Writer’s Block: Turn and face the strain

Five years ago this month I decided to burn my boats and start painting full time. I quit my "job". I was firm on not doing anything else for the next ten years. Other than that, I had no plans, no targets whatsoever. If that doesn’t work I can do something else. It wasn’t smooth sailing. In the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, so many things, including my own life, were falling apart. Life wasn’t easy. By then I had my website/blog up and people who read my posts were the first to know what I was up to. People couldn’t come to terms with it if I said I am painting. I had to lie to people in my real life about what I was doing. Sometimes I said I was freelancing and doing report writing, translations etc. But seriously I did very little translations for money, and earned very little.

Almost there

I knew it was going to be a long, tiresome journey. And most probably I’d end up bankrupt. And I surely had my fair share of downtimes.

Positive? Negative? Neutral? I do not wish to judge. It’s difficult. It’s beautiful. I will not swap places if I am given a chance, that’s for sure. I like it here :)

12 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: Turn and face the strain

  1. It’s very hard for an artist. People just don’t get why we NEED to make art. And unless you’re a big commercial success, most people just think you’re a lazy bum. I know. People don’t get me either. They think I’m just being lazy. It doesn’t even matter that I’m extremely prolific. It’s almost worse that I’m prolific. Because I’m running out of room to store it all.

    1. So true. Very hard indeed. From an outsider’s point of view it might look ridiculously stupid to make your mind to do it full-time. And yes, storage, tell me about it. When I reach your age I might need to bury them to save space, this is a small house. LOL :D
      By the way have I told you lately that I adore your Coastlines? :)

  2. So what did you do for money? Had you saved up enough to live off for five years without earning any? Or…? Just curious :)
    And of course I love your paintings and am glad you’re making them!

    1. Thanks Judy! :)
      First I had some money, savings. But it lasted only for a year or so. Then, I actually do very little freelance translation/writing work. I don’t sell myself hard enough to get myself totally occupied with such work. Besides, I am very lazy, I admit. Sometimes people buy paintings. And I live with my parents. Without their financial support, I am unable to do art the way I do now. There were times I was entirely depending on them. I hope to sell these paintings online more vigorously after exhibiting some of them here in Colombo.
      On the other hand I have cultivated a life around what I am doing. I haven’t bought any new cloths or other luxury stuff since 2004. No more expensive haircuts :D No space “allocated” for marriage/family. So I can afford living like this.
      I am stubborn enough to hang in there. Or you can say I am careless enough ;-) If I look at it logically I don’t know how to continue tomorrow. It was the same four years ago. Best option is to abandon logic… hehehe :)

      1. Logic can ruin so many things if you listen to it too much :)
        I couldn’t paint as much as I do either if not for the support of my husband. I worked at normal jobs for many years and all that made me very ill.
        And I am also low-maintenance for the most part – no expensive clothes or haircuts or manicures or pedicures or gym or spa fees or things like that. No big mortgage payments, just a small apartment. No big or fancy car and no long commutes from the ‘burbs to the city for work as so many people spend their lives doing.
        For many years, no real vacations either (but we live in a place that millions of people pay huge amounts of money to visit, so that helps!).
        Anyway however you do it, I am glad you do!

  3. I completely understand what you’re saying, Lohan. I make lots of sacrifices for my art, but it’s worth it to me. I haven’t bought clothes in years, either. I’m starting to think I have to buy some soon because everything I own is covered in paint..or disintegrating into rags. The little money I make goes back into my art, though. The thought of spending it on something as useless as clothes seems stupid to me. Where do I go? Nowhere, except my studio. heehee
    I also hid what I was doing from most of my family. That wasn’t too hard for me to do, since I live far away from them. It always felt like I had a dirty little secret, tho. Recently, I decided if they find out, they find out. Some of them discovered me on FB, and at first it was really scary. Like, there were a couple nights I lost sleep, even. But, when I got no reaction at all from them, I figured out that they don’t really care what I’m doing. They’re busy doing their own thing, and I’ve worried for years over nothing. heehee
    You’re written a very thought provoking blog post. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us.

    1. When I wrote it I thought this is useless nonsense :) But now I am glad to be able to share, hear other artists’ stories and have a meaningful conversation about it. It is very encouraging and enriching.
      Thanks Katie.

  4. Life isn’t easy, and isn’t perfect. I can totally feel how you feel. Stay with your goal and it will lead you to success. It is easier to be successful in staying what you are good at, instead of doing something you don’t like. You are such a talented artist. After the dark, it will always a bright future!

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