Article about mothers and Art

May 11, 2006

excerpt from the story:
Mother's Art

story and photos by KATHERINE ALMY

There was a clear consensus about one thing: Housework was a very low priority. I also liked one of Joy's strategies: "I avoid meetings like the plague." She points out that they are typically unnecessary, but she gets a lot done via the computer. She says that a large part of her socializing and her business happens online. Cindy Hooper agreed, bringing up the importance of a website for showing your work and e-mail for contacting galleries and collectors as well as far-flung friends. Even Frances, who doesn't use a computer much herself, has her work online via the Arcata Artisans, of which she is a member. Clearly, computers are a boon to artists on many levels.

photo of Joy Dellas and her son DemetriAnother time management strategy is one that any mother must master: multitasking. Joy says, "I've learned to do many things at once. However, sometimes I forget that I'm cooking." I can relate. We often have Cajun Blackened whatever at our house for dinner. And keep in mind that Joy doesn't have the option of saying, "Honey, can you watch the kid for a minute while I check the rice?"
Right: Joy Dellas and her son Demitri
These women all agreed and emphasized the fact that while children need an enormous amount of time and attention, neglecting our own lives is to our children's detriment. Laurel relates that, to this day, her children's fondest memories are of her playing guitar and singing. I like the way she said it: "My kids really loved it when I did my art and I didn't do them. That's when they saw who I was."
On her website, Joy writes, "In my own life I have found being a single mother to be somewhat of a Hero's Journey. I focus attention on everyday miracles and acts of courage that make the tapestry of our lives so much more endurable and extraordinary." It occurs to me that artist-mothers are bringing a whole new voice to the art world. Even though children are not always a direct influence on an artist's work, every artist is creating from their own life experience, and the experience of motherhood provides a rich and varied perspective. Not that male artists haven't ever taken an intimate look at domestic themes, but their perspective has been almost that of an outsider. Men's art is changing too, as more and more men are taking a more active part in child-rearing, but they still have a way to go to catch up to women, who have been almost exclusively the caregivers.
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