Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sometimes the Simplest Truth is the Hardest to Discover

Decades ago when I attended college (okay, it wasn’t decades – but somehow it feels like it was) I enrolled in a beginners painting class. Unlike acrylic that I use now, we were studying in oil. I am happy that I dabbled in oil paints so I know what the perks (rich deep colors and textures) and cons (eternal drying time. No seriously for-ev-er).

Besides that general experience there was only one thing I remember my professor teaching us. I can’t even recall her name, but I remember she was a wiry mid-adged woman, who not only owned unruly hair, but owned an undescribable obsession with cats.

She stood up at the front of the class one day and stated, “Never paint to sell.”


That is why I was going through college though. I was going to be a full time artist, and have lots of kids, and have a handsome husband, and everyone will know me for my art, I may even have a unicorn as a pet, who knows?

Somehow, in that moment of my youth, I felt like my professor was not a professor at all, but an alien from outer space speaking lies to dash our hopes and dreams.
Fast forward with me, if you will, to today. I’m sitting in my “art room” (more of a corner of a guest bedroom) writing this and turning over in my mind that statement that I heard about ten years prior. I want to know why I paint. Why take so much of my time and spend it with a canvas, paint, and brush. So many other things demand my time, so why make this the priority? The answer, more clearly than it ever was before, is not that I want to sell, the reason is so much deeper than this.
Now it is clear what my professor was saying. As an artist, if you paint only with the intention of pleasing a crowd, the joy of creating disappears.
I paint, because I need to.
Creating is part of me, inseparable, as a living soul is inside a body. Creating is who I am. The passion to create is my lifeline and when it suffocates, I too am affected.
Every piece of art, finished on canvas or still floating around in my mind is an extension of me. This may come as an obvious discovery. It took me nearly thirty years to figure it all out on my own though.

At times, I will create a painting with no idea where the inspiration came from. Once it is finished, I can then view it, study it and analyze why this particular painting came to existence. I have to dig deep at times inside my subconscious to find what drove the image to the surface. The meanings can be emotional or silly, but I do this so I can share the painting’s story with you. I only hope, that you will also participate in my passion through my paintings and art stories.

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