Call To A New Genre
By Janice Kimball
After eight years of full time study I earned a Master of Fine Art from the University of Illinois, Chicago. I was 50. A young professor told me that even though I was so old I would always be considered a “young artist.” He was wrong….well, almost.
At 70, I have developed a feeling of mastery over what I am working on in the realm of visual arts. For instance, when I am painting I feel in command of my brush and my paints. When I designed and built the home and studios where I now live, an acquaintance remarked, “Good grief, what in the world are you doing?” I told her I knew exactly what I was doing.
I imagine that whatever our passion is, we advance toward its zenith. I believe for an artist to reach the point where her work becomes an extension of who she is with an inimitable strong voice is to have arrived in the land of maturity. I am still searching for that land; I get sidetracked by walking down garden paths.
While walking down the path of words I developed a passion for them. The path has turned into an avenue, one whose end I cannot see in the distance, a road travelled that will never end up in the land of maturity for me, as there is not enough of my lifetime left to get there.
I feel my greenness in writers’ groups who speak a new language. Passages of their writing inspire me while I grapple to hear more, impeded by my loss of hearing. In the genre of writing as art, the computer screen is my canvas, my tools on the bar above it. There is no sureness as my two fingers pause above the keyboard, as I scan across the bar above my screen in apprehension. In single file, waiting to be opened are the words: File, Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, and I know I need an assistant to help me.
Although I will never reach the once sought after land of becoming a master in my new art genre, it does not stop me in my quest to create a written work that is unique, brilliant. My stalwart efforts and commitment in stepping into my scenes hopefully will compensate for my weaknesses. I carry with me on this new venture the many lessons I have learned in the past, insights common to all artists. I know the importance of multiple layers of meaning to create a great work, of timing, of the ebb and flow that necessitates life.
I feel I have denied myself the opportunity of reaching full maturity as visual artist in my desire to become a creative writer of substance as I can only afford one passion at a time. I do this knowing that I will never write with the sureness that I achieved as an artist in the past, but the call of the unknown beckons and I cannot turn back, for who can turn back from one’s calling?
(Ed. Note: Janice owns Aztec Studios and Gallery in West Ajijic on the Carretera facing Rancho Del Oro)