Including my love of creating fine art, I have several hobbies and interests that I pursue. At times I feel a little overwhelmed and confused at which interest should be dominating the majority of my time. I've read several articles and books that all say the same thing:
Choose your course, and then follow it. Don't stray off your path. Pick ONE interest and pursue that until the day you die.
This is great advice I'm sure, but what about those of us that have two major interests, or three, or four? Unless I am mistaken, I am not alone in posing this question. I've wrestled with this dilemma for quite some time and have finally come to a personal conclusion. While most artists seem to be content in painting their landscapes or still life for the duration of their lives, I have a desire to explore many subjects and different styles of painting.
When you look at history, you will see that not all the great artists spent every last minute of their lives creating art. Leonardo DaVinci is an obvious candidate for my point. He spent large quantities of time dedicated to meditation, science, and invention. Michelangelo Buonaroti is another artist that was also an inventor. Mark Twain didn't write novels his entire life. He was a travel writer, a journalist, a publisher, a riverboat pilot, and printer. If these men can have varied interests, then so can I.
Having a second interest or "hobby" can also foster creativity for your main interest. Often I wonder how some artists go about creating the same style of artwork with the same subject matter for years on end without suffering from extreme boredom. A hobby will change your pace of thought, frame of mind, and re-rout your creative process. Whenever I come back to my artwork after working on one of my hobbies for a while, I feel refreshed and enlivened. I can see my work with new eyes and new energy.
The important thing is to find a balance between your main interest and your hobbies. Hobbies are fun and inspiring, but whatever you are most passionate about should be what you pursue the most.