As a little kid, I loved to draw and paint. As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a famous artist. I majored in Fine Art for 3 years, ran out of money and was at a loss for direction. I quit school. I never could let go of that dream, though. For years, I continued to practice, setting up and painting intricate, large still lifes. I was grimly determined to work hard, improve, take it somewhere. I pursued lots of avenues; shows, competitions, portfolio submissions, but nothing really ever came to much. I would look at my work with critical eyes and see failure and disappointment.
A few years ago, a series of traumatic events occurred, the worst being the sudden death of my Mom. My life turned upside down. I was trying to cope with my own family and home, my dad, my childhood home, a failing business, failing sibling relationships….the list went on. It was a sad, overwhelming time.
And yet, during that time, late at night, I had this compulsion to draw and paint simple illustrations, on small Masonite boards. It was my escape. I never thought about how or what I was drawing or painting. I just painted. I didn’t even care how it came out. I threw away all my large, intricate still life paintings. I am still painting these little boards. I don’t feel critical about how well they are done and have no expectations from them at all. It makes me happy to look at them all. Somehow along the way, through a terrible time, I became free of the things, all self imposed, that kept me from one of my greatest sources of joy. I learned how to love making my art again. I found a gift that I had all along but wasn’t using properly. It makes me wonder about other people that have potential joys and gifts within themselves that are being strangled with criticisms or rigid expectations.
My cousin sent me this quote,
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let others decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it, while they are deciding , make even more art.” -Andy Warhol
We are all artists using different mediums! How we live our lives is our artistic expression.