Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Rocco's ink and markers circa 1978 sold

Six years ago I moved to Paducah, this small river city in western Kentucky on the Ohio river, to be part of a soon to be vibrant arts district. My primary goal was to become the best artist I was capable of becoming. To understand this, let me go back just a bit.

In 1981, and again in 2002, I left medical practices, each of nine years duration, to pursue my art. From 1981 to 1993 I worked part time, about 20-24 hours per week, while I launched a new career. In 2002 I retired from medicine completely. In both cases I left behind an office practice full of patients, many of whom had become my friends. These were difficult and painful decisions to make, in spite of my confidence in the choices I made, and thus I promised myself I would pursue art with the same seriousness and commitment I made to medicine. I owed that to the people I left behind.

To be the best I could be was all I wanted. For almost 30 years I had to share my passion for art with medicine, both very possessive and demanding mistresses. For many years I felt I was only working at the periphery of my potential, not having the time to fully explore and develop. This was especially true in the years leading up to my ultimate retirement in 2002. Suddenly, well it felt that way even if it wasn't so sudden, I was free to devote all of my time and energy to art, and I have done just that. For the first few years I was like the kid in the candy store, frantically creating an abundance of art, losing the focus on my goal. In retrospect I see it as a necessary stage in my growth and development as an artist.

To reach one’s fullest potential is a noble aspiration, and yet so easily lost in the demands and problems that every artist experiences. The desire, maybe even need, for critical approval, the need for financial security, and a host of other stresses of daily living all act to obscure even the noblest of goals. I have had to remind myself repeatedly to keep my focus on my promise to my patients even though that goal is unattainable. Our fullest potential is always one step ahead of us.

Betrayed acrylic 36x36 2008 $2500 sold


William F. Renzulli said...

Dad, you are so deep! Just by creating and making creativity a part of your life, you are doing enough. If you are looking for a deeper reason how about this... If you think of creativity as god's inspiration, god's gift, and you follow the inspiration onto a path of creating than that's it - that is the purpose. God doesn't care if you are the best artist you can be. God gave you two gifts (well, there's also me); the gift to create something beautiful out of nothing, and the gift to make people feel better. You are supposed to do both and you do. Post that. :) Sara

Villager said...

Great post. Yours is a great story which happens to be an inspiration for me. I am determined (sort of) to have a little studio/gallery, -no matter how small-if and when I came into retirement. That will for sure keep me away from the couch.

artis1111 said...

Love the barn. I use to see a lot in Ky.I saw a nice old one this week a mile from me. I think I will go take some photos. Kathy

madre-terra said...

This is a continual conversation in my household.
When Michael and I sit down and talk about how business is going I always include the topic of 'What do you want to be making vs. what do you feel you have to make for income'. As being the 'artist's wife' it's important to me that Michael makes sure that he is exploring and creating. It's easy to let time go by and suddenly wake up one morning and realize that you have just spent years creating artwork based on public demand not on what you want to be doing.
It's a balancing game.
My heart tells me that an artist needs to go where their inspiration leads them. To follow those streams in their being that lead them to who knows where.
I wish I was there, I would sit and chat to you about it.
Hold that thought, will ya? I'll bring the wine.