Friday, October 10, 2008

mothers of invention




an EXTRA special thank you goes today to the fabulous jennifer new, who published my artwork this week on her recently started blog mothers of invention. jennifer, who is also the author of drawing from life: the journal as art (a must read for art journalers), spun off the MOI blog from her series of excellent articles on the challenges that women face while balancing a creative career with the round-the-clock demands of raising a family. she is currently working on a book proposal to give the many creative mamas out there a much needed resource on how to manage those challenges.

jennifer's articles have put a voice to many of the feelings i've had since my first child arrived nearly six years ago. in her words i recognize the despair and resentment i've felt from having to abandon a great idea or cut short a creative process because someone won't take a nap, needs something, is systematically emptying out every dresser drawer in the house, or just won't let me complete a thought.

her writing has also made me realize how much of my creativity i owe to my children. the urge to create came and went during my pre-baby years, but never consistently, nor with much conviction or purpose. once my girls burst on the scene, so did my desire to create, and that desire fed on itself until it became an essential part of my life, my way of making sense of the world.

just watching my children grow and learn is creativity in progress. they constantly push me out of my comfort zone and i think that's essential territory for an artist to explore. they approach life with a freshness that cuts to my heart when i stop and take the time to think about what they're seeing and feeling. life is so new to them; they're trying to understand things that i expect and take for granted. they say and do things that would never occur to me. their interpretations of the world take my mind in unexpected directions.

my girls have also taught me to live in the moment. with children, there is no tomorrow, no yesterday, only now. because of them I've learned to pay closer attention to my surroundings because I have to, and I'm surprised by what I see and what I missed before. i create with an intensity and purpose that i didn't fully understand before they came into my life. recognizing the significance of those small moments has helped me to be a better mother to my girls as well as my art.

so thank you, jennifer, for your insightful writing on such a complex topic, and for bringing together such a diverse group of women to discuss our common challenge. we are parents, we are creatives - and in order to satisfy both of those worlds, we must be mothers of invention as well.

20 comments:

Christy said...

I share the same feelings you express here. You are such a wonderful mother and person to be able to step back and take a snapshot of your life like that. I think our lives are like rubberbands right now -- stretching to the limit. Always changing, often exciting, and frequently exhausting. Thank goodness for moments here and there to bounce back.

lfisher-writewhereiam said...

Gosh I'm so glad you posted a comment on Roz's blog. I'm SO saving you to my fave's....very creative, fun blog!
-Lynn

please sir said...

Great post - thanks so much for sharing this. I don't have children - still feel too young! But I do always question whether to have them...this helps put things in perspective.

soulbrush said...

fantastically interesting post. there are two things in life we get no tuition for...marriage and parenthood. and boy do we need it for both.

Kelly C. said...

a-mazing post. what a beautiful slice of insight, my dear. AND congratulations!!! AND THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
much love to you.
also, "buttered sofa".... LOVE it.

jess gonacha said...

wow, this is great, aimee. thank you for the reminder to spend the time enjoying each moment. it's so easy to forget. i love the idea of being a mother to my art. i'd never really thought of it that way. :)

daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Aimee. Your artwork always tells such remarkable stories that it doesn't surprise me that you'd have such a way with words, too. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've expressed. Remember that old "stop, look and listen" song from learning to cross the street? Such a metaphor for life with children!

Rick said...

Just doing a little blog surfing this morning and I came across yours. Very interesting art. You are talented. Thank you for sharing.

Bella Sinclair said...

Bingo. And very well put.

Congratulations on having your wonderful art featured. It was an absolute perfect complement to her written piece, so perfectly captured -- both the bliss and the angst. I read the MOI piece and was stunned at how dead-on it expressed what I was unable to put into words myself. And what you write is amazingly true, too. I feel guilty. A lot. I feel guilty for getting frustrated at the girls, for yelling at them to go to bed, for yearning to draw or do housework rather than getting on the floor with them to play. But when I do draw, I find that it's almost always about them and the all-too-fleeting moments of joy that I want to memorialize on paper.

My older daughter asked me why I don't draw more realistically, which I used to do long ago. But you made me realize today that I create children's art, because I now view life through their eyes.

You've inspired my STRINGS entry this week.

aimee said...

wow, thank you ALL for such insightful, thoughtful comments. it's nice to hear from both parents and non-parents on this one. this was an emotionally heavy post compared to most of my doodles. i really appreciate you all jumping in here with your perspectives.

welcome lynn and rick - thanks for stopping by - great to have you here!

Jennifer said...

Aimee: Wow, could I pay you to be my PR person?? Thank you for your great past and I love reading everyone's comments here. So good to know there is a community out there.

Any of you visual artists in the group who want to contribute imagery to MOI, please be in touch!!!! jennifernew42@gmail.com

xxoo - jkn

♥ Tiny Red said...

that's excellent aimee! and i really love her book :)

NANCY LEFKO said...

well said, Aimee....thanks for the insight. And enjoying the little things is so important....with my oldest almost 17 and knocking on the door of college, I wonder how many little things did I miss because I was so caught up in what I had to get done....but I still have a little guy at home (and a middle teen) so there is always another chance :) And they are ALWAYS inspiring....

steve said...

Yes, I love that book and my friend Eric, who hosts the "Journal Fodder Junkies" was recently contacted by her for his work.

I often think about this, if I ever have kids of my own. Working with them each and every day, for many years, makes me well aware of both the inspiration they can be, while also very time consuming and energy-sapping. In fact, I was talking about this very thing with my friend Matt (Three Crows Press blog) yesterday - how his kids can be a source of ideas and creativity, but how there are also all the realities of having and bringing up children as well.

steve said...

I forgot to tell you what wonderful works there are and how I give you all the credit in the world for being a great mom and a great artist!

Tomás Serrano said...

This blog is a WONDER!!!!!!

Megan Coyle said...

As always, I love the colors you used and your beautiful text. Seems like whenever there's a positive side to something there's always a negative. Thanks for sharing this, and congrats on getting your artwork published :)

Lola Enchanted said...

Hello~ Oh I'm so happy to hear that not every mom is perfect and would like to pull their hair out!!!! I am one of those hair pulling, wish I had my own life mom's!!!!! Very wonderful post!

Nicola said...

As always, it's wonderful to stop by your deeply sincere and exuberant blog!

aimee said...

thank you all for such wonderful feedback on this post!