Early summer brought with it a pause in my work. It was the longest I'd been without work since I started my illustration career over six years ago. As a freelancer, I prepare for slow times financially, so thankfully it wasn't devastating for us in that way. But I am glad things have recently picked back up. Going through the slow time, I was panicked at first. It was so long between calls that I started wondering if my career and flourishing time as an illustrator was over. Maybe I'd had my heyday and it was time to move on. I knew that I could be doing personal art to keep the art juices alive and maybe attract work, but I'm still not in the headspace to do much of that. Veda keeps me on my toes during the days and I have been pouring my creativity into other avenues (homemaking, cooking, kid stuff, yoga, etc). Making art for myself just didn't make it to the top of the list, surprisingly.
After a while, the panicked feeling about the situation subsided. I started to settle into all the simple daily things that make up a well-lived life. And it actually felt good. If my time as an artist was up, I was at peace with that. Really. I came to see that I had my whole identity wrapped up in my title as an artist. Some people struggle with being ok with calling themselves an artist. I'm the opposite. I struggle with NOT calling myself one. It's what I thought made up my core. But that wasn't the case at all. The space of a couple of months without work gave me the realization that art was just a small piece of my penelope pie. Sure, I still loved doing art, but it wasn't what I was going to look back on and cherish in my life when I was on my deathbed.
So where am I now? Well, work has picked up so I'm doing some of that. (I just rocked out a piece earlier this week that made me fall in love with art again.) I am also enjoying the spaces in between. I'm doing a lot of yoga. I'm preparing for being a substitute teacher. I'm playing and running and getting dirty with my baby. I'm selling my house (hopefully). I'm gardening in a small way. I'm reading lots of good books. I'm getting together with friends for movies and margaritas. I'm traveling. I'm baking bread and making elaborate meals. I'm taking a step back. And most of all, I'm enjoying my new perspective.
I'm not an artist. I'm a whole lot more.