A cartoon by Charles Dana Gibson shows the artist painting away while his wife or girlfriend waits nearby.
Balancing art with family can be a challenge. We artists owe a lot to those around us for their long-suffering patience. I understand how some artists need a separate studio, but I've always had my studio in the house, and I feel lucky that I could have my family around when I was working. Before we had kids, Jeanette would often read to me while I was painting.
|Jeanette Reading, 1985, Oil on panel, 8 x 10 inches|
When my kids were little I set up a play space in the studio near the painting table. We always had toys and art supplies for them, and they built forts in the attic storage spaces.
We brought along sketchbooks for them when we traveled as a family. One time in Venice the kids from the neighborhood invited them to join into their soccer game.
In the studio, when I was occasionally in "concentration-mode," and my wife or kids asked me a question that I couldn't focus on, I tried to explain that it was OK for them to talk, but that I couldn't respond.
It was pretty rare that I had to banish them from the studio, and that was usually when I was writing or concept-sketching or doing a radio interview. One time while I was talking to a paleontologist on the phone, I had to explain why there was a squeak toy going in the background.
Do you have a story of how you have reconciled the pull of your artwork with the needs of your family? Please share it in the comments!
Previously on GJ: The Muse and the Marriage