I grew up in a family where 'Art' was not really on the radar - like, at all. It was just a freeing, frilly thing I liked to do at school and home, and it made me feel happy ... but then again, so did mashed potato sandwiches and dressing my cat up in doll's clothes. Oh, those were the days!
If I'm honest here, I don't even remember going to an Art Gallery until I travelled overseas in my early 20's! All the 'good' Artists I learnt about seemed to be dead already.
So I never really considered that I could grow up to be just an Artist.
Art has always been something I can stay playful with and working as a kindergarten teacher for 15 years has helped me stay close to my creative freedom in this way. Kids are the real masters!
Now that I'm older, not much had changed in my family. I still teach kids (and adults now too!) ... But what I have replaced over the years, is my misunderstanding that Artworks are just pretty pictures hanging on the wall for decoration. Now I know differently, because my own life has taught me so:
Art is an amazing gift, both for the viewer and the do-er!
Today, I'd love to share my top 7 reasons why I love making Art, beyond the pretty pictures we see on the wall. Here goes ...
ART LOVE #1: When I start a painting, I have no idea what is going to happen.
Rather than planning an Artwork out like we're taught in school, I take a page from my kindy kids' book - I just pick up a brush and pump that canvas full of colour! Living this riskily is a complete rush. Just ask my son here. Kids are masters at celebrating freedom.
ART LOVE #2: I don't need fancy training to be qualified to paint. I just show up.
Kids don't need permission to create. They just do it. It's usually some sucky teacher or schoolyard 'friend' who tells us we're no good at Art and the older we get, the more we believe it ... until we challenge that belief. Essentially that's why years later, I went and studied a one-year portfolio building Art course -- to dispel those old beliefs and learn that making Art is okay, just because I like it. Creative expression is within every one of us, not just the gifted few - and we don't have to be 'good' at anything to start it. Talent grows with commitment.
ART LOVE #3: If it feels good, do it.
Making Art doesn't have to be this long, in depth process. It can be squiggles in the sand or arranging nature in interesting ways. I have learnt to stop that censoring voice inside me that says 'You're too old for that'. Fuck that. I swing on the swings in the playground, even when Max isn't with me. I let myself feel good ... the Art flows naturally from this place.
ART LOVE #4: Colour makes me feel alive.
I have been known to literally salivate when I see a vibrant colour I love. So to me, paint is a vibrant smorgasbord I can create for myself, simply by putting colour combinations together that feel good to me. I dress this way as well. There's no rules here! Colour is the ultimate expressive tool for me and happiness (and expression) can be found easily here.
ART LOVE #5: I can paint absolutely anything I want
Who says that birds can't glide underwater with the sunset? Art is a place of infinite possibility and I love the fact that I can create my own, meaningful stories that don't need to make sense to anyone else, but me. We all layer our own meaning on top of any Art we view anyway, and that's why it's so exciting - all interpretations of Art are right for each person and new stories are made as a result. What a delicious dance!
ART LOVE #6: I can celebrate the things I love, through my work
This is one of my favourite paintings ever ... because I've filled it with rich, happy memories. Earlier this year, we went away for a week with the fam and it was a trip filled with deep relaxation, moments in nature and quality time with loved ones. These are the things I painted about and so now every time I look at this Artwork, I'm reminded of a truly beautiful, rich time in my life. The celebration is revived with each viewing. Art has that much power.
ART LOVE #7: I just do.
Want to know why I really love to make Art? I JUST DO. I believe whenever we truly follow our deepest heart's desires, our fulfillment spills over and inspires others to do the same. Whether it's making Art, Cooking, Dancing, Singing or Walking along the Beach, following our deep and beautiful callings is a sure-fire way to bring more happiness and contentment into our lives.
The fact that I can finally stand true in my dream and make Art simply because it's something I love to do - AND know it's legitimate way of creating and living - is a very powerful and self-affirming way to live. I feel good in my own skin when I paint and THAT's why I keep doing it.
I hope this week you can carve some time out to do something what feels beautiful inside for you too.