As the years go by and we grow older, is there an essence that remains unchanged by age? When you strip everything down to its core…who are you?
I reside and work in Salem, I garden and swing my daughter at Pickman Park, I shop at Market Basket with an occasional splurge at Whole Foods, I explore various cultural and foodie places with friends in the surrounding North Shore communities, and at home I help my husband with English grammar and nurse my daughter to sleep after a day full of (toddlinggrabbingthrowinggigglysmileybabbleylittlemissindependantsnugglyhugging) fun.
I am a mom and a wife and all the crazy that comes with it, and I love it. So I hope you don’t take what I say next the wrong way:
Something is still missing. At the end of the day, when everything else gets stripped away, I am an artist at my core. Making art is my fuel. To create is what enlivens and fulfills me in ways that nothing else can. I don’t do it for anyone else, I do it for me– it’s my perfect form of therapy, and looks great on my wall. Of course it is an extra bonus to show my work in a gallery or to sell a painting.
Making art is a way for me to take a break from my everyday routine and explore the recesses of my own creative mind.
But my artist self had been hidden recently. Covered over with layers that are the responsibilities of motherhood, and the stresses of balancing work and home life. Lately I found myself slipping robotically into “Responsible Madelene Mode,” with a never-ending to-do list of self-improvement…and suddenly “making art” fell lower and lower on that list.
Problem is, I found myself moving slower and slower, and could feel myself starting to become resentful for no good reason other than the fact that I was neglecting myself and blaming others for it. It had been two years since I had painted anything and five years since my own art show– my last year of graduate school. It was time.
So when my friend and I discovered that the Porter Mill Studios were opening up a third floor of artists’ studios this past spring, we rushed over to take a look. Despite us arriving a few days after they opened, there were only two available when we got there–and there was a line of people after us waiting to view them. Of course we snatched one up!
The immediate reward: My artist self has a space she can call her own. It has been a long time since I allowed myself to fully connect with my artist self. And oh my. I have missed her. She is ageless, fearless and daring. She is full of memories and visions.
Am I in my studio everyday? Hardly. On a good week I am there for one half day and maybe an evening. Every other week I host an “Art Night” as a way for my fellow art friends to connect with and inspire each other. But I am making art again and I feel lighter than ever.
Does me embracing my artist self mean that I am neglecting my responsibilities as a mother and a partner? Or that I am not fulfilled by either of these roles? I would sacrifice anything for my daughter. I am in awe of her every day and I love spending time with both her and my husband. But all these roles and responsibilities are connected to my core. In a way, my daughter and my marriage are part of my creations as an artist. If I neglect my artist self, inevitably I would neglect them too. Of course there are countless ways–metaphorical and otherwise– to “make art” outside the studio, but it sure does help to have this creative space to do it. And one day soon, I hope my daughter will join me.
— Madelene Pario