Monday, March 1, 2010


San Diego by Harvey Tilker

It was in the mid to late seventies, after five years of bliss in my internal medicine practice when I first became aware of a growing discomfort in my life. The forces that emerged to direct a tumultuous journey from medicine to art are beyond the scope of this narrative, but there is one that I am moved to address.

Have you ever said to yourself upon arising in the morning, “I would really like to move through the day in slow motion, maybe with some soft background music and a fuzzy periphery, just like in the movies”? I did! and with increasing frequency, only to find that was the day of unexpected emergencies, calls, and other demands on my time and attention. The days were not my own, and what was once very rewarding and satisfying work was gradually becoming increasingly burdensome, no longer replenishing the energy they consumed. Imbedded in the growing desire to pursue my dreams of an artist’s life was the need to be able to design my own days, answering only to the demands I chose to place on myself. I had fantasies of what I thought my life would be like as an artist, and not a physician.

I made a decision, and for the next 12 years I was able to spend about 75% of my days in the studio and the remainder practicing medicine. The cost of such a move was great, but the rewards were greater, and none were appreciated as much as the privilege of being able to move through each day in a pace and manner of my own choosing. This was not about the number of hours worked in the day, but about the emotional mood or tone that I brought to the work. I can say unequivocally that my life as an artist was everything I thought it would be.

In 1992 other forces came into play, and in 1993 I resumed private practice on our farm. Nine years later I retired completely from medicine and once more I am in complete charge of my time...and can design my own day!

1 comment:

Aynex Mercado said...

I thought that was one of your paintings. :)