I feel as if I have been struggling lately to find my voice, both as an artist and a woman. I know that I am also not alone. We are living in a time, in a country where many seek to silence the female voice. As a woman, and an artist in my 50’s, I feel at many times to be invisible. I have a lot to say, but I'm often not sure if there is anyone interested in hearing it.
As an artist, I have often struggled with the need to earn a living from my work. I have an absolute obsession with using my artistic voice for change, for accountability or to bring attention to the absurdities in our society. That type of marriage is not all that lucrative, especially if you are female.
While I love painting the occasional flower or bucolic scene, I often cannot repeat it because I find myself bored to tears!! I can only turn my mind off to the injustices for so long. I love beautiful artwork as much as the next gal, but I often ask myself, “Who cares about another field of flowers, what does it change? Who does it help?” I do get great joy, however, that my work brings great joy to those that collect it and support my work. My gratitude for their support is boundless. But…..
I am searching for that “thing”. That one a-ha moment that will tell me I am heading in the right direction. It is hard, as society seems to function as if women over 40 are passé, outdated and to be ignored. As a female artist, it is even worse. We have long endured the norms and societal standards created by a patriarchal society that tells us “silent suffering” is a virtuous occupation, because in the back row and silent is where they want to put us.
I am not by nature a quiet person or a silent sufferer. I believe in heroes and humanity. I believe in standing up for my convictions, even though it has cost me “sales”. I have a never-ending belief that I can make a difference. I cannot give up. I cannot stop. Despite repeated attempts by others in the art industry to silence my voice, I doggedly continue. I believe that my voice matters.
That is where I find myself now. At a crossroads. Looking for my voice while helping other women find theirs. I have been experimenting. Sketching. Seeking. Trying to find a way to give a voice to the silent sufferers, the invisible women over forty, to the pissed off and put upon, to those that have been told you are too old, too unattractive, too fat, too thin, too light, too dark, too tall or short, just “too”.
My kids tell me to give it up and I would be more successful as an artist. Maybe they are right, Maybe I should go back to bucolic fields of endless flowers, but who does that help, what will it change?
So, the work continues.