Friday, April 03, 2009

All Passion Spent... Art or Family???

This film is an adaptation of Vita Sackville-West's 1931 novel. It is interesting if you go in for slow parlor dramas as I do. The gist of the story is that Lady Slane married for position and to please her family. She lives her life as a public servant's wife and does her duty beautifully, but only one man understands her and that man is someone who meets her once in India and looks into her eyes and knows that she has "sinned against the light" by becoming a wife and mother rather than an artist. Yep. Don't you get this all the time!?!?
Maybe back in the day, before disposable diapers you had to choose, but then there are the examples of Minerva Teichert and Madame Curie (who wasn't an artist I know, but still...)
Do we have time to pursue our passions and still be wife and mother? It is true that being an artist of any kind requires time which is difficult to find as a mother as you diligently do the things everyday that will bring your children success and happiness.
Hopefully a lifetime is time enough. Hopefully we have the time to raise a family and pursue our dreams. I find that being a mother adds a dimension to my pursuits in art, a happiness, that would not otherwise be there. Making art, whether it be canvases or sculpture a long side a beloved child is a joy I would not trade for a Manhattan exhibition.
In her book Things Good Mothers Know, Alexandra Stoddard writes, "As much as I respect the enlightenment of the Buddha, he left his wife and child in the middle of the night to pursue his inner search. But mothers can't leave. Mothers must pursue wisdom at home, in their daily lives, at the kitchen table." I know many women who do just that.. they pursue their dreams and goals at the kitchen table by carving out just a few minutes a day to better their art whatever it may be.
My own mother is a lover of art and all things beautiful. When I was young she pursed interests in art, French Hand Sewing, piece quilting, gardening, dress making, literature/reading, cooking, decorating and floral arrangement. She is the one of the most accomplished women I have ever met. She has unfailing taste, a true aesthete. She did all of that with 7 children.
In the end, I don't love this movie, because it doesn't ring true. You might have to give up some minor things... you might have to be less social than some would have you be.. you might have to say no sometimes, but there is time somewhere to paint and write... to study and learn. Small achievements every day add up to a large body of work over a lifetime. There is time for our dreams.


Circe said...

Amen! Who says you can't dream alongside a child...and make your dreams come true along with them. You are a great inspiriation for my kids and me.

michelle said...

I think my friends are great examples of this!

Jackie said...
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Jackie said...

Well put and I agree. My creative outlets helped me be a better and the things I gleened from my own mother are so priceless in this regard. We are richly blessed in our era though I do have to say. Artists like Beatrix Potter, Mary Cecily Barker, & Lousia May Alcott for instance and I can think of many more had such a hard time getting their talent published or even shared with the public due to the fact that they were frowned upon by society for not being wives and mothers only. They put up a lot of sponk and had the help of a friend in the right places to get their work out there. In the case of the artist of the Golly Wog she had to dress up as a man to even go to painting school. After that she didn't have a patent and her work was stolen. So you are richly blessed today.