Friday, March 25, 2011

Changes, Continued

Life this year has been so-o-o different from the life of the previous ten years. As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided not to continue as a professional artist; at least, not until I see a good reason to try it again.

So far this year, I've made almost no art. Instead, I'm spending a LOT of time teaching at the local community college: microbiology, zoology and a lab for a biology class intended for non-science majors.

Before, my days, nights, weekends and holidays were all about making and selling art...and that was it. Now, my days, nights, weekends and holidays are all about teaching and preparing to teach...and that's it. Next week is Spring Break, but it'll be no vacation for me. I've got lab books to grade and more lectures to prepare for.

I'm not complaining...well, not really, I guess. I'm certainly making more $$$ than I ever made from art.

But I'll have to admit: I'm looking forward to late May, when classes will be finished, the grades will be turned in, and I can collapse and sleep all summer. I know I'll miss my students: it's hard not to get at least a little emotionally attached.

But I'll be more prepared to teach those classes again in the future should the college want me to, and this summer I plan to make revisions and changes so the classes will be closer to what I want them to be.

And I expect to do more painting again. And (dare I push my luck?) pursue my other hobby/passion: model railroading.

The light is at the end of the tunnel. I've needed a break for a long time, and I'm totally expecting the break to come in late May.

I'm ready.


Karine said...

Hi Mark,

I have just been reading about your struggles as an artist. I can relate. It's a good thing, in a way, that you can teach. I am not sure I have much to fall back on, at this point.
No one really knows what the formula is for being a successful, selling artist. No matter what you paint - what your style is, someone is there, telling you to paint something else.

Mark J said...

Karine -- all the way around, that's very true. That's why I've decided to paint only what I want to paint. Otherwise, it's just not worth it to me anymore.

I'm still evolving as a teacher, but I'm glad I have the Masters degree in microbiology to fall back on. Right now, that -- more than anything else -- is what's enabling us to survive. I know of many artists who really have nothing else besides art to make a living on, and nowadays that's pretty hard, as I'm sure you know. But hopefully you're doing better with the art biz than I was.