An Artist's Journeys in Nature

The Big Decision

Future Shock - Acrylic - Patricia HowittAt the age of 13 in the Scottish educational system, a pupil has to make the choice of what they want to do in life. Obviously a very big decision, quite hard to make at a relatively young age: I don’t know if things are the same now.

The options for me were Languages, Science and Art.

I wasn’t in any doubt what I wanted to do and it was called Art.

But here’s where one of life’s major disappointments reared its head: my father’s response was a flat, “No! You will never make a living at art. Keep it as a hobby and enjoy it.”

Hobby? Aaargh!

Burnout - Oils on Board - Patricia Howitt

This was painted later in life, after I moved to Wellington to work as a lawyer.  But it reflects the desolate feelings I had earlier – plus my grief at devastation of nature.  Click on image for more details.

Looking back, I can understand his reaction at that time, but it sure was hard on me.  What’s more, I was also very good at both languages and science.  It wasn’t as if art was my only option. So I didn’t have that leg to stand on.

One doesn’t argue with an RSM, especially my father.  With a great deal of sadness, I decided to go for languages.

There was nothing else to do but carry on …

The Bleeding of The Land - Acrylic - Patricia Howitt

The Bleeding of The Land – Acrylic – Patricia Howitt

This is another later painting and it’s worth clicking on the image for a fuller explanation of what’s behind it.

My dad’s comment impacted very heavily on my mind for far too long, and I am only just now beginning to shake it off.  What’s more, I never until very recently fully forgave him for what he’d said because as I grew older, and especially lately, I became so very aware what a strong influence it had on my thinking and choices since.

Though I sold quite a lot of art all through my legal career, I found I had indeed a very deep belief that I’d never make a living at it. How deep that belief was, I only discovered when I quit my job and moved up north here – about which, more later.  It seemed like I would never shake off the stigma (as I saw it) of not having been to Art School.

Parents: Be careful about what you say to your kids – especially about their dreams.  Select your words carefully.

Patricia

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One response

  1. How very true about the words that are said or that we say out loud. Powerful in ways beyond knowledge at that time. My brother was always the one encouraged to draw. And he did it (and hopefully still does) it wonderfully well. I have a unicorn he drew for me years ago, anyway….. I want shake that same nosence in my head too. Love your art and your culture shows through.
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne
    http://www.cheyannesexton.etsy.com
    ps I found you on Society6, I just joined last month.

    January 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm

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