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Motherhood and Art-Making

Approaching Dawn, Monoprint on Paper ©2014 Michelle Arnold Paine

Approaching Dawn, Monoprint on Paper ©2014 Michelle Arnold Paine. Click to Purchase

My daughter Dalia Marie was born in January. The first part of her short life was snow-covered in what was the snowiest winter on record in Massachusetts. My first daughter Miriam turns three soon. She is realizing that “tomorrow” becomes “today”, that Daddy and Mommy go to work, but not the same work; and that we sometimes take turns doing so. Sometimes when Daddy comes home it is  “Mommy’s turn go work?” at Figure Drawing or teaching an evening class.

One of the most precious moments of the last few months was when I happened upon Miriam with her backpack on in her room:

“I go work!” she announced to me.”Where do you work?” I asked her.
“Studio!” she replied.
“What do you do there?” I asked.
“Paint hearts!” was her answer.

Last night my husband said he taught Miriam about “posing” for drawings and that she did a great job holding 15 second poses. So I guess tomorrow I can get some figure drawing in!

And so in some small way my vocation as mother and my vocation as artist and teacher begin to meld in a way I hope can inspire others to create and provide beauty to the world while also providing in some way for my family.

With our upcoming move I have resigned from my part-time teaching job at a local Community College, and my childcare plan for the fall did not turn out as planned – I am trying to keep things going, but in a new way from before. As I write Dalia is now crawling all over the living room, content to explore while I try to figure out what I can do to further my career in the next fifteen minutes before diaper and lunch. I spend a few minutes researching arts organizations in Ohio so I can get plugged in once we arrive.

The creativity involved in being an artist is not just in the making of the art product itself, but in constructing life in a way that I can have the time, physical energy, and space to get things done. Right now I don’t know how any of that is going to happen in our new location — but I know that God has always shown me a way, and given a light to follow.  And the new chapter will unfold…