In defense of my life…I am a painter

I decided today that I am a painter.

Last week, as I registered for school I struggled with balance between work and school.  At it’s simplest…I feel guilty to be going to art school.  I feel guilty and even silly to call myself an artist.  Who gets to decide that? I am not a very good artist, yet. Maybe I will never be.  I don’t know.  The guilt is not helping.

Give up the guilt? If it were that easy.  When people learn I am in school they ask, “what are you studying?”  I know  they expect me to day something practical, like nursing or accounting.  I know they do because they have told me so.  When I answer art, there’s a pause, then nothing. And I try to explain…’pipe dream”, “always wanted to do this”, or worse “I know it’s not practical, but…”

I am ashamed of my lack of conviction.

But this morning, as I stood at my easel, painting cold white figures, the oil was warm on my canvas and every stroke was living and new and right.  Right in a soul confirming way.  This is what I am supposed to be doing.

In that moment, I decided, I am painter.  I am over forty and I have been painting for less than a year; I have no skill; I have no idea how to properly clean and care for my brushes, I’ve never stretched a canvas, or finished an oil painting,  but I am a painter. I am a painter.

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