Life as a Renaissance Soul

There is a website/book by Margaret Lobenstine that discusses/addresses the issue of being a “Renaissance Soul”.  I really enjoy her take on people like me that just have too many passions to be strapped to just one.  I much prefer that term to “jack of all trades, master of none” but I suppose that, as well, would fit me at times.  The later seemed to whispering critically through my mind as I was reviewing my results from the recent state fair here in Indiana.  I have entered both photography and art in the state fair off & on for several years but the last two years I just wasn’t able to.  This year it somehow felt like the right time to participate again so I submitted three photos, three digital art pieces and three mixed media works.  Now, to be fair, I should say that there are often pieces submitted (especially in the photography division) that don’t even get displayed.  So having your work hung is a success in itself.  But, and I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten kind of used to always having my work hung (I bet that will come back to bite me next year now that I actually put it in writing!).  Most years I also get a ribbon of some sort, a few of them even the sought-after “blue” variety.  So I have fairly high expectations for myself.  Once again this year, I did get all my entries hung up and garnered an honorable mention in both digital art and mixed media.  But somehow it seemed to just hammer home the notion that I am too scattered in what I do, hopping from one media to the next, not sticking long enough with any of them to achieve the sort of excellence that I could if I would just narrow my focus down to one area.  The only problem is, I just can’t seem to make myself do that!   Anyhow, as I went to pick up my entries after the fair I was feeling a bit negative about my ability to focus on one subject and excel in it.  I picked up my ribbon-less photos and dropped them in the truck before heading downstairs to the fine art division for the rest of my work.  I began to gather the pieces but just couldn’t seem to locate one of my mixed media pieces.  It simply wasn’t where it had been when I saw the display at the opening a few weeks ago.  Great!  Just what I needed, I thought to myself, a lost piece of art and a hassle trying to locate it.  Then a glimmer of a positive thought took hold.  Could it possibly have been sold?  I’d sold a piece there a few years ago and they had called to tell me about it so I assumed that a phone call was standard procedure.  I asked the volunteer who was helping me look and he went to talk to the “front desk” volunteers.  The next thing I heard was his cheerful voice yelling “good news, good news!” as he came back down the hall.  Yes, it had sold!  And, though I know I will again confront myself with that negative voice saying I am going in too many directions at once, at least for a few minutes I had shut it up.  Yes, I am a “Rennaisance Soul” and maybe I could propel myself further by concentrating on just one media but right now, scattered as I am, someone liked what I was doing enough to purchase it and give it a home.

initiate mixed media (c) 2008, Lynne Medsker
"initiate" mixed media (SOLD) (c) 2008, Lynne Medsker

It happened last week as well.  And the week before that.  And the month before that.  And I’m confident it will happen again. Wherever “there” is, I feel like I’m getting there as an artist…just in a round-about, directionally challenged sort of way.  And that’s the only way I know how to do it!

WIth my wheels spinning,


4 thoughts on “Life as a Renaissance Soul

  1. When I look at your work, Lynne, I don’t see someone that is scattered or jumping from media to media without focus. I see someone with the talent, skills, flexibility and imagination to create beautiful art that is appreciated by everyone. You only prove that art is not just paint on a piece of paper, or clay in the shape of a vase. It is something that was imagined by you, brought into being by whatever process and using whatever materials suited your vision… and shared with us. More often than not, I look at your work and think, “That is beautiful!”, “Lynne is just awesome!”, or, “How the heck did she do that?!” So, please, don’t worry so much about “focusing” on just one media. I for one would be afraid we’d be missing out on a lot of the cool stuff! 🙂

    1. I don’t know how I let this comment pass without replying! Sorry, but here I am “better late than never”. Thank you SO much for the encouraging words!! I appreciate your thoughts and, even more so, appreciate you sharing them with me.


  2. Congrats on the sale. For me it feels even better to be selling right now with the challenging times and all.

    I completely understand the moving between things. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. What I realized for myself was that the lack of focus on one main thing left it hard for me to enter shows, festivals, etc. And while I did all things pretty darn good, I didn’t feel I was excelling in any one area.

    So, about 4 years ago I decided to focus on painting. Not wanting to abandon jewelry making, textiles, sculpture, mixed media, etc (yes, the list goes on), I made the determination that painting would be my professional focus and the others would be hobbies. Things I would do for the fun of doing them. An entirely new concept for me when it came to creating stuff as I’ve always focused on making salable items. It was actually quite freeing . . . now I work in silver to make something new to wear, bind a book for a gift, crochet silly hats for the grandbabies . . . that sort of thing.

    Just some rambling thoughts on your post this morning . . . We should get together and brainstorm sometime!


    1. I like that idea Teri! Except for the part where I have to actually chose which media to focus on. 🙂
      I’d love to get together and brainstorm sometime, let’s plan it!


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