On Being an Artist

Karen Gadient as a Young Artist by Karen Gadient, 2015

As the two-year anniversary of my mother’s death approaches, I’ve felt more and more that I need to say something here:

I’ve hardly written fiction in the last two years.

I’ve always loved art and words. For years, I’d considered myself as much a writer as an artist. I’ve got several completed novels to show for it—all in need of serious editing. I think I just had to get those books out of my system while I struggled with my mother’s illness and other life stresses. I needed to write. I still do, I suppose, but not as a career. It’s a passion and personal—and maybe I’ll write more often if it stays in a journal.

I’ll publish some stories eventually, with covers worthy of them… but for now, they’ll be lovingly placed in the proverbial writer’s trunk. I’m fine with that.

Hopefully, my writer friends will understand. Besides, I’m still—and always will be—a reader! And a writer too, but for myself.

The last two years have changed me for the better. I’ve steered back toward the drive that unites my family, most of whom are artists. In the process of creating fine art, I’ve also rekindled a love for design, which is my actual paid work. I’ve discovered new things to love about the creative process and I wake up every day excited to tackle my to-do list.

My office is now my studio. It’s the best room in the house.

My mother would have been proud. She was an painter and graphic designer herself, before she lost her sight to macular degeneration.

For the first time in many years, I feel absolutely certain about where I’m headed. It’s wonderful.

So, there you go. I don’t post a lot of truly personal stuff online, but my readers here are friends and friends share the big moments and changes in life.


Filed under Art, Blogging, Career, Color, Creativity, Decisions, Family, Fate, Friendship, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Love, Painting, Writing

47 responses to “On Being an Artist

  1. Adorable! Thanks for sharing. You are fine artist.

  2. This is so good, Karen. I know there is nothing like the loss of a loved one to make life and the whole world clearer. I have had to make the same choice between writing and visual art, and in my case chose writing…. not the therapeutic writing of my constant and private journals but a serious commitment to serious poetry, which is an art itself, and quite more than simple self-expression. I wish more writers/artists could regard what they do as the serious joy of true vocation. I’m so glad you are finding it!

    • Writing was clearly the choice for you, as you have a wonderful way with words. Your poetry always moves me and stays in my mind long after reading/hearing it. Your comment brought such a smile to my face. Thank you, Cynthia!

  3. Jay

    Creative outlets ebb and flow. When you divert one, it goes to another, I’ve found. I hope yours continues to help with your grief.

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us, Karen. Writing, for me, is helpful when I can’t find any way to say what I’m feeling. Even though I seem to write all the time, there are long periods of time when I feel like I just can’t. I enjoy your works of art, each one is a beautiful expression of your talent. I just want to say that I’d be honored if and when you ever decide to share your writings with us. *hugs* ♡

  5. I LOVE that, Karen–to know you’re headed in the right direction. That’s priceless. As is the picture of Karen, the young artist.

  6. Wow Karen, I’m sure mother would be proud. I completely understand about keeping the writing to yourself. I wrote for years before I ever started blogging. By the way thank you for encouraging me with photography. I always did enjoy it, and it has recently added a whole new dynamic. I really love your paintings. Peace my friend.

  7. Very happy for you that you’ve found your true direction. That is a rare thing.

  8. Woot!… I ❤ the pic…. So lovely! …. All the best to you! Aquileana 😀

  9. If your writing is anything like s good as your art, I’m sure it would be worth posting

  10. This is a wonderful post Karen – and a lovely photograph. Your eye for colour and form is present even in that early picture. You have come back to where you started in one sense, which is fantastic. Your mum did a wonderful job to encourage you and get you started. Keep going! 🙂

  11. That’s wonderful 🙂 Brilliant picture 🙂

  12. Has it been two years already? Wow. *hugs* Hooray for things looking up!

  13. Wonderful post, and wonderful prospects.

    It’s sad that too often people expect grief to take a certain length of time, and we ourselves feel as if we have to get it over and done with — when in reality grief takes as long as it takes. I’m glad to hear that you are working your way through it. My only word of caution is be careful about throwing yourself into activity at the first sign that grief is breaking up — more than one friend has plunged themselves into depression by “trying” too hard too soon.

    I’m glad to hear you feel a sense of direction — it’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. 🙂

    As for writing: writers write. Whether or not anyone reads. It’s just something that we have to do. Publication isn’t an issue (unless you’re relying on it to feed yourself); it’s the writing that matters.

    But creativity knows no bounds — and switching from one media to another is not all that uncommon at various points in life. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Peter. 🙂 I would actually say my grieving process was more during the years of watching her illness progress, not now.

      You’re right, though: during that time, I threw myself into writing because I could no longer face being an artist when that was what she had been and she was so sick. It was less painful to spend those days doing something unrelated to her–plus my writer friends offered mental support in a time when I needed it most, whereas I had no artist friends at that time.

  14. Beautiful story, and that little girl is now growing with her creation
    Your mother can certainly proud of you Karen, you’re an artist. keep it up!

  15. Thanks for sharing your positive outlook. I certainly think that the loss of a family member really makes you re-evaluate life’s priorities. And great to see a lovely little KG too.

  16. How cool was that to post that pic. 🙂

  17. I enjoy your art and understand about your writing…love the photo 🙂

  18. You are so talented. Your mother would be so happy to see you sharing your talent with us.

  19. Look at the passion in your expression! Lovely 🙂

  20. Your mother would be very proud.

  21. I wish you had the time to do everything you love to do ☺️, creativity is just in you waiting to bubble out 🍀

  22. Wonderful post. And I love the pic of Karen the young artist! Thanks for sharing with us!

  23. Firstly, I love that picture of you…haha….you look so enthusiastic for art!!!! Thanks for sharing the little Karen with us! 😀

    I’m so pleased you have found a greater interest and comfort in art and also finally moved into selling your art, that’s quite an accomplishment. I know people who are great artists but they are still waiting to get themselves onto the internet. I keep telling them, life is too short to wait that long. But I have to remind myself, not everyone can see their own talent or potential and can feel quite nervous about sharing their art or writing. It’s not until you meet people like that you realise you are more confident that you ever thought!

    I can imagine your office/studio is the best room in the house!! I’d love to have a separate creative room, but living on my own, it doesn’t matter so much if my ‘creative stuff’ is all over the place and about to trip me up – I can only get annoyed with myself! 😉

    Can’t believe it’s two years since your mother died! Time goes so frighteningly fast. My mother died thirteen years ago, and my dad eight years ago, really doesn’t feel that long. Interesting you mentioned your mother lost her sight, my mother did too. Another thing we have in common. It’s bad enough to lose your sight, but when you are reliant on it for something like art, that must be double the devastation. And it’s hard on family watching that happen, all of sudden you are the mother to your mother, at least that’s how I felt at the time. My mother coped extremely well going completely blind within a couple of weeks, all down to a brain tumour. Something I have written about like yourself in one of those unedited novels, but only barely touched the surface of that time in one piece of fiction on my blog. I think it’s been too emotional to go deeper, but I should one day, because it’s life, and I do like writing about life, the good and the bad. Just think of the talent and life experiences there must be in those many unseen novels!

    A blog is an ideal place for personal stuff, so share away when you feel moved to. Thanks for sharing another piece of you Karen, and I’m sure when the time is right for the stories, you’ll know what to do with them. 🙂

    • Thanks, Suzy. 😀 I knew when I found that picture, it was the time to write this post!

      Oh, I’d imagine my home would be full of art supplies and books and teacups and cats if I lived alone. It’s much more in control with David around. We each have our own space for our work things, too.

      Yes, time certainly flies. Next year, it will be thirty years since my father died. Even that feels like yesterday. It hit me the other day that I’m definitely mid-life, even if I live to a ripe old age.

      Blindness is hard. I feel for your mother (and you). It took many years for my mother to lose her sight, but it’s a traumatic thing to lose; we experience so much through vision.

      As for words, you’re definitely on the elite list of friends that I’d share my writing with, even if I never publish any of it. Hope you’re having a lovely week!

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