I am an artist. I used to have a hard time saying that. It seemed presumptuous, premature, or like I was putting on airs. I’d say, “I want to be an artist,” or “I take art classes,” or “I like to make things.” Though it was as much a part of my individuality as almost anything else, it was a hard title to claim. Mother, daughter, sister, friend, of course. Student, walker, gardener, cook, teacher, sure. But “artist” seemed a designation for someone living a life far different than mine.
Even when I finally, after much practice and self-talk, learned to say, “I am an artist,” I half expected to be called out on it. Though I studied art for many years, and have a couple degrees to prove it, and though my work hangs in colleges, galleries, and many homes and businesses, I sometimes feel like an imposter. My life is pretty ordinary. My jobs have been simple menial labor positions. I don’t dress flamboyantly. Yet here I am. An artist.
What’s that like, a day in the life of an artist? Well, I can’t speak for others, but I can describe my day: today. I get up to an alarm, because I have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep at night. If I’m really regimented about getting up at a set time each morning, I find insomnia is not such a big problem. I have a regular morning routine that includes meditation, gratitude, drawing, studying, yoga and quite a bit of coffee drinking.
This morning, I had an appointment at the medical center. My cholesterol runs high; my thyroid runs low. Periodically, I have to make sure the medicines I’m on are doing their jobs. So, today I went in for a blood draw. I mailed a few letters and picked up my mail, then picked up my pre-ordered groceries at the store.
Home, I checked the news, then took the dogs for their first walk of the day. I carry a bag of kibble, to keep them close to me and to reward them along the way. I also carry my little electronic tablet. I have the Audible app, and listen while I walk. Right now, I’m enjoying A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.
Today, now that the lawn is mowed, was my day for getting the garden planted. I’m late. Not too late for Beaver Island, but late enough where I have to be serious about it. I am afraid Ruth Stout’s no-work garden plan is going to have to be set aside this year. It’s too late to get a load of straw delivered from the mainland. The straw I’ve used to hold in moisture and keep weeds at bay is on its third year in my garden, and losing its power. Proof is the prolific crop of weeds, covering the entire garden.
I pulled weeds: three heaping wheelbarrow loads of weeds. I cut back and pulled up blackberry brambles, worked up the soil, and planted six tomato plants and sixteen basil plants. And, on this day when I intended to get the garden done, that wasn’t nearly enough. I’ll have to get an early start tomorrow.
I emptied my compost into the big bin. Since the fire danger was low, I took the opportunity to burn papers and windfall. I put a load of towels on the clothesline, took the dogs for another walk, and came inside for the night. After getting cleaned up, I fed the dogs, made a big pasta salad and sat down to dinner. Then, remembered that Wednesday is the day I’m going to post a blog about art. Or, in this case, what a day in the life of this artist is like!