Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Artist Life While Aging

One of the boxes of my mother's creative sculpting and her automated doll's violin.
Her display dolls from the 50’s are represented and documented in the Rosalie Whyel Doll Museum in Belleview, Washington.
 I also wrote an article in Doll Reader Magazine about how my mother made me feel growing up as her doll creating partner.
 I am humbled by how well she made doll making a shared family involvement. She even extending her sharing her skills in an leading a Girl Scout interest group in which we casted our own clay sculpted puppets for Jack and the Bean Stock characters.
 She introduce me to plein air painting as a group activity with other children in the Big Sur Camp Ground.

At age 75, as a result of my mother's nurturing and my continued involvement in art, I am grateful to her for my now having the most productive and creative period in my life. I am filled with joy and thankfulness. Yet, I am aware that my elderly years are precious, much more than the selling of the art I make. So I am immersing myself in the process of creating as opposed to marketing.

The paintings accumulate.

 My priority to do lists includes making an illustrated Power Point catalog containing all the work  ready to be exhibited or sold. Will it be enough for my heirs to have my art well documented with catalog numbers and my statements?  Maybe at some point I should seek on line painting sales and gallery representation taking a load off my heirs? Or finding more places to donate it?

My husband and I do less and less of the things we used to do. We no longer belong to a roller skating club,  or a mountain rescue club. We do not snowshoe, or camp in a tent while backpacking to name a few of the ever growing list of things we no longer want to do. So my husband is home with me more with all our toys taking up space. Even when we got rid of a few toys like a couple of Model A's, my art encroaches on  my husband's shop area.

 I am looking for another artist who can use some of my unneeded art paraphernalia. Some of  the art media I have been fortunate enough to have experienced recently is paper making. Paper making was a short lived family activity. Other remnants of media that I am giving away include bookmaking, ceramics, batik, mosaics and cement garden sculptures. I am having difficulty thinking about giving up oil painting. I am starting to paint in oils now that the weather is nice but this might be the last season of oils if the watercolors without glass becomes my primary medium.

Years ago faced with a full shed of her decades old disintegrating latex dolls, I selected a few more permanent tools that reflected her creative process.   I kept a plaster mold for casting  and her books that instructed her hoping they would become family heirlooms. Maybe some family member will want to use Margaret Widler Doll heirlooms in making installations or even videos or what can be imagined.

As an artist I see my life in phases. When I was a very young child painting was all about the doing of it. The result did not hold my interest. In the in between years I saw myself as the maker of a product that would please a teacher, or someone who might buy it. Now I still care about how the work looks when finished. Caring is central to the process. I care that my paintings satisfy me. I hope  to involve the viewers of my paintings in the process seeding their creative drive as well. I've come full circle doing art for the sake of the experience of being in the present, always learning and really seeing.

Paper making paraphernalia in my husband's shop.
 I want to give away all the paper making stuff plus cotton paper pulp I have used to strengthen recycled paper.


Rain Trueax said...

Where you've created art all your life, it's interesting how it would change an emphasis with aging or even at different points in life.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

On second thought my relationship to managing my personal collection and marketing changed for many reasons in addition to the aging process.
My parents kept my paintings and marketed them during my early child rearing years. I felt success was selling everything I made. When I had a small window of time to paint the pressure was on me and sometimes I could not concentrate on painting. From then on I decided any theme that captured my love would excite someone with a real connection to it would provide a good home for my work. I didn't have to conform to market demands. Then success was documenting my process in slides and making enough sales to pay for art supplies. When sales dropped because of the recession, I became even less sales oriented. I mostly now show because sharing paintings is part of the process and I believe they are nothing in the closet.
The aging process along with the reality every wall shouldn't have big glass paintings to fall on us if there is an earthquake. A big aging factor for me now is I realize time is so precious and I have so much more to paint.

Debby said...

I enjoyed this look at the evolution of your thoughts on art. It is good to have conversations like this and I am grateful to both you and Rain Trueax for your thoughts on this subject.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Thank you Debby, you made my day.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I love to see this about how painting has changed for you over the years. I am sure there will be many people you can donate paper making materials to.

Tabor said...

Check the local schools and see if they still have an art teacher or department for your items. I keep my photos digitally and while I have sold a few dozen, I have not made any money after subtracting costs to produce prints, etc. I will still do it and have backed up the photos but realizing that maybe, even though they take up no space, they might very well just be deleted or thrown out. All of the baby clothes I made were not wanted by my daughter and my DIL may not have children, so those are hard for me to part with since I spent many hours making them. Once a creative person, always a creative person and you will need something as an outlet no matter how much you age.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Thank you for your suggestion about the schools. The high school does have an art teacher.
I did not keep the toddler clothes I made but I still have my mother's baby clothes and my silk lined red bonnet that she made for me. Reminds me to ask who if anyone wants them. Maybe on a doll these clothes would be more appealing.