'Rhododendron and Fence' ©

Rhododendron and Fence © Mary Baker, Oil on Paper (private collection)

Art, Artists and Vocation

"If you really want to upset your parents...go into the arts!" - Kurt Vonnegut

How many times have people been told that, "You can't make it as an artist."

How many times when you've told someone that you are studying theater, dance, the visual arts, do people look at you and cringe; feel sorry for you, and feel that you and your family have wasted a great deal of money, and that you have wasted years of your life.

How often when you tell people that you are involved in the arts, do people feel sorry for you because you won't be able to find a job or make it in the, "real world."

A vocation has been described as, "something you can't not do."

Frederich Buechner has defined vocation as, "the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need."

A very wise man, Harold Babcock, has this to say, "Vocation is not simply about doing, but, at a much deeper level, it is about being. It is about what Thomas Merton called, "one's true self," that self that one is really meant to be, and that no one else can be.Vocation is not always something we choose, much as we might like to thinks so; rather, it is often something which chooses us."

An artistic vocation, sharing your beauty, depth, insight and wisdom with the world, is both a gift and a responsibility. If you have a vocation as an artist, you are not different from the world, but rather you have been given an extraordinary gift, one that requires dedication, focus, courage, perseverance and hard work. Art is not for the faint of heart.

© Mary Baker