Last week someone asked me if when I paint, do I think about whether or not it is saleable or do I just paint for myself. I was working on a rather large painting at the time. As I looked at it, I realized that it never really occurred to me that it probably wouldn’t fit in the average person’s living room.
I’ve never really made an official artist statement, but I guess painting for me, is about making art for the sake of making art. I usually don’t have a really good reason for it, except that I can’t help myself. I paint first and think about whether other people like it later. I found that when I start worrying too much about how it will be judged, I’m not free to really engage myself in the process and usually the outcome isn’t so great.
I think a lot of times life can be like that as well. We live life because we keep waking up in the morning. What we don’t realize is that we are the painters in our own lives. We can create the life we want. However, we can get so preoccupied with wondering how others are going to judge us that we lose sight of who we are. We give away our paintbrush. We are unable to be authentic and live our lives in our own unique way. We aren’t able to enjoy the process of living.
Recently I asked myself “Who would I be if there were no praise or criticism in the world?” It gave me a little insight into my motivations. Is this really who I am or am I trying to conform to other people’s expectations. There is a difference.
To be really authentic, we need to first know ourselves well. Every decision I make is made in light of who I am as a person and the values that I hold. That way my authenticity remains in tact, and life remains enjoyable, even during hard-times.
Second, we need to be willing to be somewhat vulnerable, and put ourselves out there. Like painting, we have to be willing to put some paint on the canvas. This can be a little scary, but as we get used to it, the freedom it brings is well worth it. We will start to feel free to try new things and take a few risks.
Since opening Art Village I’ve found that running a business is a lot like painting. I have an idea of where I’m going, but as I get into the thick of things, unexpected issues come up. I find I need to stand back every so often and look from a new angle. The painting process consists of stopping, looking, evaluating, waiting for a suggestion from intuition, and decision-making. I ask for input from other people. But in the end, I’m the one making adjustments here and there until I decide the painting is complete.
Life, like painting is trial and error mostly. But that is the fun part. If you approach life like a piece of art, you’re less likely to look for only one right way to do something. Life is surprising and a new approach may be needed to get through a particular challenge. I say try it. Most decisions aren’t life and death. You just keep making adjustments until you reach your goal or decide the painting is done. Of course Picasso said that a painting is never really finished.
I believe our lives are a work of art. We need to have big goals and dreams, because life is much more fun if you have something to look forward to. As you paint on the canvas of your life it’s important to remain true to your self as the artist. Your life will be much fuller when you know who you are.
Art Saves Lives!