The real misión of art is touching and healing hearts, and bringing joy and beauty to our world.
Exploring previously why we make art, I skipped the real mission of why we make art. The number one reason to make art is the sheer happiness it gives when a painting brings joy to someone else. Sometimes it’s a painting that is a special request and when they see it, it hits the emotional spot. When a painting was not planned for someone in particular but someone sees it and it is just the thing they are looking for, it is again a joyful moment. Sometimes a painting is bought from the internet or in a shop or gallery and there is no way to know for what reason it was purchased. In that case, I let my artist brain run wild with imagining how life changing that painting became for someone somewhere. Never would I allow myself to think it was bought just because it matched a color scheme or something mundane like that. In my heart, I want all my paintings to be meaningful to the person they go with. If that piece of art can touch someone else’s heart, then my heart sings.
The number one reason to make art is to bring joy to people by
touching their heart
helping to heal a heart
creating a peaceful feeling
spurring other good feelings
adding more beauty to our world
If art can do that, we are fulfilling our mission. This week, it was my joy to create two special pieces of art for two different people, one very young and one very old. The tears streamed down my face in both cases. As I watched one drive away toward the person it was destined for, I looked down at my puppy with tears dropping on her head. She looked up at me with concern in her little puppy eyes. I smiled at her and she wagged her tail. And that was “Mission Complete.” Nothing else matters.
How do we answer the question of “Why make art?” Maybe its not Why but rather Who?
Why make art? The question has been asked many times and answered in numerous ways. It would make a great research project but that has probably been done before. Still I would love to hear what other artists have to say on the subject. Why do you make art? There are numerous philosophical opinions. There are many cerebral answers. Some respond from the heart in deep felt ways. Van Gogh, Picasso, even Albert Einstein discussed the topic of Why make art? Quotes abound on the quote sites. Why people make art is probably unanswerable in many cases.
Megan Coyle says, “Artists have a deep rooted love for making art.” That is so true. A love from the heart that cannot be squelched. “As for myself, I create art because it has always been something that has brought balance to my life,” is one answer given on the Artpromotivate website. I cannot argue with that answer either. Art does bring something from the inside out that needs to get out. Getting it out seems to bring a sort of balance to life. Madhans Art says “Whether an art lover or an art student, it’s essential to understand why artists create art.” That’s another point that I cannot find any fault with. Probably the best response I saw was from Walking Ledges, ““We make art because we must.” Yes we must. But does that really answer the question?
Yes we love it. Yes it brings balance to our lives. Yes it is essential to understand why. And why we must. But the answer is summed up not in Why? But Who? Answer that question and all the rest falls into place. A Creator greater than us, creates through us. We are the vessel. How cool is that! Julia Cameron’s groundbreaking book, “The Artist’s Way” is the best direction for finding the answer to “Who.” Connect to the Who and all the answers make sense.
Cardinals never grow old as an artist’s subject. People love cardinals. They always will.
Cardinals never grow old as a painting subject. Every one loves cardinals, especially now in winter when they are the only spot of color in an otherwise bleak landscape. I never tire of painting them. Many artists will struggle to find new material. Or a subject that is challenging. Or something that is different from the usual in an effort to not be stale. I confess to doing that too. But then I always return to cardinals. And chickadees! I love them too. Lots of people paint cardinals and chickadees. Is that a reason for me not to paint them? I don’t think so.
Some subjects are timeless. No matter how many times they are painted and by many varied artists, they are still popular subjects. All the more reason to keep painting them. They bring joy to many people. The legend of the cardinals is meaningful to lots of folks. Variations abound but the theme is to see a cardinal is to see a reminder that someone who has passed on, is still with us. I have wondered about that myself. I have a pair that frequent my bird feeders daily. I’m sure they are my grandparents. At least, I talk to them as though they are. That may raise some eyebrows with some of my friends but OK. I probably raise eyebrows for a number of things! Talking to cardinals seems pretty minor, as things go.
As long as people love cardinals, I’ll go on painting them. And chickadees too. As artists, we have to do what we have to do. It may not be what the current hot ticket thing is. It may not make you a star. If it brings joy to you and to others, who cares if its the big thing or not. Stardom is not all it’s cracked up to be anyway! I’m guessing, since I don’t know! Cardinals and chickadees have a timeless appeal. To me, that’s a great reason to keep on painting them
From over-thinking to rethinking a painting led to some life lessons as well.
What do you do with a painting that isn’t working? Stick it in the back of the garage or the back of the closet and forget about it? Leave it out where you can stare at it hoping a new idea will pop up? Keep piling more paint on it to see if eventually it may gel? I confess to doing all those things and more. Sometimes a painting will sit for years with me occasionally giving it the quizzical look. I may dab a spot of paint on it and look again. I may forget it altogether.
Life is like that too. There are things you stick in a dark corner hoping that sooner or later a solution will come to you. If you’re like me, there are things that sit in the dark forever. And there are things that I take out and stare at. Every now and then, I’ll throw a spot of paint at whatever the issue is. I can over-think almost to the death. I can over-think an issue so many times that I forget what the original issue was. What I rarely do is ask for another opinion. I either lock up that tired horse and forget about it or beat it to death instead of finding out what somebody else has to say about it.
Then, Out of the Blue, the solution will appear from where I least expect it and from a least expected source. But not like a bolt of lightening or blinding flash of inspiration. It comes gently, in a still quiet voice that says, “don’t over think, rethink.” Sounds simple. It really is. The problem is taking the time to stop, breathe and listen. I learned that lesson from this painting. It literally sat for over a decade in the back of the closet in the guest room. It was a hideous mishmash of bright garish colors. At the time, I didn’t realize those colors were blinding me to everything else about the painting. The colors hurt my eyes and made me want to look away. Avoidance was the name of the game until someone asked me if I could paint a painting in neutral colors for them . Bingo! I took a breath and began to rethink.
Instead of going into over-think over-drive, I got quiet and listened. I made up a palette of quiet neutral colors. As I concentrated on breathing, the still and the quiet came through. What emerged was made up of gentle strokes and soft peaceful color. What if I applied this approach to the problems of life? Instead of over thinking with harsh, garish responses, I could rethink gently with quiet neutrals. It worked for this painting. Maybe I can get it to work in other paintings and other areas of my life. We’ll see! In the meantime, it worked for a second painting too!
Once I gained an understanding of what happened with this painting, the 23rd Psalm popped into my head. Then I knew the real source of this direction.
“He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:..2-3
Not all distractions are bad! Some are frustrating. Some are too much fun to be mad at. Nothing you can do about distractions but move through them.
Some things have gotten in the way of my blogging as of late. The biggest problem was the new computer I bought from Apple. It was not the right size and after struggling for months to make it work, I have finally given up and traded it in. Now I’m happy with the computer but not the process that brought me to this place. At least now, I’m much more versed in gigabytes and terabytes. I won’t be fooled again!
And the second distraction is this cute little ball of fur named Angel. Angel came with the name and I felt like it suited her. Well sometimes! She has already doubled in size in a few short weeks and I soon will no longer be able to pick her up. But she is a complete and total delight even when we are fighting with doggie lessons. I quickly gave up on keeping her out of mud puddles. She’s a natural mud puppy. However, she loves the shower so we can easily get the mud off. It’s been raining almost the whole time she’s been with me so I have to monitor the backyard time for mud hazards! She has learned to sit well. We’re working on “no jumping” but not yet doing well with the “no biting” with sharp little puppy teeth. Potty training has gone well too. Did I mention that she is very smart??
Finally the distractions have been tamed and it’s time to get down to business! I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad to say good-bye to 2022. Counting on things looking up in 2023!!
In the meantime, enjoy some puppy shower fun for a little smile in your day!