Leslie Parke, "Koi Fish I", oil on linen, 30 inches x 43 inches.

Leslie Parke, “Koi Fish I”, oil on linen, 30 inches x 43 inches.

My friend, Andrew Ciccarelli, just sent me an article from The Atlantic about Art and Solitude, and particularly how that played out for the great Swedish filmmaker Igmar Bergman.  It made me think about my own life and routine.  I also believe that others have the wrong idea about what it means to be an artist. Despite the alcoholism and debauchery of some, most artists live a very disciplined life.  We have to.  There is so much to get done!

I spend most of my time alone. I work alone and I live alone. I have been doing this for so long, and despite being considered a very social person, I find it difficult to spend a lot of time with people. Frankly, I’d rather be working. It takes me a long time to do my paintings, and I have many that I want to do. Sometimes being in the studio feels like a marathon race. Or more accurately, a long period of sliding on black ice. Frankly, I do not know how artists hold down other jobs and paint. How do they get anything done?

To support my painting life, I do have to sell my work. And that is a whole other effort. So, I paint 9 – 5 and  and from about 6 until midnight I promote, contact dealers, update website, etc. And that doesn’t include the time I spend praying that someone will pay me. While I am glad that others envy my life and say to me often, “At least you get to do what you love.” , I am reminded of the story Michael (filmmaker Michael Marton) told me about putting his pet goldfish on the top of the radio so that the fish could listen to the great von Karajan conducting Beethoven. I am sure the fish enjoyed it, right up until he died.