I haven't painted in over a month.  Overall 2013 was probably my best and most productive year as an artist, I completed 9 paintings and sold 3.  And I'm even almost satisfied with the quality of some of the work!  But, the year ended by me accepting a big project from one of my website clients (I build websites for a living), and because of the scope and deadline involved it pretty much consumed me for a month and a half.  I had to put the brushes down.  

But you know, I realize something as I was working on programming and building that website.  I've spent a lot of years learning and developing my skills as a web developer - as much, if not even more time, than I've spent learning to paint & draw.  And I have to say, at the end of a good programming day I often sit back and think - wow, that was really fun!  Honestly, programming and crafting websites is a lot of fun.  I really enjoy it. I especially enjoy learning new skills, new technologies.  And there is so much happening in the field right now, it's a very exciting thing to be a part of.  I feel very blessed and fortunate to have this skill, and I think it was a wise choice for me to move in that direction.  

But I also know that it's time to get back to the easel.  I try not to worry too much about questions like "am I really a serious artist?" or "why can't I focus on one pursuit?".  I don't need to make a living with my art, programming has provided a good living.  I don't need to sell my work.  I need to make good art.  I am an artist, and a programmer.  I love both.  That's not going to change. 

Art calls me back, and to a certain extent I will never be fully satisfied unless I am working on new paintings and new artistic pursuits.  I know (from experience) that if I spend too much time just working for my website clients - or any "job" for others, I begin to get very anxious.. it's like I'm not doing something incredibly important that I should be doing.  I feel like there's a reason I was given this talent.  I have an obligation to use it, to improve it, to make good works with it.   But I also know that God blessed me with an aptitude for programming, as means to an end, and I'm so grateful for that.  

I also really enjoy teaching, and I'm very proud of the work I've been privileged to do over the past 14 years in teaching at the Art Institute - but that's a different, although very related story.