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View Full Version : What happens to an artist at mid-life?


omega
01-19-2003, 09:31 PM
Since this is my first post on Wet Canvas, Hello People!

I pastor a small church in the Mid West USA and just recently began exploring painting. After playing around some and learning how to work the paints and brushes, I painted a scene from my father's farm with his barn as the subject with the wonderful old oak trees in the woods behind the barn. This is the farm where I grew up and he grew up here before me. I gave it to Dad for Christmas and he loved it. Of course the farm has a lot of memories for both of us.

Anyway, before going into professional ministry I studied music education and taught band in public school for awhile. While I was in college I took the required music history class. In the class we discussed how composers seem to go through something significant during their mid-life period. Some composers didn't seem to handle it well. Mozart even died during mid-life. Others really changed, mostly into a more mature, creative composers. Bach is an example where his most spiritually profound music was written in the later part of his life.

It has gotten me to wondering if the same kind of thing happens in the lives of artists. Are there a number of artists that produce works differently after going through mid-life? Are there a number of artists where someone who knows the work of the artist can look at a piece and say, "That is pre mid-life" or "That is post mid-life"?

Finding myself in mid-life, I have just been wondering. And excited about the possibility that my best sermons are yet ahead of me :)

Rose Queen
01-19-2003, 11:59 PM
...and what about those of us who don't even start painting until mid-life -- or later?!?

Welcome to WetCanvas, omega!



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Ron van den Boogaard
01-20-2003, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by Rose Queen
...and what about those of us who don't even start painting until mid-life -- or later?!?
When you look around on WC, you'll find loads of evidence for that one, it sometimes feels it's a vast majority here.
Luckily i'm not one of them, i started painting when i was 47, so i have years to gp before reaching mid-life, interesting to see what will happen then though.

Rose Queen
01-20-2003, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Ron van den Boogaard
I started painting when i was 47, so i have years to go before reaching mid-life

Funny how fluid the definition of "mid-life" is, isn't it? :D It seems to be entirely dependent upon the age of the person talking about it! :D :D :D



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Pea Eye
01-20-2003, 03:47 PM
I believe what happens in midlife is that experience and serious contenplation kick in. I think that everyone, when approaching their middle and later years ask their self what is left. God has, I believe, bestowed on the lucky ones of us the stong desire to create, which is to me, a gift beyond monetary wealth. The creations are now an embodiment of our life experiences and are certainly different at a time when life seemed that it would go on forever.

lisilk
01-20-2003, 06:46 PM
I suppose what happens mid- career might be a better question. Like any kind of growth in ones life, it depends on the personality. Some people seem to mature and continue to assimilate the challenges of life and their creativity in graceful ways from the time they are twenty. Some people throw tantrums and are unfocused their entire lives.

As I am now approaching my 47th year I have redefined my mid- life to be somewhere in my 70's. I am finding myself more forgiving of " mistakes" in my work, more willing to experiment without fretting the opinion of others. Like other parts of my life I probably have a better feel for what I will and won't except but unlike my early years when I thought I knew it all, I am much more open to suggestions and learning from others.

Have fun on your journey of discovery.

Li

heh
01-20-2003, 09:19 PM
i think that is when they cut off an ear
perhaps

Lady Carol
01-20-2003, 10:50 PM
Omega, welcome to WC!

Enjoy the journey of life, it is full of surprizes. I am sure the best is ahead.

Carol

sgtaylor
01-21-2003, 12:02 AM
I think we all go through the same kinds of things at the same basic times in our lives. This doesn't just pertain to artists.... I think all people go through... uh... changes.

I found this in a book about screen writing entitled How to Write a Movie in 21 Days by Viki King. (This is greatly condensed.)

How your age reveals what's on your mind.....

Let's start at age seventeen. You are probably experiencing a balancing act in which your emotions are catching up the adult circumstances in which you start finding yourself....

At nineteen the theme tends to be "So what's the big deal anyway?" You have a certain detached candor in commenting on the world....

In the early twenties, it's "I'm okay, and the world is terrible," and then by the late twenties you've evolved to "I'm okay and the world is how it is, now how do we get along together.?"

In your early thirties... a time to settle the unfinished business of who your parents are versus who you are.... it is a battle for the self....

By your late thirties, if you haven't done whatever it is you want to do, this is when you do it. You want to "come true" before forty.

Forty.... it's not so much how you fit in the world, but more what world you create for yourself. Are you contributing to it?

Late forties.... is what i have become enough? Is this all there is? (I'm lurking around here somewhere.)

At fifty, you've gone about as far as you can go the old way. Now what? (I think I might be hitting 50 a little early.)

Sixty, you have a history and have gained the long view. (Can I have that now please? I don't feel like waiting that long.)

Seventy... So what was that all about anyway? (Hmmm... I'm already asking that.)

I'm sure that this won't work for everybody.... but I always found it interesting.

RobinZ
01-23-2003, 01:46 PM
Umm, her kids grow up and move out, no more tuition bills, and she starts doing the art she never had time to do before due to her other obligations? Yep. That's what happened!!

champagneharley
01-28-2003, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by RobinZ
Umm, her kids grow up and move out, no more tuition bills, and she starts doing the art she never had time to do before due to her other obligations? Yep. That's what happened!!
Yup - other obligations other than art. I always was an artist as long as I can remember. I always 'dabbled' somewhat but no actual 'serious' paintings until 1998. I am still learning to spread my artist wings, and can't wait! I have at least a million paintings in me ... I'll paint that ONE DAY ... that day is soon here!!!
(I hope!)
Regards,
Jillian

Gypsy Baubo
02-03-2003, 08:55 AM
You can go out of the house without doing the full war-paint thing and changing clothes four times.

You don't care if the kitchen floor hasn't been waxed in two weeks.

You get to plead advancing old age when you "forget" yourniece's husband's cousin's birthday.

You stop worrying about which wine to serve with your Stouffer's frozen entree - just shut up and be glad I heated it.

So what if you don't pay the electric bill on time - they'll send another one.

I could go on and on but the point is that somewhere around 45 all the "important" stuff becomes amazingly unimportant and that frees up a TON of creative energy.

Ron van den Boogaard
02-03-2003, 10:23 AM
Originally posted by Gypsy Baubo
I could go on and on but the point is that somewhere around 45 all the "important" stuff becomes amazingly unimportant and that frees up a TON of creative energy.
Agree completely, except for this one:
You stop worrying about which wine to serve with your Stouffer's frozen entree - just shut up and be glad I heated it.
Good fresh food and wine has become so much more important!

Gypsy Baubo
02-03-2003, 11:27 AM
Good point, Ron, but when I am deeply into the creative process food and wine get short shrift.

Of course, as soon as I am ready to step back from my work it becomes vitally important again.........

senserity
02-05-2003, 01:33 PM
courier

Hi,

I am so glad to have found this site. I am brand new and would like to say that I have been painting on canvas for a little over a year now. This is a new part of myself that I have found and am still amazed at the fact that I can do this.
I had always admired and adored the artist , and had wished that I had could be in there light.
Do not get me wrong, I have always been into interior decorating for myself and some close friends, but this was nothing that I thought to be different.
I have always had problems through out life that had shown me that I would not fit in to any normalcy.
I had had a dream some years back that had shown me painting at an easel telling my aunt that I was a painter, and my last name was Powers.
At the time I found this to be obsurd since I did not even own a paint brush.
My life took a major turn ( which hurt ) a year and a half ago, and I met this wonderful man who introduced me to the canvas who's last name was Powers.

He is also an Artist who has lead on the most fantastic learning experience of my life. I am wondering if the fact that I am now painting and had always wanted to do this, if we in fact stop ourselves from doing what we truly want in life because of mind talk.

I am lucky enough to be doing some commission work now and hope to continue forever.

By the way I have looked at some of the work on this site and it is wonderful



:clap:

erik_satie_rolls
02-12-2003, 05:14 PM
Gypsy said it very well. Soon after reading this thread, I found a wonderful book on mid-life that I would like to recommend to everyone, "Its only too late If You Don't Start Now" by Barbara Sher. The author has a wonderful way of turning all the negative hype about advancing age on its head. For someone like me, approaching 46, it has been like taking Geritol for tired blood.(that's for all my fellow boomers ;-) )

pampe
02-13-2003, 03:09 PM
heheh


all of the above

AND

you move to Montana and stop shaving your legs so you have more time to paint


THANK GOD FOR MID-LIFE


I think it saved my soul

Pam

arizona
02-17-2003, 10:01 PM
Art began for me at mid life (1996 at 46yrs).

I think God suddenly gave me the desire and the ability to paint in order to save my sanity during 'the change'! SERIOUSLY! I would have been in a strait jacket by now if not for the tranquillity I experience while being lost in a painting, and for the affirmation I get from my efforts.
Makes me sound kind of crazy...but what can I say????? I'm an artist!