The Clock is Ticking Fast

Turning Back Time “The clock is ticking fast. Burn the candle large.” – Diane Sawyer

I thought I’d be further along in my career as an artist by now. When I was a girl, I dreamed of the fruits of my talent being respected and compensated monetarily. I saved drawings with Cray-pas on Manila paper to make it easier for my biographers after I died. At age 57, I’ve had some measure of success. A painting I did of Oprah hangs in her home and my portrait of Chelsea Clinton was displayed in her mother’s private study when she lived in the White House. What is lacking is the kind of recognition that includes a steady income. Without a husband to support me, I would have thrown in the towel long ago. In retrospect, I’m shocked I didn’t realize how difficult it is to make a living as an artist sooner. That glitch in my perception may well be part of my gift. Surely without that kind of naivety I would have given up long ago.

Last week long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad gave me new hope.  She calmed my fears of being washed up. If she can swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64, a feat she failed at 28, surely it’s not over for me. Entering the third act of my life can only give my work more depth. My experiences over time have added a vibrancy to my art that was absent in the struggles of youth. I’m refreshed by Nyad’s assurance, ”Never, ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

No matter how uncomfortable it is, keep stretching, keep believing. Risk is an extension of self-love. If you were born to sing a song, sing it. Whatever gift you were born to give, give it. Live it. It’s no accident we can’t turn back the hands of time. There is a season for everything. The gift you came to share may just have reached its full gestation and is about to be born into the world. And in perfect timing your audience waits…ready to receive it…with open arms.

Reference photo for the above illustration from my soon to be released book app, Glory in the Morning.

Reference photo for the above illustration from my soon to be released book app, Glory in the Morning.

All text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

www.sueshanahan.com

Life is a Gift

Life is a Gift Life is a Gift

The gift is always wrapped in risk.  It takes courage to open it and dive in. From cradle to grave we’ve been indoctrinated to dedicate ourselves to safety. Which doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, until you consider all you’re likely to miss.  I’m convinced real safety lies in the willingness to be surprised by life. A mind that weaves safety nets ends up boxing itself in. Being open leaves room for the unimaginable to enter.

At the end of my days, I will be glad I followed my path as an artist. Sure, it’s risky. There isn’t a steady paycheck, and I walk hand in hand with rejection. If I had abandoned my gift for a more conventional career, no doubt I’d have more money in my pocket. But to experience the fullness of life is why we are here. I am in agreement with George Bernard Shaw when he said, “I want to be totally used up when I die.” Yep, life is for living.

My muses for this piece were my great-niece Aine  and her little brother Colin. Notice a younger version of Aine in the banner at the top of the page.

My muses for this piece were my great-niece Aine and her little brother Colin. Notice a younger version of Aine in the banner at the top of the page.

The dog in the picture is the beloved Quincy.

The beloved Quincy modeled for the dog in my art.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

http://www.sueshanahan.com