One thing I know, as an artist, is that art is life, and life is art. In many ways, the process of creating art is a metaphor for life itself. We may struggle, smooth-sail awhile, and face challenges despite the blood, sweat, tears of it all. A true artist is compelled to make art, to put their soul and spirit in each work. The large piece I've worked on since last fall has just been completed. Would you believe I had it 'finished' four times at least? Those who saw it here in my house/studio would say, oh it's done! Yet....I would question it, be driven to go back to it even when I thought it done too. Hauling a heavy 4' x 5' painting inside and outside, wielding the heavy floor easel in and out, days of paint-covered hands...the piece started taking a life of its own. The final round came after it seemed complete: I was driven to scrap paint off, add some in, to add in the energy I felt it needed, along with hard sweat in the afternoon sun. At that point, I felt it had the vitality and energy of my art client's life in it, along whatever I bring to the table in my art in the creating of it. In all that, the painting came around to the very beginnings it started from, full circle in a way. Just like life. Along the arduous journey of the making, I would repeat my mantra while working on it: TRUST YOURSELF! In life, as in art, we MUST trust our deepest self. We may not know the end destination, but we must trust that we will find the path, the way despite the many convolutions life (and paintings) take us. Stephen King wrote in his book "Writing" that it's like driving a Buick along a foggy road. It is. You cannot see your way clear some days. The point is, you do it. You get out there in blazing sun, freezing days, and paint. Or write. Or make the music. You do it because there's no other way for your spirit: it's not about the money you may need, or the groceries you long to buy--it's about the art. Trust yourself. You know the way if you listen. You do it because your soul beckons you, and that light is there: it's up to you to capture it and be the conduit of something much, much greater. Trust yourself.