They say eyes clear with age,
As dew clarifies air,
To sharpen evenings,
As if time put an edge,
Round the last shape of things
To show them there;
The many-levelled trees,
The long soft tides of grass
Wrinkling away the gold
Wind-ridden waves- all these,
They say, come back to focus
As we grow old.
‘Long Sight In Age’ by Philip Larkin
All ferocious young, aspiring artists leave me in envy and wonder.
What if? I had found the camera decades ago, when in the full bloom of my pretty, tight and smart-assed youth? Instead of this midlife cloak of artistic invisibility, would I have coolly strutted the world in tight black leather, a hip (when the word meant something) struggling artist turning heads? Could Lou Reed have been my 80’s Soho stroll soundtrack?
Not if I needed to be any good.
Because more than vision, talent and skill, I lacked the courage which opens the creative soul up to judgement, rejection and learning. I needed time for vulnerability’s bloody, screaming birth. And its wonderful unexpected consequences.
But most of all, my eyes weren’t ready. They were still all in my head. While an artist's perspective resides in the heart. I needed time to open mine and move my eyes there.
And so, in midlife, the camera and this life found me, finally, at exactly the right time, just in time. Because “they say eyes clear with age”. My work is unjaded and innocent, a tension of unschooled naivety and wisdom’s clarity. My middle age fueling ferocious artistic purpose.
I wonder, what has midlife ferociously fueled in you? Or are you an early learner with abundant fuel and thoughts to share with me? I would love to hear your story.