Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Evaluating My Studio MFA: A Little Consideration

This will be just off the top of my head. The best I can do. The only thing I can do.

I set out this past March to make my own MFA program out of my studio, and I made so much progress this year.

You know… Considering.

Like, I’ve made good progress, considering that I had that bike accident and brain injury thing in the Spring. The recovery was good. I made use of my downtime to read & think a lot.

And, I’ve made good progress, considering that the Summer brought my boys home from school just in time for my almost recovered self to handle the responsibility, then I had barely any left overs to work on my art & MFA as much as I’d hoped. My desire to work was not at all satisfied by the hours & energy available to me to work.

And, I’ve made good progress, considering that one of my sons had significant school issues again this Fall. He seemed to be handling it. We seemed to be handling it. I squeezed in art-making time at home, cut down on social media time, did a tiny bit of art reading but chose art making more often than reading.

There’s so much considering to do. I’m at that point again. And I feel like the biggest whiner when I think about the kinds of setbacks that I’ve posted about on this blog for several years. The continued effort to make art despite one thing or another. It gets to the point where I start doubting my seriousness. Do I really want to do this thing? Because I seem to do a lot of whining, I tell myself.

But the thing is, I’ve made a lot of progress, considering.

Still, I want to up the ante on this whole “considering” thing. I want to consider that maybe even if life intensifies to such a degree that I actually take a break from making artwork, if I actually take a break from my Studio MFA, it doesn’t mean I’m a quitter. I can decide to sit down and rest, and I can decide to get back up to work. I’ve been thinking if I sit down, I’ll never get up again. Or that if I want to keep working, I can never sit down. As if I’m a helpless actor in this thing, as if, if it appears like I’m quitting, then I am quitting. But I know what’s in me. I have to make this work. I have these things to say. I have curiosity and determination and frustration and a desire to clarify my artwork to the point that it accomplishes the something that I’m trying to figure out. If I’m honest (and I try to be), I’ll say I don’t doubt that there is something in my work that is significant. To the art world? To the world? I don’t know that it matters. Will I ever articulate that wordless thing I’m trying to say with my work? Will anyone ever hear me? I mostly think I’ll have done my job as an artist if I manage to really really say it one day. Although, it would be nice if it turned out that my work (that wordless thing, that visual language) rippled out into the world endlessly, moved by deep currents under the surface… does that even make sense… haha.

I want to consider what I need as a human. I want to consider that what I need allows me to serve this little person I brought into the world, so I can consider what he needs, so that he can make it through this time in his life. He needs me to be at peace. And I want to be at peace. So… win win.

So, here’s to peaceful living. Here’s to making the most out of what I have. Here’s to knowing I’m still an artist even if I am not going to find that big block of time to focus on my work, in fact I’m not even going to try, because looking for that block of time and not getting it, it’s been driving a wedge between me and my work. I will find it when the time comes. It will come. I will find it. I will get there.

I’m going to sit down.

“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (from the Gospels.) 

(I knew there was a saying about considering and resting and this is the one that makes sense to me.)


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