Friday, January 21, 2022

Keeping the Faith



Artful Life
Tara O’Neill

I am writing this just a few days before the beginning of another New Year. Of course, by the time you are reading it, the Big Day shall have passed, the confetti cleared, the headaches healed, and the resolutions well underway. It’s now a time for soulful reflections and forward thinking. A time of promise and promises.

As I look about my artful community I see a great flurry of optimistic activities:

  • Cultural organizations are gearing up for a spate of new activities and events to delight and enrich the public. The newest kid on that block being the Cultural Alliance of Marco Island and Goodland (CAMIG), whose purpose, among others, is to help all our organizations reach out with a unified voice and to function in collaboration instead of competition. Great stuff, and about time.
  • Individual artists have already set their exhibition schedules for the season, along with the list of standardized artist resolutions. To be more organized, ensuring our free-time really is free. To strive for greater awareness of the art beyond our own doorsteps, thus keeping our minds open. To improve. To reach out. We will clean our studios and keep them tidy (hahahaha!). We shall be diligent, and we shall be generous, hopefully garnering generosity from others.
  • Homages to the past are being planned, and the future is constantly being rewritten through the actions of the present.

And me? It has recently occurred to me that my New Year’s resolution is always a variation of the same theme…my greatest weakness: keeping faith. I’m feeling mighty courageous, and maybe a little foolish, sharing this with you now, but I can’t shake the feeling I’m not alone in battling doubt. It’s not just the curse of the artist but of artful people in all walks of life. It’s a witch with a capital B.

I’ve had some great successes in 2014, but still I reflect on some of my grander schemes of 2014, sincerely thought out, purposefully executed and then, despite my best efforts, coming to naught. What went wrong? How could this have happened? Did I over-estimate my value? Did I get cocky? Why didn’t somebody stop be? (As if anyone could have!)

Despite my good fortune, I can’t help but admit to those few moments of utter despair, when I’ve seriously considered abandoning the life of an artist in return for something safer, less dramatic and less traumatic. A career that didn’t consume my thoughts and disturb my sleep day in and night out. A sweet little job that I could walk away from each afternoon and not give a moment’s thought while away. Spend time with my husband, enjoy guilt-free weekend getaways, conversations with friends sans perpetual distractions.

But then, after a period of hand-wringing silence, I get a call: someone who must have that painting. Another call: someone wants those three. And another call for a massive mural. And now I am waltzing my kitty around the living room and out onto

the porch. I am appreciated! It’s working — I’m working! I love my life! Listen? Is that the phone? Yeah! So silly.

They say that people choose occupations, but vocations choose people.

Honestly! Who would choose this roller coaster? But I can’t get around it, and the only way to get through it is to, you guessed it, hold on and keep the faith. So, for the umpteenth year in a row, that is my resolution: Hold on and keep the faith.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported my endeavors over the years; you make me happy. And I’d like to thank everyone who hasn’t; you make me better.

Happy New Year one and all.


Tara O’Neill, a lifelong, award-winning, artist has been an area resident since 1967. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida and is currently represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery on Marco Island. Visit her at

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