beauty and choices

beauty is found in the spaces
beauty is found in the spaces between,
mixed media and encaustic on cradled birch, 8×8 inches

Although the three of us were sick and had to cancel all of our Christmas plans outside of the house, we had a very nice Christmas. I also celebrated my 32nd birthday yesterday. A big holiday, a birthday and the end of the year all seem to lead me to think about this past year and to what is ahead. These past few days being cooped up in the house I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of what I want for this next year. I had felt like I was in a dilemma-choosing between my art and being mom. But I think the dilemma was more in my head than anything.

This year has been amazing, in terms of becoming a mother and watching and helping Noah grow and thrive. It’s also been an amazing year in terms of painting and getting my work out there in the world. I created A LOT. I still can’t believe it when I look at my database of how many paintings were made this year. And sold too! I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this.

And yet…there is a toll. I am exhausted. We don’t have any help, and I don’t want to hire anyone to watch Noah. I am not open to any type of daycare for him until he can talk and go to the bathroom and communicate to me what his experiences are. I don’t trust anyone to take care of him as I would. Besides, I want to take care of him. I want to be there for him.

But what about my work? I am fortunate that I don’t have to leave the house and work. With my income from amanobooks I used to be able to be able to cover important expenses such as health insurance, medical bills, college loans, business expenses, and other miscellaneous bills. And even though I’ve sold quite a bit of paintings this year, my income is just a fraction of what I used to make selling my journals. So, yes, it is my work, yes, it is income, but no the health and security of my family does not depend on my income. It used to in the the earlier years when I first started my business. But now, not so much.

So, why am I killing myself to further my art career?
1) I need to paint for my sanity. It’s me, it’s who I am. There’s no way out of that.
2) Ego? Something to prove to myself?
3) Self-worth?

But really, years from now- am I going to look back at these years and think wow in 2008, I made this painting and it got into this show or it sold, etc? Or do I want to look back at this time and think of Noah’s first steps, creating memories with him, spending quality time together as a family rather than me running off trying to get work done in the limited time I have on the weekends? I am proud of my art accomplishments that I made this year and I wouldn’t take it back. But I think I need to take a breather. Or more like, give myself permission to relax a bit.

So, I think that not much will change except that I am going to put less pressure on myself. If opportunities come up, I will not turn them down. But my focus will be more homebound, family-centered.

I am not giving up or letting my dreams go, they are just on hold for just a little bit. I will keep on painting and creating. I can’t stop anyway. And I will try to do little shows here and there- local things like coffeeshops or stores. I will do some open studio sales as well. I have a series of paintings brewing in my brain. I will work on that. Slowly, steadily. Letting it unfurl at an unhurried pace.

I am lucky. I have a choice. And I have a husband who tells me that he wants me to do whatever makes me happy. And if it turns out that in a few weeks or months that I start to lose my mind and I need to get more studio time, then we will juggle our schedules again. Because if “mama isn’t happy…then no one is happy”.

It’s all about balance. I’ve been teeter-tottering, holding up as well as I can. And I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. But teeter-tottering all the time is not the healthiest way to live. This next year I want to be filled with laughter, health, and creativity. Growth. Contentment. True balance.


  1. Hope you don’t mind me commenting, I found your site via a link from The Altered Page blog.
    Oh my, this piece is utterly gorgeous, it has a wonderful serene quality about it. Actually all of your art pieces are really beautiful.

  2. You remind me of myself at 32. I was just realizing that this ‘art thing’ of mine was too important to ignore, it had to be dealt with or I’d go nuts. But with three kids under ten including a baby, it couldn’t be first priority. A supporting husband was a big plus. What I’ve learned is this: life is long but the time you have with your kids is short and can’t be put on the back burner. Your art will bloom in it’s own time, just be ready.

  3. Oh Brigette, I love this one!! It so etheral and yet down to earth. Perfect title. Hope you and yours enjoy working out that balance and have a New Year that works for you! smooches, leau

  4. thank you nikki and azirca for your comments! I really appreciate it.

    Hi Angela~yes, balance is the key. Otherwise everything just gets out of whack. thanks for your comment.

    KJ- thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. It really helps to hear your words. I’m actually going to put your comment in my handwritten journal so that it is handy. I will be ready…

    hi leau! thanks so much for your words and I hope you have the very best new year too.

  5. Another gorgeous piece! Happy Birthday and Happy New Year too.. your art is too important to put aside, yes make time for Noah of course,your family is your priority as it should be, but you need “you” time too. Making art keeps us sane through all the hard times. I think if you put it aside, your fingers will get itchy in no time and you’ll be back in the studio.


  6. I understand where your head is at! But you CAN look back and bask in the accomplishment of last year’s body of work (when you thought in March that you weren’t going to be able to produce much). A show in Florida. How cool is that? But you know all too well that that baby will grow up too fast.
    BTW, another lovely image! And all those cradle boards on sale at Daniel Smith right now! : )
    May this coming year be filled with wonderful blessings!

  7. Thanks Dawn for the belated birthday wishes.

    Thanks seth, sonya, jaihn, and jo for your comments about this piece and my blog!

    Thank Joanie for the wishes. Happy new years to you too! I know you are right. Art definitely keeps me sane and creating is part of being “balanced”. I am looking forward to pushing forward with my artwork this year…just at a less frantic pace! 🙂

    Thanks Paula as always for your words of wisdom. You and Raine and Leah all know how unsure I was back in March. I cant believe I did it! woohoo! Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement. Wishing you the very best this new year.

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