I get up super early these days and ride my bicycle to the studio. This time of year it is quite cold and almost dark when I start. There are not too many people up yet and sometimes I feel I shouldn’t be either. The cars that speedily pass me this early are most likely business people commuting into San Francisco.
My doubts about why I am pedaling so early begin to fade as I turn off the busy road onto a stretch of bike path that goes along a wetland. The sun is coming up now and the water begins to shimmer. The egrets, gulls, stilts and pelicans are everywhere. The din of the traffic is gone. This path is mostly empty. In many ways this reminds me of what it is like to be an artist.
It is the path less taken.
Gratitude is too small a word to describe how fortunate I feel to be an artist. On this particularly beautiful morning there are so many reasons why.
Here are just a few.
I love that making Art teaches me about Life.
I love when you mix cadmium yellow light with phthalo green it feels like you’re standing in a tropical rainforest.
I love I don’t know where I am going but somehow I know when I am getting there.
I love that my favorite scraping tool was originally used by a dentist.
I love that making Art is about the exceptions instead of the rules.
I love that there are people in the world who understand and desire what I make.
I love that I can have any colors I desire.
I love that I have laughed out loud when making Art.
I love that sometimes I have cried.
I love that when I make my Art, I always hold on so tightly but when I am done, I have to let it go.
I love that artists are a tribe.
I love that a bad day can turn into a great day when you make Art you love.
Sometimes I pass another cyclist coming the other way on this beautiful stretch of bike path. Maybe it is because there are not many people on this path, or perhaps because they are feeling as I do, we always nod to each other. Sometimes it is just a small wave or a smile, but there almost always is a mutual acknowledgment.
There are just two of us here, moving through this extraordinary place at the same time. The sun is rising, everything is turning golden, there are birds everywhere and, not unlike the journey of an artist, for some miraculous reason most everybody else went the other way.
I love that too.
Why do you love being an artist?