If not now, when?

If not now, when?

Nancy SW., age 70

I’m over 70, and happy to be alive. I’m trying to make as much art as I can, while I can. How I wish I had found more time to work on painting, while jobs, family, house, etc., kept me so busy. Feeling engaged with my artwork makes me feel good – and thinking less about the scary world we inhabit, my age, and worries about my health, my family, and friends. 

What would I like to say through my art? I don’t really have a message! Or when I do – my paintings with guns, broken bridges, oppressed women in the Middle East, or bad politicians – are not usually well-received. I do like telling stories and setting scenes with retro images that I try to copy with my own hand. An old photo of a relative in a silly hat will send me into a reverie of a different time, often before my own time. I like the transcendence of art. Take me somewhere else! Make me think! People often tell me that one of my pictures reminds them of something about their childhoods. Some of my pictures make people laugh. I love this! I like when my pictures create a conversation.

Community is important to me. As I read about so many people feeling isolated, I hope that new generations will find ways to stay connected to others, and not just on screens. I see a lot of this happening with younger generations in cities, with partnerships, collaborations, community gardens, book groups, and more.

I’m a member of New England Wax, or NEW (newenglandwax.com), a group of about thirty artists, almost all women, working with encaustic (hot) and cold wax mediums. Providence, RI, where I have lived for many years, is a city known for art, artists, and historic architecture. The Providence Art Club’s three galleries, where I show my work, are voted the best in the state. I feel a great sense of community here. 

It pleases me that age discrimination in the art world is finally getting some attention. I think social media can enhance our connections, a good thing.