View Full Version : Artists / Parents

Alí Irizarry
03-14-2000, 05:17 PM
This message is for all artists here that are parents too (specially mothers). Maybe I'm writing it to take all this out of me or seeking for some support http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I have a two years old boy (la luz de mis ojos). My husband (an artist too) and I were planning to move to NY to make ours MFA's, but the week after we applied to the universities we discovered I was "miraculously" pregnant. I cried and cried, but anyway I have always wanted to have two kids and that their ages were not too separated. Also when I get 30 I'll have one in 5th grade. But it is actually really difficult to be creative and to keep some time to paint when one have to find money to pay the daycare and all the bills and the etc,etc.. that come month after month (and this does't fails). When I had my first kid I painted 'till the last month, but after he was born I had a creative block that lasted one f*#@$*g year. Right know I'm trying not to get blocked, scketching, planning, but I know that thin line is right at my side. How can one work in what one wants to work when all this worldly things come and sticks inside ones brain??? How do you deal with it? Or how you did when you were starting your career like me? Well, finally we decided to stay here for one more year, and I hope I can work in my portfolio to make it strongest for the next year applications. And just to make it clear, I'm not the kind of person that could sacrifice his/her career (in this case passion) for having kids... I think one can work with both of them (thanks God for day care). The contrary would be suicide (my point of view).
Well I feel a little refreshed, and if you let me I could keep writing three more pages... Thanks for your company http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Alí http://www.artistnation.com/members/lofts/vallah/index.html

[This message has been edited by Alí Irizarry (edited March 14, 2000).]

03-14-2000, 05:57 PM
For what it is worth - I know that it is possible to have a family and a career. We have three kids, and both me and my wife have been able to make succeful business careers.

Just some advice; I think it is important to plan ahead - how are you going to share domestic work in your family, when and howmuch daycare will you be using, etc. Formulate this plan with your husband - even write it down. Towards the end of the pregnacy, and the first couple of months after there is little sleep, and hormones have their own way to screw things up. It is easy to forget the plan; think you are "trapped", and that you will never get back to work, that whatever state you are in will continue forever. When trying to work you may feel that you are ignoring the kids and guilt will prevent you from doing any good work.

Let each thing have it's own time; concentrate on it and make the best of it. A bit like painting actually; let each phase of life be a painting - do the best you can and finish it before you start the next. Do make the plan and execute on it, that is the best advice I can give.

03-14-2000, 07:52 PM
Yes, Ali, it is hard to find the balance in all our lives. I know I still do find it hard to carve out creative time. There are so many demands and so many things to get done that are those necessary things.

What I have found to help me is to schedule personal time. Also...if you are going to continue to make art your living...you will need to schedule your creative time just like you would if you were leaving for a job. At first, you might feel that you are not making progress but don't change your schedule. In the long run your family will appreciate you because when you are with them it will truly be for them and you will not be thinking about the art you should be doing. You will be able to give them quality time just as you give your art quality time. You will be giving your children a wonderful gift. The gift of seeing a loving mother because she is happy with creative self and happy with her family. Hope this is understandable. This is what has worked for me and my son who is now 24 tells me that he never felt that I should have stayed at home all the time with him. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif He enjoys me as Mother as well as the artist in the family.

03-14-2000, 08:16 PM
I just wanted to post some words of encouragement. I have 3 kids (all boys) and somehow have managed to continue with my art career, although it has not been easy. Now that my boys are older, I bought them sketch books and we spend time together weekly going on sketching trips. This gives them time to spend with me and helps me at the same time! I like what Henrik and Llis said, very true both of their posts!! You just have to be organized and schedule your time carefully, but it is possible! I just completed my college degree, while working and taking care of the kids, so I wanted to tell you it is possible, just takes alot of work!! Good luck!


Alí Irizarry
03-14-2000, 09:23 PM
What you said in common? ORGANIZATION, the perfect but the most difficult word (for me, a completely disorganized person... exaggerating a little bit). It would be perfect to separate few days in the week, or few hours a day to paint, yes, that's what I need to do... Only that I hate when that other things interfere with my time (having to frame urgently for a client; that's what we do to make money). What I need is a private studio place where I can escape and where nothing interrupts my work. I'll beg to my granma for that room she's trying to rent...
And hey, Henrik, you really seems to understand your wife (and the hormonal changes women have). http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
I hope our plans to have a trip to Holland on April get real, so I can have a one week vacation of motherhood before all that hard time arrives. And I hope I can see that time as a phase in my life, not as an entrapment...ufffff

Thanks for your words,

03-15-2000, 03:38 PM
My two children are 21 months apart only.

The few years it was like having twins (two babies in diapers, car seats, etc.) BUT now (she's 6 1/2 and he's almost 5). it's WONDERFUL! They are very close and play together constantly.

I found I had to "train" them, in a way, to be creative and a little more independent with their time. When they got a little older, I didn't let them rely on me totally for suggestions of "what to do". Pretty quickly they began coming up with their own ideas and now they rarely ask me "what should we do"? This was good for them as well as me!

I LOVE Henrik's reply (awesome man!). He is so right! You can't force your way out of the kind of life you live those years when the children are babies. BUT you can still find times to paint. You have to MAKE it happen. Don't back off. Your husband MUST be involved. It's better for him and the kids too.

But I also remember what those earlier times were like. I DID feel trapped. You have to get outside of the house on your own. It's a necessity. You'll be a better mother (and artist) for it!

And remember, they're only babies for a very short time really. Soon your son will prefer playing outside with his friends instead of inside with mommy... Hang in there!

Best wishes!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Cindy Agathocleous

"What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience?" - Rollo May from The Courage to Create

[This message has been edited by cagathoc (edited March 15, 2000).]

03-15-2000, 11:18 PM
I have to agree, scheduling is key!

My kids are 18 months apart (3 and 1 1/2). Cindy, you're so right -- feels like twins! Thankfully they have a decent schedule and I can depend on my time in the evening when they get into bed. I also get some practice sketching them during the day (I'm convinced toddlers are the fastest most challenging subject around, lol). I love Paula's idea about getting them sketchbooks of their own, I may borrow that one in a few years!

It's a real challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

03-16-2000, 03:08 AM
I have three kids, a boy who is 8 in April, and twins(girl and boy), who will be 7 in July; they are 16 months apart.
I have been painting for about 10 years now, and my boyfriend has built me a studio, but it IS hard to find the time when the kids are small.
I also work 8 hours a day, and I am often too tired to paint in the evenings. I also want to spend some time with the children. But one evening a week, I go into town to paint with a group. We paint in about 4 hours. (I could go on all night when I get started, but the others wants to go home to sleep....)
Maybe I´ll have to wait till my kids get older before I´ll become a real artist, but the dream is there - It would be wonderful to be able to paint all day, or at least have only a part-time job, and paint a few hours a day...
(My daughter Amanda is really a talent in art. I am supporting her as much as I´m able to. She has already painted some pictures in oils. Maybe we could have a studio together when she gets older...)


03-16-2000, 08:55 AM
For what this is worth. When I was in Boston I asked several women artists about this. They both said that it was very hard for the first few years until the children were safely in school. Then they had the entire morning to paint. There husbands, even professors, had to attend faculty meetings, etc. And never had much time to paint.

As a former professor, I got up early and painted small gaouche (opaque watercolor) paintings before I went to teach. That set me up for the day, thinking in a painterly way. Based on this experience, find a technique which is able to be used in small units of time, and with easy clean up.

Good luck! Art is impossible! Unless you are willing to do unusual things, art can't be done.

God Blesses!

03-21-2000, 11:07 AM
My art, a stubborn child
that never seems to grow up.
Willfully intruding
into the uninvited corners
of a chaotic day.
Demanding more from my heart
than I could ever give
even in a thousand lifetimes.

My child, my creation.

Ali, you are not alone in this struggle. There are many of us who have survived, and grown stronger...

03-21-2000, 03:39 PM
I, too, am dealing with juggling a small child, time for painting, and a small measure of guilt.
My darling daughter is now almost 1 year old, and now needs even more constant supervision (she's mobile) than when she was tiny. She's also so interested in exploring everything, that I can't rationalize plopping her in the playpen just so I can get time to draw or paint.
At night I'm usually too exhausted (still) to stay up and paint into the wee hours. I feel that I am making no progress at all.
I love being the primary caretaker for my little girl, but I often get the "itchy fingers" where I want a handful of brushes, a loaded palette, and a primed canvas. <sigh>
I guess I'll just have to wait until she's older and we can share "art time" with each other.

03-21-2000, 04:02 PM
I understand how you feel. I am the most disorganized person anyone I know has ever met. I do, however, manage to know where I am on all my projects, keep up with 4 Kids ages 2-9. It is VERY hard sometimes. Scheduling is the key if you want to keep your sanity. I home school all 4 kids. I work in Advertising from my home and still am able to find time to at least sketch just about everyday. Sometimes that's just not possoble. I get overwhelmed all the time. This is perfectly natural. Esp. with young ones. My 2 middle ones are 17 mos apart. I thought I would go crazy. As a matter of fact I think I did! :-)I had a block for almost 2 years. It was horribble. What I finally figured out was that it WAS possible to paint or sketch and raise a family. After all it takes quite a bit of creativity to keep the littles happy. Right? It's not easy. It DOES get easier though. Keep yourself positive. One thing I did that worked very well for me before we moved was to make a screen and screen off part of my living room. We didn't have room for a studio so I had to make do. Trying to paint w/o it became a chore and I was so desperate for some privacy. It worked. Please don't forget naptime either. Miracles can happen in that short period of time! If you are going to be using day-care that will help enormously. I also have gotten my kids sketch pads. I also purchased them each one of those little cheapie artistkits. They were only about $5 ea. and they come with pastels, colored pens, crayons and watercolors all in their own carrying case. We have art lessons and go out to the parks and sketch. My 2yo and 4yo even try. Yes, they make a mess sometimes but they clean up really well. This has helped them and me. My 6 and 9yo's now want their OWN time to sketch! We now have "Artist's Hour". Everyone settles down with their favorite medium and sketch pads. While they are being creative and QUIET I can do a little work on my own projects. Now with the littles they DO want to show you their work CONSTANTLY> That is something I am still working on. OK so the dishes sometimes have to wait until the next day to be washed. I haven't had any run-away on me yet!! Don't stress over not having the house "perfect". Work out some sort of chore division with your husband. That will help alleviate some of that. Oh yea I just turned 33 so I am still very young. :-) It can be done, don't lose heart!!

(Forgot my sig.! )

[This message has been edited by Fritz (edited March 21, 2000).]

Alí Irizarry
03-21-2000, 05:40 PM
WOW!! Hey, Mon, I really admire you. 4 KIDS!?? WOW! I've tried to make my toddler (2yo) paint with fingerpaints, but what a mess... So I think I'll stick with crayons only for some more time. And I loved the idea to some day take him and the unborn to a scketching trip to the park. It's a beautiful image, if they don't run away, of course. Yes, I'm still very young (23yo) and I feel sometimes a little desperate to make everything right now, specially when I see Michaelangelo's first "Pietŕ", made when he was my age http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
And Blackbird, wow, your words were so beautiful and so real you almost made my pregnacy hormones function and cry http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif Are them yours? I would like to copy them, so if you are the author, please, tell me your name so the credits go to whom deserves it...

Alí http://www.artistnation.com/members/lofts/vallah/index.html

[This message has been edited by Alí Irizarry (edited March 21, 2000).]

03-22-2000, 01:14 AM
i don't know how old you are, but you sound very young. i'm 45, and my children are 11 and 7.
i think the 1st thing you have to do is stop thinking that it all has to be done today. at such a young age, there will be time for it all, and what you learn through the years will only help your art to mature. your work is wonderful.
use your time to watch your children, now when they are babies, sketch or paint whenever you can, and don't worry about what will happen 5-10 yrs down the line. as others said, before you know it,the kids will be in school all day, and when they come home ,they'll want to run out and play with their friends. by catering to them for the few short years, we make it easier for them and us in the long run. use this time to show them the beauty of art and nature, and to nurture yourself.
when i was 20, i thought i had to make it as an artist by 30. i now know that's not true and we can't see into the future.

03-22-2000, 03:25 PM

yep, their mine part of a larger piece published in Art Magazine a few years back. I'll send you info.just as soon as I can figure out how to do that...if you know how email me so i can reply.

Still figuring stuff out..

03-23-2000, 02:55 PM
i don't have kids...it takes very little to distract me. everything must be in order. the ambience in my studio must be just right. if i have to do something like take out the trash, the mood is broken. i yell at my wife to take out the trash herself. walking ten blocks exhausts my mental state. i must be totally at one with my area. if i had to do the things everyone else does i would never get any painting done.

03-24-2000, 03:10 AM
wow, do i ever feel guilty! I don't have children & have a wonderfully supportive husband who didn't bat an eye when i told him that i can not work because it interferes with my painting time. I still feel like there's not enough time because i have to clean, cook, shop, do laundry etc...after reading about the trials of rearing children & trying to paint/draw i may never complain again! My hat's off to you ladies & my husband would thank you...

03-24-2000, 03:13 AM
by the way, Bruin, you always make me laugh! if my husband asked me to something like take out the trash while i was involved in a painting session, he'd be eating it for dinner.He doesn't cross the threshold of my studio unless he's invited in.

Alí Irizarry
03-25-2000, 12:34 PM
Yes, it's really stressing when one wants to paint and your partner wants you to do another thing or, in my case, starts arguing about what I should be doing in MY work. It happends to me too often. And yes, I YELL!! But, of course, when he is the one who's full of inspiration... At the end the trash stays where it is 'till the next day. But when it's about kids you HAVE to take care of them and to give them time. One does it with love, and the yells are taken to another room http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Hey, that would be another interesting topic: Artists married with Artists. It's really exasperating, and the fights sometimes turn to be surrealistics, really weirds. I love the communication and the understanding but I really hate his critics of my work. Specially when he makes them in the middle of a session. "Me saca por el techo". Maybe I just can's see them objectively...
And by the way, thanks blackbird for the poem!! I love it http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif


03-27-2000, 06:52 AM
I think we may be missing the whole point here , are we talking about art or love and understanding. We are all human, we need time on our own ,we need our own space,we need some privacy,we each need the respect and understanding from our partners.
If you each respect and care for your partner then I'm sure a sharing and caring routine could be worked out to suit both of you. I can understand your husband not wanting to be disturbed when he is full of inspiration,but he should also respect your time and space to cater for your own inspirational moments.
One must show encouragement and respect for each others art work and styles,not just hard criticism,
Good frequent close communication is the answer, one must know and express ones feelings to each other and then act,

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited March 27, 2000).]

03-31-2000, 11:08 PM
Ah Gawsh Sweetie!
I had to reply to this....I only have one child, a four year old little boy. He's the light of my life, and somehow I kept working throughout his young years, but I had a hard enought time doing it, that there will be no more children here. I did find a trick to help me out, though. He loved to ride in the car. When he was too young to stay entertained as I painted, I rode around with him and took reference photos. I painted while he slept (I didn't sleep for about 2 1/2 years...heheheh). I also took him to openings and shows to stay inspired. Now he's a "big boy," as he's quick to tell you, quite an artist himself, and finally in daycare. He starts pre K in the fall. And I can actually look back and say I've accomplished a few things. I truly hope your SO is supportive as a father....that would make such a difference. Since he is an artist, he can probably understand your drive and need to create more than just babies, and not just see it as the "little lady's hobby." It sounds like you have a good thing going on. I wish you the very best....in a way I wonder if I should have had two children myself, since I think my little guy gets lonely; but daycare seems to help him in that department. Blesse'd Be to you and yours.....and keep painting!~

04-01-2000, 01:40 AM
Sorry had to take this one on. I stay at home with my three. Oldest is in 3rd grade, middle preschool, youngest with me. I found a way not to break my creativity. I participate in art projects at both of my childrens schools. It has helped me to see the simpler things children see. I cannot wait till summer vacation when my children and I can explore all different mediums. I did juggle a career, children and creativity, but it was tainting my spirit. God blessed me with a third child who was ill. He tried to awaken mine eyes. It worked. My husband works a little extra hours and supports my artistic endeavors. I stay up late now for my creativity, just like I did when I worked. If I have an inspiration, I get out the sketch book. I now carry my camera with me even when picking up the kids at school.
I think I'm rattling on here, but be patient, you will find the time when things settle down.