Anyone who's read even a few of my posts has figured out I'm doing something I've wanted to do. It's just one of the dreams I've had for myself. Some I've already done, some I've yet to do, but this is a dream I'm living now. I'm savoring the moments. I confess I'm pretty giddy much of the time. People probably wonder who the grinning fool is. It's me. (It is I?) I'm the grinning fool.
But this isn't every artist's dream. Not every artist wants to paint in public and speak with dozens of strangers a day. Not every artist wants to make a living with her art. Not every artist even wants to sell her art at all. I get the feeling sometimes that there are artists who are measuring themselves and each other with some sort of yardstick- finding some worthy and others not. There's a hint of disdain toward "Sunday painters," and honor for those who paint daily and therefore take their art "more seriously." Consider the disdain toward crafters vs. "real artists." Sometimes the disdain is toward those who sell their work, vs. doing it strictly for the love of it. Oh, the list of reasons to dismiss each other's work, and our own, is long.
Consider some of the reasons we make art: Some people just love being in the company of other artists, so they make art, too. Some want to improve their skills as a personal quest. Some want to enter competitions. Some want to make their livings at it. Some want to give their work away. Some want to learn to paint in order to paint their grandchildren and have no further motivation. Some want an outlet that's nothing like their "real job" as a sort of antidote. Some just want to look at color and move it around.
I submit to you that any way and any reason we "do art" is good. Is enough. Is vital. Is honorable. For artists, making art is important to our souls and our minds and our lives. It would be good if we let ourselves off the hook to do it differently than we want to. We don't need to measure ourselves against anyone else. And we need to stop measuring others that way, too.
We could wallow in regret about having put our art aside for so long that now it's "too late" to be the artist we think we would have been otherwise. We could look at someone else's life and be envious. OR we could give ourselves what we really want now. No less and no more. Some dreams take years of work, and some dreams just take our own permission to spend an afternoon being an artist in our own home. Just remember, you're allowed to have lots of dreams. You can do them all at once... it's just a little easier doing them one or two at a time.
I'm living this dream now. But believe me, I have a few other dreams waiting in the wings for their turn on the stage. All in good time....
I'd love to hear what you think.