Balancing Act. 11"x14" acrylic on canvas by Jennifer Broschinsky.

Balancing Act. 11″x14″ acrylic on canvas by Jennifer Broschinsky

I’m having trouble this week with feeling like making my art is an indulgence. Even though I have A CONTRACT to fill.

I know. A contract is work and needs be done, and working on it is FAR from an indulgence. And I am super excited about it.

Still, for some reason this summer In getting the nagging gremlin whispering at me every time I look at my easel: “This isn’t where you need to be right now. Your kids need you, and there is other Real Work to do.”

Which is right. The kids DO need me, especially now, when they are vulnerable, malleable, ready to be guided and shaped… by others, if I’m not there to help them myself. And the house needs cleaning, and the laundry needs folding, and the garden needs weeding, and… there’s always something.

This… is especially hard in the summer months, when time making art is time not spent with my out-of-school kids, doing summer things. They have a limited number of summers, and I want to help them fill those summers with good memories and building good character.

Soon enough (less than a month now!) they’ll be back in school. And I’ll have a full six hours to focus on my work and my business. But while they’re home, I still want to instill in them that when I am at the easel or on the computer, I am working, not playing.

But aside from that… I need to remind myself that the work I’m doing as an ARTIST is important, too. It is NOT an indulgence. Aside from the fact that when I create I’m happier to live with… there is the hope, there, that someday, somewhere, what I say with my art will have meaning for someone else. That maybe it already does. That I make the world a better place through this simple act of creation. That I make it somehow more whimsical and fun, as well as beautiful.

I was also reminded by friends on Twitter that… my kids need to see me working. Need to HELP me work. As my friend Maggie said, they need to see me as a full person, not just as a caretaker. And I reminded myself that they none of them are toddlers anymore; they can stand having some unsupervised time now and then. (Twitter buds, you’re the best, by the way.)

I am still working through this in my mind… because all those things are true, but it’s also true that there is laundry, and my husband is both taking and teaching classes and has little time to step in and help, and our financial condition is what you might call Interesting, which precludes the hiring of babysitters right now… Our extended local family have lots of summer things going on, and everyone is busy. But I’ll get it worked out. I still have 11 months to get *shudder* 24 paintings done. And I’ll do it, by hook or by crook.

Because this is my job.

And maybe if I repeat that to myself often enough, I’ll believe it.