There’s a time to work, and a time to play. What happens when that hobby is also how you intend to make money? It can put you in an interesting bind. Commitment is the obvious answer, but what happens when you have other commitments too?
This is a problem that affects many artists of all lifestyles. As a woman and currently stay-at-home mom it can present some challenges that..while not unique, can have some very real societal shame attached beyond “art is just a hobby.”
There was an excellent documentary on the subject “Who Does She Think She Is?” where they go in-depth into five women’s stories and how art and motherhood can sometimes seem adversarial to their time. While the tone can sometimes be a little too “artsy” for me, I 100% agree that there’s this idea that a woman should lose herself to motherhood and many people interpret art as inherently selfish and thus incompatible with motherhood.
It was a message I received a bit while pregnant when I would speak with other people. I was informed by a few that there just wouldn’t be time for “that kind of thing.”
Well, my son is now 9 months and while it hasn’t been easy I’ve managed to get the Gryphs off the ground and still get some illustrations in. The digital painting posted below was done when Gabriel was 5 months or so, and there was a few more as well.
One of the things that inspired me was chatting with another professional artist. I was 4 or 5 months pregnant at the time, and Cassandre Bolan mentioned to me that the key to continuing art as a mom was to be selfish. Understand that not everything will get done and when you can you art. You art every moment available to you. It’s hard.
And indeed, it is hard. Sometimes you feel like a failure at all the roles involved. Sometimes the dishes stay dirty. Sometimes you feel guilty because you’re sitting in a mom group sketching in your sketchbook because you know that this will be your kid’s only nap today and you are NOT going to waste it. Sometimes you feel awful because 15 minutes just isn’t enough time to warm up and those last strokes in the painting felt all wrong.
But the thing is, mood isn’t something that can be allowed to hold you down. So what if you don’t produce your best work. Perfection is the enemy of the great. Produce work, and some will be good, some will be bad, much of it…welll….
But it will exist, and you will not have wasted the effort because your skills will be maintained until time is less a commodity. It WILL pass. Other people’s judgements be damned. You can be an artist and a mom. It IS possible.