An Earned Reward

          I was given a talent, blessed with a gift. Bullshit. Most artists I know worked their butts off getting where they are. Driving through a blizzard on a freezing night to work on our drawing skills when we could stay home and watch Monday Night Football. Carrying our paints and equipment through a swarm of mosquitos, giving up a pint of blood to get just the right view of an old barn is rewarding - but still work. Sitting on a blacktop basketball court in a hundred degree heat at an art fair. Wondering if that big colorful snake coming towards us is poisonous. Having the friendly horse suddenly become a critic and kick my new french easel out of his pasture. Having a near finished drawing peed on by a squirrel I fed nuts to just minutes before. Getting a painting returned and finding the $800 frame demolished by Fed-Ex. You ask any artist about his work and you're bound to hear such accounts.
        I'm sure what ever one does in life there are ups and downs. I just want people who think being an artist is a simple and carefree life to know it just isn't so. Being any kind of artist takes work. I've put in tens of thousands of hours honing my drawing skills and have had hundreds of failures. I've also been blessed to have met some wonderful people, models who have become life long friends. I've also learned a lot about things outside the world of art. I've been invited to paint in some amazing gardens and to sketch at Polo matches. I've done portraits of children who have passed on and dogs who were family members as much as children are. I've had doubts about my art and been amazed by my own works, many ups and downs along the way.
           I, like most artists, have discovered things about myself through painting. Artists open up to one another, same with models. While working the generation gap is bridged along with culture gaps. The homeless crazy man isn't so crazy, he just has a different perspective on life. The work that goes into a painting connects us to our subject. It isn't always so easy getting a vision we have to a canvas. We struggle along at times and coast at other times. That gift we are given is really an earned reward.