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Finishing one phase of life, moving to the next

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I looked around and said, “Where do we start?”

I’ve written about it, and now it’s time.

We’ve got to get my studio and art gallery ready to sell.

My daughter said, “There is comfort in clutter.”

I said, “I hate all that clutter. There is nothing comforting about clutter.”

But, to be totally honest, I find comfort in all my art. So, what does an artist do with all her inspiration?

If you’re an artist, you know what I mean. You have your life hanging on the wall, sitting on the shelves, and you’re sitting and eating on your painted furniture.

Every brush stroke represents where you were and what you were feeling at the time. You’ve evolved as a person and artist, and you have proof you passed that way.

Plus, artists love their art.

In my younger day, I saw a collection of Van Gogh’s paintings at the museum in Washington, D.C. The reason the collection was intact and preserved was because of one person: Van Gogh’s brother sent him money to keep Van Gogh from starving. Van Gogh sent his brother paintings to repay him. The 200-piece collection was amazing and I could read his life through his paintings.

I am also holding on to some of my paintings and art as a record of the many phases and stages in my art career. Who knows, I might need them one day. Maybe I won’t, but it’s comforting to know I still have a piece or two from every phase of my art career.

Then, there is my Sweet Al. Everything is very sentimental to Al, so he keeps all of his precious things around him, including me.

What’s that about?

Everything from his family has funneled down to him. His mother, uncle and aunt have all passed; their homes were cleared out and Al got all their antiques, which have added to the warmth of my studio and gallery. His brother wanted only a few things.

His brother has also added to Al’s collection of things that are in the house. Every time David got married, the new wife didn’t want the ex-wife’s things, so who got all his furniture and things?

You guessed it, my Sweet Al.

I have a 4,000 square-foot studio and gallery to hold my art and art supplies. Artists need all that stuff to exist.

There are three print drawers full of art, which I can’t let loose of.

There is my framer’s table and mat cutter. There are hundreds of frames and mats. Do you know what a frame costs today? Can’t turn loose of them.

I have three drawing tables. I’m not teaching at home anymore, I guess I could give up one of them.

I have shelves full of props. I might need a silver goblet, or a ivory statue to paint. I have to hang on to some of those items. I’m not finished painting yet.

When do you actually finish one phase of your life and move into another one?

Writing is top priority today, but I still have my fingers in the paint. There is not a clean break from one passion to another one.

I’ve been hard on my Sweet Al, with all of his junk. I don’t see my stuff as junk. I see it as necessary for my well being.

At the end of the day, all we really need is each other. I haven’t convinced Al yet, and I’m not there, either.

My friend, who is an expert in staging homes to sale, came over to help me stage the rooms.

She went through each room and said, “This has to go. Too much stuff on the coffee table, get rid of that. The pink doors must be painted. You’ve got to paint the purple walls.

“What about all the murals on the walls, and the paintings on the doors?”

“They have to go. People will paint over them, or you can replace them and take the doors with you now.”

“Ouch. All the doors in the house have painted images on them. We have to replace all the doors?”

My friend consoled me. “The way you turn loose of a house, you get rid of anything that’s you. Remember, you  don’t live there anymore. ”

“Everything in the round house speaks of me. I’ve painted in that house for forty years.”

She responded, “I know, but if you want to sell the house, you’ve got to let go of it. The new buyers need to picture their things in your house, not your things.”

The Realtor said, “People will remember the furniture and not the house. You’re trying to sell the house.”

So, I moved all the art off the walls, everything that means anything to me, and anything I wanted to keep.

Now, it looks Plain Jane … like an empty house.

My friend is right: It’s not mine anymore. It’s hard to see a stripped-down version of what used to be so cute and adorable.

Final brushstroke: There aren’t any clean breaks from one phase to another. It takes time to wean yourself off of old passions and what it used to be.

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This story was posted on August 2, 2013.