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The BEST PART About Being an Artist

May 19, 2021 2:25 PM | Dan Nelson


THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST

The best part about being an artist is, quite simply-- BEING an Artist! It is the joy of taking two hands connected to one mind, grabbing a blank paper or canvas and in a matter of minutes, hours, or days turning it into a thing of intrinsic Beauty— or authentic IS-ness, if you want to be a little more philosophically neutral— a “thing” that has never existed before.

Many people now live and work in a world dominated by ones and zeros and glowing screens, not creating anything tangible. I have concerns about the effect that is having on their souls. 

So hooray for us Artists! (English majors put down your red pens; I know when I get improper! :-) We get to make STUFF! Real STUFF! AND . . .  it's possible that-- with a little luck-- some of the stuff we make will last 4 or 5 hundred years! Wow! 

Artists are operating at one of the most fundamental levels of what it means to be human: the capacity to make stuff. I think we all know how that feels: there is a peculiar kind of satisfaction that comes when we are done making something. Hang on now!— I know we all get hung up on whether it’s a “good-enough-stuff”, but that’s a subject for another time. Even if every part of what we make is not up to our lofty standard of perfection, there is a sense of wholeness gained simply in the act of trying.  

I think that’s why most people make art . . . and I think it’s the main reason most people should make art. 

At the end of every art project we should ask ourselves the question: 

“But did I enjoy making it?

If yes, then that piece of art is GOOD ENOUGH

Watch out! Competitions can be a little dangerous in this regard. If you are making art in order to WIN, I’m not sure you’ve really got the idea. The same is true for selling art. I’ve paid my bills by selling art for many years and I readily recognize that I am the exception, not the rule. The real reason I have been able to do that is that, by some quirk of personality, the pressure to “sell” has not eclipsed my joy in the simple act of creating. It’s still more fun than work. (Though it’s taken a lot of “work” to get to that point!)

So AIM FOR JOY. Not winning, not selling . . . Those might be a cherry on top, but the whole sundae is the sheer act of creating . . . PERIOD.

Believe me, we’re all in this together.

Hope that helps. 

Happy Painting!


Dan


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