I've been taking this online art business course through Xanadu Gallery out of Scottsdale, Arizona called Art Business Academy. While I joined to learn about how to put a little polish on my portfolio and better understand how to market myself to collectors and galleries, we often get fun questions that make us reflect more on our actual process of creating.
The opening question this week was, "why do you create"? I had 4 quick answers, but here's some of the additional backstory...
To share joy and beauty. It balances out the incessant negative noise in the news and in life.
We are bombarded with negative thoughts in the morning about our upcoming day, negative comments from the kids about just being awake, negative actions from other drivers all trying to get their own kids to school... in a hurry. You get calls from the school, either there is something going on with your child or there is yet another volunteer request for something... x2 if you have 2 kids. Then there is the election. I will say no more. I'm sure this one is painful no matter what side you are on. It's all important stuff, but it wears you down, bit by bit, like sandpaper. In my quest for balance I feel I need to surround myself with the things that inspire joy, like a view of a landscape or a bouquet of flowers. It's like a soothing balm for me, not unlike that gin & tonic on Friday night... with my bare feet on the coffee table... just listening to the birds.
To not have regrets.
My MIL passed away a small handful of years ago saying that she "had lived a good life". About that time the whole Bucket List thing was making the rounds and some research was being done with end of life patients to see what the common life regrets were. Folks regretted NOT doing things more than doing things. It all just got me thinking about what I might regret not doing. First and foremost was painting. What totally freed me up was that I also realized I would not care if I had actually succeeded or not as an artist... just that I had TRIED.
To show my kids and friends that they can create too.
This journey making art started with just a 2 month trial to see if I would paint in a studio environment. But, in sharing it with others, it morphed into something else. Suddenly, my teens are proud of me. I get high fives for new social media successes, show successes and even painting sales. My favorite part is that they've started asking for "writing time" to work on their novels. How many teens do that?! My husband is starting to post some of his pictures on FB. Friends and family are starting to post their own photos, fiber arts projects, novels & articles. It's like the environment around me has switched to being joyful and creative.
To keep from getting twitchy like Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the old Pink Panther movies. (This is probably the #1 reason for my husband and kids.)
There is this Southern-ism that "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". And, well, it's true. I'm not a bad mom, I just have a tad bit of a cranky side on occasion... usually after I've moved onto plan C or D for the day and been asked to add 3 items to the single one I just checked off the list. For some time I was content with cooking and knitting as my creative outlets. Now that I see how free and joyful I feel in the studio, I realize I was was not being authentic to what I truly craved. I wasn't fooling the family though. They practically push me out the door if I haven't been to the studio in 3 days. More than that and they start asking what they can do to help me around the house so I can go to the studio instead. A trip away to learn more art techniques? "You go, Mom. You deserve it." I like that making art helps me be a better mom and wife.
I started making art on a trial basis to create beauty and check off the "no regrets" item on the Bucket List. What I find even more beautiful, is that somehow I also created a more joyful and creative environment for the family and friends around me.