Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Revisiting "Is Balance Overrated?"

 I don't do this very often, but after struggling to find time to do a blog post I felt good about, I gave up and decided to revisit (and I guess "recycle") a post from June 2008. The funny thing is, everything I wrote back then, still rings true today.

While I had posted last week that I was finished with those 25 pieces for the 20/20 show, I discovered four of the pieces were not entirely "finished". Then there were labels and inventory. In addition, the two pieces for the Photo Oakland show will be delivered this week as well, so there were a couple of visits to my framers this week on top of everything else. 

So before I load my car with 25 8" x 8" pieces, here is what I wrote almost six years ago!

© Dianne Poinski

It’s not hard to understand why I love what I do. When creating new images, I find myself totally in the present moment, unaware of time and filled with an energy that is hard to explain. I also discovered early, that the hand coloring aspect of my photography was therapeutic. When my Dad was dying of cancer I would find a certain amount of peace and acceptance come over me whenever I sat down to work on an image. While that was one of my first experiences with that particular benefit, it was not the last. Like most people, I have had my share of “bumps in the road” but I continue to find healing through my work. 

Having explained some of the positive experiences I have had while working on my art and the passion I feel toward it, it’s no wonder that at times, working is all I want to do.

I have found though, that this sometimes obsessive desire to work does not always feel like a good thing. I find that when I am engaged in too many outside events and/or obligations I have a tendency to get grumpy. Many of these activities are considered very enjoyable by most people, including myself, but when I start to feel like working would be more fun than going to a party or to the movies with friends, I start to question my priorities and motives.

It’s a classic stereotype – the artist as a loner, anti social and introverted – but I believe there may be some truth to it. My need for solitude is not very far down the list after my need for food, water and shelter. If I go too long without time for myself and my art I become slightly depressed and irritable. It’s not pretty. My family and my good friends know this and they respect it.

But it’s hard to live like this and not feel guilty. My need to retreat into my studio has nothing to do with making money but it may look like that to someone who does not know me very well. There are many times I do things because I think I “should” not because I really want to. Compromise is part of living in society and participating in activities we may find “unappealing at the time” is what “adults” do – right?

I hope I don’t sound like I am complaining or whining but I am curious as to what other people, not just artists, do when feeling conflicted about choices they have made or about to make. How do we find balance or should we even attempt to? Is balance overrated?

But really, when it comes down to it, how can finding peace, joy and passion in what you do (and get paid for it) be a bad thing? 


  1. After many years of struggling with the concept of compromise, when it just seems to run counter my nature, and seems to for you too, I've tried now to unlearn the impulse. I find I'm happier as a result. I think "balance" is something we find as individuals, not compared to others. I think you and I are much alike, even in our art, possibly reflecting our introverted, loner point of view. If we try to deny it or fight it, I believe we do battle with what most makes us ourselves and how can we then produce art that is our own?

    1. Well said Joanna! Thank you! It's the "comparison" that gets me in trouble. Thanks for that reminder!