Friday, September 04, 2009


Drift, gouache on illustration board, 16" x 20"

A couple of days ago, Greg, Coco and I went for a hike (Coco actually flushed out an owl) and finished up at the nearest Starbucks. On my coffee cup was the following quote:

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life. – Anne Morriss

I liked it. Twenty years ago I might have argued with it, but since that time, experience has taught me otherwise. Long-term commitment has been a struggle for me, but I made the uncharacteristically wise decision early on to hook up with a commitment-minded person. Greg has taught me about stick-with-it-ness. Sometimes I've considered it borderline obsessiveness (and sometimes it even has been!), but I know now that without his deep and grounding influence I might have thrown in the towel (in many types of situations) more often than I'd care to admit. It's taken a long time to see that long-term commitment really is liberating, particularly when it comes to work and relationships. I think that even the hoard v. purge struggle in which Greg and I regularly engage is a reflection of this. The above painting, for example, was done over 25 years ago, the summer before I took my first painting course. (I took art in school before going to university but never took any dedicated painting classes before second year.) I have wanted to toss it out countless times over the years but Greg hasn't let me. Today I looked at it with new eyes and was really glad he'd stepped in. Great art it's not, but it is a testament to where I started and I've even come to like it. I've committed to painting for eight years now (and to Greg for 22) and am starting to feel like I've finally learned a thing or two.

Check out the short video Heather posted today on dealing with the resistance that can kill commitment.


Blogger Kikipotamus said...

What a blessing to have someone like that in your life. And 22 years? Congratulations on that!

4/9/09 6:40 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

Lovely post. And wisdom found on a cup! There is something liberating in growing up and realizing purpose doesn't have to big and dramatic. That the ebb and flow of working through the simple day to day goals you create for yourself is really all that's needed to find some peace of mind. Now off to watch the video.

4/9/09 7:39 p.m.  
Blogger andrea pratt said...

Kiki: And lucky for me I actually appreciate it, too!

Ellen: Who knew Starbucks could have something more to offer than a good cuppa joe? I love finding little gems like that in the mundane at a time when I can actually identify with/understand the messaGE.

4/9/09 8:08 p.m.  
Blogger Heather Plett said...

I love this - painting, words, everything.

There's something coming in the mail to you that I sent you with fear and trepidation, because I'm such a newbie at art and I've got so much to learn and you're so good at it. But it's a beginning - you can hang it next to your drift painting and someday I'll send you another one to show how far I've come. :-)

5/9/09 6:46 a.m.  
Blogger albina said...

I find "drift" graceful and fluid; and what a wonderful thing is to have a mate who can sometime protect us from our best intentions of getting rid of what we may think at the time as "clutter" :)

5/9/09 11:39 a.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

God, what a great quote....gotta write it down and stick it in my studio. 22 years??? I bet it flew by in record time....

5/9/09 3:58 p.m.  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

I have no problems with commitment myself. It comforts me, when it's right.

5/9/09 6:32 p.m.  
Blogger AcuityTodos said...

A posting that made me stop and think. I often struggle with maintaining focus in the gloom of doubts on my abilities. Thank you.

6/9/09 8:34 a.m.  
Blogger tlc illustration said...

I love this post. A testament to how we can compliment each other, and hopefully draw on each others' strengths. I quite like your painting here (feels Georgia O'Keefe-ish). I struggle with how much 'old stuff' to hang onto, but it is always fascinating to compare later on...

6/9/09 10:51 p.m.  
Blogger Steve M Nash said...

I also believe in the 'liberation' of commitment, and I speak as one who has not succeeded to stay with someone for 22 years, when I say this.

In fact I have failed to commit, so far, but I do recognise (or 'feel') that there is something self-less when we commit (and this is not just committment to another person I'm talking about).

Anyway, it's great that you have reached this level of understanding (and wisdom) from *actually* commiting, and you *know* it is true!

Thanks for sharing :-)

7/9/09 9:21 a.m.  
Blogger andrea pratt said...

Heather: I am so looking forward to the mail coming this week now!

Albina: He's the yang to my endless yin.

Melody: It's a keeper all right (and so is he).

SAW: Some people just don't seem to have that see-saw thing where novelty competes with commitment. Sounds like novelty is not particularly enticing/exciting or distracting for you. Wish I could say the same.

Vic: No charge. :) It was a reminder I definitely needed as well.

Tara: I find that when my stress rises the need to throw out does too -- and I often regret it at a later, more relaxed moment. I think Greg functions the same way but the opposite: stress creates hoarding behaviours. We are a weird and interesting species.

Steve: Putting it to the test definitely creates a deeper understanding but with everything you do, gaining one thing means sacrificing soemthing else. I think balance is a generally poorly-misunderstood concept, be it realtionships with people or work or play.

7/9/09 12:45 p.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Actually, I really like the painting, vintage or not. There is something Dali-esque about it.

And I loved your testament of both love and support,and your to-be cherished commitment to your art and craft. So glad you stuck in and so happy you got the support you needed.

8/9/09 9:06 a.m.  
Blogger Donn said...

I look forward to being committed. What a relief it will be not having to decide what to wear or make for dinner.

Just kidding...I too am blissfully handcuffed to one of those so&so do-gooders with their wonderful, bloody, stick-with-it-ness!

To validate my planetary parking ticket I need to constantly remind her that the fleeting fanciful notions fueling my folly are an evolutionary invention to keep things Fresh...
you know, put some FUN back in FUNctional.

Oh sure I realise that without "them" society would crumble in a heartbeat...

8/9/09 12:33 p.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

I like it when you write like this.

12/9/09 12:14 p.m.  

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