I've come to appreciate a huge benefit of getting older, something that only comes with time and experience. All those things I've learned over the years, the skills I've acquired, and the wealth of experiences I've had form a larger and larger base that I draw from in understanding life, navigating relationships, and creating my art.
(By the way, in my mind, wealth of experience has nothing to do with travel. There's more richness in my immediate surroundings than I can ever fully appreciate no matter how long I live.)
Another thing I've noticed is a clearer understanding of who I truly am. In other words, I can feel that I'm developing authenticity in my art.
Last month I finished writing, illustrating, and self-publishing my first fiction book, Tales of Love and Courage from Milkweed Manor. When my sister, who knows me very well, read it, she told me that the book is truly me, almost an 'autobiography' - not in the sense of retelling the events of my life, but in the sense of revealing my true self - what I care about, my tastes, visual and story-telling themes, and so on.
I think of authenticity as flowing from a combination of memories and imagination. I'm continuing to think about this with the goal of being able to express it more clearly. Meanwhile, here's a small watercolor that I did a few years ago. It's a 'portrait' of a needle felting hare that I dressed in clothes I made from vintage shirting fabric. This painting, as well as the needle felted piece is, I think, authentically me.