing I’ve done in my life. It’s necessary yes, but not comfortable.
I guess when I said I needed to get out of my comfort zone, this is part of the gig.