April 29, 2014

What came before today (or my life before now)

A few people have asked me about my journey to what I do. Well here it is. A little bit more about my life before today.

 Life begins when you want it to. When you decide it to. That’s what I have always believed. When I was at art school,l life turned on for me in the studio, turned off each day at my necessary job. Off and on off and on each day. When I started my little art school twenty years ago I had been making paintings for a gallery and creating a children’s clothing line most every day. It was a frantic rhythm to keep up with the pace of selling work. I also had two little daughters who loved to create. It was an exhausting time where the creative switch was on but way out of balance with my life.  Time marched forward and the rhythm of the family interwove with the rhythm of my blossoming little art school. The clothing line production fell away and the art school and my own art had a stronger footing and less crazy pace.  The creative - life switch was on and humming smoothly.

There had been something in place, that kept my life switch on and kept me reaching deeper for more. There were really difficult times personally, divorce and doubt. There were all the things good and bad and really bad that having a family and career at the same time bring. But there was finally a pace and the practice kept a fire burning in me. And my daughters were thriving and growing into young women with passions of their own. There was balance restored and art was saving the day – every day.

I found love again with someone who shared my passion and complimented it. We began our life together in our first gallery among our families and friends who continue to support our creative endeavors and dreams. Our little art  school has grown by leaps and bounds and now has three teachers and classes and workshops most every day of the year. Switched on and deeply rooted in our creative life, I have been blessed for ten years to be doing what I love with someone I love. We have sold art work together, written three - (and now our fourth) books and photographed them together, juggled design clients and produced a film festival together. It works. It is fun and it is hard work. Every day. What makes it worthwhile? The students, the clients and the satisfaction our creative process brings them. Making something intangible or tangible. A feeling of peace at the end of the day.

One of my favorite things is connecting with adults who want to make that spark glow a little brighter.  For the past two years I have been working behind the scenes to make a special retreat for people wanting to deeply connect to themselves, their art, nature and other creatives. This past August our Art {retreat} Camp – ARC - was finally a reality. It was the most satisfying art experience that I have had with a group of people. There was creative joy each day through simple processes and a peace that came with it for everyone. Music was made, colorful messes were made and much creative conversations from so many different views that it was remarkable. Each person was able to reconnect with nature in it’s quietest form alone and with others. We are continuing to grow ARC in August 2014 to deepen the experience for many more people.

It is through this deepening of commitment - to throw ourselves out into the great creative beyond - that we find fulfillment as artists. I am deepening my commitment to teaching this winter by offering my classroom experiences and books online in Painting, Mixed Media and Printmaking . It will be exciting to reach out around the globe to share my expanded lessons from my Art Lab for Kids books to a version for adults wishing to deepen their artistic skills by play and practice. 

 It’s a good life this creative one – but for me it’s best when it’s challenged and changing and that always comes by digging a little deeper. 


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written,Susan. Thanks for sharing this moving story of your journey. Am looking forward to the retreat!

Susan Schwake said...

Thank you Cyndi! I look forward to the summer retreat as well!