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Be Yourself Until the Money Runs Out

July 25, 2008
Brava Group Show, Arts on the Park
Lakeland, FL 2005

Brava Group Show, Artists Unlimited, 2004

Today was the day for our BRAVA meeting, but since at least half of our members were unavailable this month, it ended up being just me, Candace Knapp, and Carolina Cleere here at my house. I am honored to be part of this group of incredibly talented and spirited women. We’ve met the last Friday of each month since something like 2002. Our group is completely unstructured, and our rules are unwritten. We have no dues, minutes, bylaws, or committees. Somehow it works, and we’re not sure why.

At each meeting we have show and tell, offering our latest projects up for group critique and discussion, keep each other up on what’s happening, sometimes give workshops on our chosen areas of expertise, and lend support to each other in so many ways. We serve as a ready entourage for the member who has a show or special event. We have group shows at galleries and alternative spaces.

It’s really important to get together with people who care about the same things you care about. It’s reassuring to know that others share your struggles. It’s good to see each other face to face over coffee, especially in the physical isolation of the online community.

I hope you’ll visit the BRAVA blog and acquaint yourself with the rest of our members. This isn’t a very active blog — only a couple of us (ahem!) are bloggers, so it’s hit or miss. But all of the profiles are there.

Candace left me with a true gem of a quote today. We were discussing the plight of being an artist and trying to stay true to your vision, while addressing the real necessity of putting food on the table. We all have experienced anxious times as artists. Sometimes this necessity puts us in a non-creative environment — a day job — just to keep going. But Candy’s take on it is to hold onto your vision and not give up, no matter what.

Her quote: “Be yourself until the money runs out!”

In other words, don’t worry about what might happen. You can do your art, even if you have to cram it into a few hours each week. Her other words of advice are “Don’t be embarrassed. Just do it.”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheree Rensel permalink
    July 26, 2008 2:46 am

    You know I could write a thesis about this. I have always had a day job. Also, you know I struggle with trying to balance my job life with my art life. However, I have always done it.
    I have lived the quote: “Be yourself until the money runs out”. It is so great and grand until that actually happens. I came to terms with this long ago. I work a job. Also, I keep making art. There are pros and cons to both lifestyles. Since I have been single and the sole bread winner all of my life, this wasn’t even a choice for me. It has always been a necessity. Also, it allows me the freedom to do whatever kind of art I want because I know those bills will get paid with funds from my JOB. It isn’t the best of worlds. However, it is my world. As I look around my little art house and see more art supplies than I can use up in a year, realize my new glasses were paid for by my employer, and the caps on my teeth are being paid for with money from my day job, I am thankful I can indulge myself in both worlds.
    In other words, I don’t think I should complain. U know?

  2. Martha Marshall permalink
    July 26, 2008 2:32 pm

    Sheree, you have created a life for yourself in which you now have the freedom to be the “decider” (couldn’t resist that word!) and that’s a huge accomplishment for anyone.

  3. Sheree Rensel permalink
    July 26, 2008 4:01 pm

    Yeah. The “Decider”! I am captain of my own ship and I like it that way!! (Also, I haven’t hit an iceberg yet!) Tee HEE HEE

  4. July 27, 2008 1:49 pm

    You have a very beautiful site here Martha. I very much enjoyed looking at your work.

    Also, I love the quotes from the last paragraph of this post.

  5. Martha Marshall permalink
    July 27, 2008 5:14 pm

    CJ, I’m so happy you came by. Thanks for the nice words. I love your blog!

  6. Kim Radatz permalink
    July 29, 2008 1:21 pm


    I am so proud to be part of our BRAVA group! And I miss our meetings so much while I am away in Minnesota. But what a gem to garner from Candy via your blog, just when I needed it most. I am working on some small saleable paintings, the bird ones from before, and I am a little concerned, probably more aptly put by Candy, embarrassed, by these little paintings as they aren’t serious and full of angst. But I am forging ahead with them and I will remember Candy’s words, “Don’t be embarrassed. Just do it.” Thanks for these great words of wisdom, as always you were right on the money!

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