To what end paint?
Fame? Not likely in my case, for a variety of reasons. My mother wanted me to paint, but my father would have insisted on perfection, whatever that is, to exploit any talent the kindergarten teacher told my mother I had. It took me until I was 30, after years of therapy, to have the courage to express anything at all on canvas,
Wealth? By the time I was 35 I realized I could never support myself with art. I needed a profession to pay for painting, so I went to medical school. At a recent show, I sold four paintings. After the gallery takes 40 percent, I might rather have kept the work for the fee, which hardly compensates for the effort put into it.
Self-publishing is a very expensive business. In 2013, I published my first children's book, Froggy Family's First Frolic. Although we have sold most of the books we had printed, we still took a considerable loss. I don’t enjoy marketing that much, but reading the first book to children and hearing parents describe how much their offspring adore having it read to them brings me great pleasure.
Glory? One of my teachers kept telling me I had to get my work out there, so I entered shows. Some I have gotten in, some I haven’t bothered with. One of the pieces rejected, TWICE, is a small painting that our daughter Helen Mirra, a world-renowned artist, said is the best I have ever done. It is my favorite. Only a few members of Main Street Artists wanted a print of a painting based on an ambitious collage honoring them.
Power? Actually, yes, making art is healing, and it has taken me through a number of very rough times. Art brings me power by the necessity of practicing non-attachment. Now it is keeping me alive. For each of the last three projects (my first book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic; the Main Street Artists collage and painting; and my current book, Froggy Family’s Fine Feelings) I have said to myself, “God, please let me live long enough to finish this project.”
To what end paint then, if not for Fame, Wealth, Glory and Power? Ultimately, as the fox said to The Little Prince (Antoine de St Exupery, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1943):
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
My motto in life is “Love God, and waste time. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
– Margot Fass