l s

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why do you paint or draw or write?

A friend recently asked me this question, specifically about writing. When artists and writers get together with their colleagues, this subject often comes up. Naturally there are many answers to the question, but the thing that always intrigues me is that so many believe that their response is the only "right" one and feel somehow morally superior to others who have different ideas. Here are some typical responses:

I paint or draw or write because:
1. I feel I have something to say and want to share it.
2. I am compelled to so I can feel fulfilled.
3. It pleases me and makes me happy.
4. It's my job.
5. ....Just because.

Is one of these the right answer? Of course not; there isn't one. There are a million reasons, one for every person who answers the question. Make up one that suits you and don't feel you have to explain or defend it. The only person who has to understand your motivation is you. And that is very important.

It's equally important to decide for yourself how you'll approach your tasks in painting, drawing, writing. Once again, there isn't a "right" way. Some people plan extensively before beginning, others meditate to get in the mood, and still others jump in and work without a plan. But here are some thoughts to help stimulate your creative juices regardless of your modus operandi.

First of all, do what you love. Henry Miller said, "Paint as you like and die happy." What more can I say?

Avoid distractions. Wow, a tough one, but it can be done. I stole time while my four children were in school to develop my art and write my books. It also means making choices about what NOT to do.

Get into your Creative Zone and stay there as long as you are working. Betty Edwards has some great techniques for accomplishing this in her right-brain drawing books.

Reward yourself. Sure, you can party when the project is finished, but give yourself a pat on the back or a treat whenever you put in time on it. Everything you do should be acknowledged as an accomplishment.

And finally, treat yourself with respect and admiration, regardless of what others might say about your work. It's yours--own it and love it.

"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself."
Chinese proverb

Labels: , ,


Blogger Dazzlecat said...

I love your concepts on creating art and I agree completely with them. I also believe that art is a healing tool. I think its a shame that this society belittles art the way it does. I also like how your blog isn't just about art, but about your life, grandchildren, etc.

I've been an artist since I was little and have used it intuitively to heal from my unhealthy childhood and upbringing. I couldn't live without art. My website is about the art of healing, if you'd like to visit it its at: www.self-help-healing-arts-journal.com.

thanks for your colorful and creative blog, and I will be checking out your book!!!

7:41 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

I enjoyed browsing your web site--lots of helpful information there. I appreciate your taking the time to write a comment. Right now I'm bogged down in bookkeeping and baby-sitting, hoping to get back to the blog and some art and writing soon.

8:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home