Monday, October 26, 2015

Motherhood, Arts and the Balancing Act

Hardly a day goes by when you won't come across the debates over the work-life balance. Whenever career, choice of career, staying-at-home, working part-time or anything inbetween is mentioned, you are presented with a plethora of views to support your opinion about what balance means.
This discussion often ends right at the point it begins. Each side supports and defends the choices that they make for themselves, by option or by circumstances. And that, in fact, is the answer to the debate, that - There is no right choice because the decision is subjected to personal options or/and lack thereof. And yes, there is something called the balance but its dynamics are defined distinctly by the individual.

Barring the workaholics - the people who choose work over anything else - rest of us can define and enjoy what we call balance. It may not be same as another working person but its your life and you choose to decide what gives you happiness. Your goals and achievements are your priority and their success is determined by the efforts we put in.

My decision to become a full-time artist was not predetermined but a series of happy coincidences that slowly took the shape of reality.

I was a hobby artist all along. Starting the journey as a kid, like most of us do, I was fortunate to receive support from family and friends. Then came a really big moment. I got discovered!
In a really big way. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, we lived in a small countryside in hilly area of India. During Summer, we had a chance to host an accomplished and very well respected artist from out-of-town. He noticed my passion for arts and made it known to my family. He felt that I was artistically blessed and had a naturally exceptional talent. With those words, may he rest in peace, he filled this little girl with unstoppable confidence in her abilities. That day on, I was never ever questioned about what I drew, painted, or created. My art supply requests, big or small, were always entertained, with equal, if not more excitement as towards the academic needs.

Knowing, you have it, makes everything possible. And that's what happened. I drew more often. Challenged myself more often. And whenever the  doubt arose, his words quelled it there and then. he had returned back to his hometown after spending a few weeks but his words stayed with me to date. In coming years, I started to set my goals higher and I cannot thank people around me to encourage to keep going. Although I didn't get any formal art training,  I received ample chances to access the best resources to learn.

Fast forward to marriage and kids. After my children were born, I came to realize my priorities needed to be changed. And that helped me choose motherhood over nine-to-six job. And around this time came an opportunity to learn in a classroom setting. I took the class offered by the local community college. I have no words to describe my joy to attend an art class!

My first ever art class made me think and practice in a way I had never done before. The semester end grade confirmed my passion in a tangible quantitative manner. It also cleared the way for another class that I took in painting. About this time, I had my work accepted into the year-end show. That could be called an exposure. I had won some school/college level contests, but this one was different. I got accepted as an art student! That opportunity laid the foundation of my decision to paint full-time in the coming years.

By Spring of 2014, I knew I was ready. I had no doubts on my capability, I never did, but the idea of working full-time in this field seemed frightening and yet welcoming! I am just so glad I chose it. It was the right decision and the timing was just right. Since that day, I have been making art and hoping that my purpose of life would become a reason of delight for others.

People often ask me how I make time to paint despite young children. I say, its not despite, its because of the young children I could fulfill my dream. Motherhood is a blessing and the responsibilities of being a parent come first! It is a choice and a very satisfying choice. Motherhood not only helped me follow my dream, it always brings a sense of meaningfulness into the artmaking.  It, naturally is a favorite genre to create. Some of it I share with you all and you could tell its created by an artist who is a mother.

With all this ado, I share "Mama Sheep" with you:

 Thanks for reading. Wishing you all the success in chasing your dreams!


Fran said...

Beautiful! I changed my work priorities because of children as well. I understand completely.

Bhavna said...

Thank you for making time to read and comment.

Children are a blessing and source of enormous strength and inspiration.
Investing time on them is the best gift we can give to ourselves.

Wish you all the best!