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A Moment of Truth
A Time of Decision: No More Commissions
Today I received a call from the neighbor of one of my last painting clients. The image above is the project she had seen and which sent her my way.
This was my penultimate commission. The truly last job, for another neighbor, was smaller and so, I consider the lemon tree dining room my swan song. It was painted in 2013.
Today’s caller was looking for someone to complete a small hand-lettered panel, something I could do without access to my studio—still piled high with the consolidation of households.
I turned down the project.
I haven’t touched a paintbrush in nearly 10 years. I long to make visual art. It is hard for me to decline. I’m like a puppy presented with a new toy at the mere mention of paint. I hope my inquirer finds the right person to implement her vision, but, my days of commissions are done.
I’d rather keep my day job and paint what I want to paint—if I can ever dig out my studio.
The thing is, 95% of my lifetime of paint has either been for the stage (my first love) or by commission (my third career). I have so little to show of work from my own muse that I don’t even know what Ms. Muse might do given the chance.
I’d long ago decided that when I do get back to painting, I intend to play and explore, unhindered by waiting clients. Today’s call was a chance to make that decision firm for myself.
Don’t get me wrong. Serving others with hard work pushed my skills. I enjoyed the challenges, there were many satisfactions, and my multi-project clients became my friends. But I have a limited lifespan and I need to find out what I might create if left to myself. I sometimes wonder what I might have accomplished if I had still been painting for the last ten years. But, in that case, I probably wouldn’t have been writing. With my other responsibilities, I did well to chip away at one thing. So, I try not to spend much time on second-guessing.
In my perfect world, I will write and paint, bouncing between the two all day long. In the meantime, I will write at 3 a.m., work the day job, and dream of paint.
But no commissions.
In future posts, I will show you the few muse-based paintings I completed—back then.
Meanwhile, may all your skies sparkle.
If you’d like to see my original write-up of this mural project, including planning, process, and before/after shots, complete with slide show, you can check out my old blog here.
What thing have you quit to make room for another? Is there something you’re dreaming of getting back to? Do you have a plan to get there?
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