A while ago I wrote about how making art is hard work and not just magic for a book review blog that no longer exists in the same format. Since my writing no longer exists, and I thought it was important, I decided to share my experience with you here. So many people act like the process of making art has a divine quality. I think that kind of thinking excludes people from participating in the process and that worries me. Art and making art should be available for every person. Art is one of the things that makes us human. We are born with this gift of creativity. Yes, we can improve our skills through hard work and practice and maybe that is how truly great art is made, but each one of us can be an artists if it’s what we want to do. That’s why it can be really difficult to stand out in the crowd. When you choose to do something that anyone can do, as soon as they are able to pick up a pencil, you have to put in the time and effort to hone your skills. You also have to learn how to present your ideas and talents to the world in the best possible way. This part is not magic, it’s hard work. Making art is easy, but turning art into a “job” is hard. Anyway, here are my thoughts on why making art is an ability given to us at birth and why being an artist doesn’t make me special.
People often wonder about artists. What makes them paint or draw or do anything that they do? People look at watercolors with awe and oil paintings with amazement. I know people believe artists are special. That they have been born with magical talents and a unique way of looking at the world. This might be true for some, but mostly I think art and creating is just an inclination. All of the talent and magic really comes from practice.
Children create art before they can even hold a pencil. They scribble in chocolate pudding while sitting in their high chair and finger paint on walls much to the dismay of their parents. We are all born with the ability and the desire to create art. For some people the creative drive becomes filtered into something else. Some people may write, or act, or sing, or do amazing things with mathematics and science. Creativity probably shifts towards whatever it is a person feels inclined to do. For me, that has been art.
I paint because it makes me happy. It is that simple. I am getting better at it because I practice almost ever single day. I still have much to learn and a long way to go, but I am a devoted student. I enjoy it. Art is like meditation for me. It puts me “in the zone” as athletes are so fond of saying. It brings me peace and confidence and contentment. It centers me. It makes me feel more alive.
I fancy myself to be a colorist. I love color. It’s what drives me to paint. I primarily paint in watercolor and acrylic paper collage. I paint plants, animals, mermaids, pet portraits and the occasional person. I will attempt to paint just about anything that captures my attention, but animals and flowers are probably my forté.
I am constantly learning new things and experimenting. I often make bad choices and start over. For every painting I am proud of there are several little miniature disasters. There are multiple problems to be solved and then re-solved. Things go wrong and then go right again. Materials can be of poor quality. Making art is truly an adventure.
Art is a process. Anytime you find yourself fascinated by a work of art I hope you will think not only of talent and magic, but also of hard work, perseverance, struggle, and even tears. Art is not always easy nor effortless. It is devotion and interest and sometimes even pain. It is always exciting. This is why I do what I do. That, and making art makes me happy.
What are your passions? What drives you?