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Many full-time artists felt the call to art from a young age and made the trek through art school.

Then, there is the rest of us.

I did not make much art until I was in my 40s. When I look back at my youth there was some foreshadowing of my artful tendencies. I obsessed over making posters with felt tip markers for a while as a teenager, and I won 2nd prize in a coloring contest in 7th grade.

Then there was the short spell of drawing I went through in my 20s when I lived overseas in Hong Kong. One of my friends, a tall Dutchman named Hans, watched me drawing and said, "That's pretty good. Not everyone can do what you are doing." I thought that was polite of him for I felt that my drawings were messy and incoherent. I did not bother to draw very much for the next 25 years.

I cannot know what my skill level would be today had I gone to art school or at least had kept up an art practice from a young age. It is tempting to declare myself a late bloomer, but I have the perspective that I am on time for all things in my world.

And so, as a woman in her late 50s who left a secure job to pursue full-time art making, I am somewhat of an anomaly.

I feel my lack of skill often, as well as my lack of credentials when I compare my art path to others who are similar in age. "Comparison is the thief of joy," said Teddy Roosevelt. I have to choose over and I over again Not to compare my art path with others.

Instead, I am grateful to Be Right Here at all.

Lately I have felt the edges of my skills needing to expand. I continue to self-determine my art training. I have joked with students that I attended art school at my kitchen table.

The thing I know is that it doesn't matter too much how or where I study. The development of an artist is through the miles and miles of Art Making. It takes time and practice. Just like being a musician. Showing up again and again... artists do not wait to be inspired. Inspiration is a fickle muse. Inspiration shows up when We Do. It becomes like a deep well that can be tapped into again and again if we just show up.

I just keep showing up.


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