I adore realism, I really do. It just hasn't ever been a goal of mine to produce realistic work. And I'm sick of feeling bad about my art. I've been told that I have good ideas, I just don't have the skills to see them through! I've been told to stop making art altogether by well meaning family members. I've been told to paint nature because that is what people like, or to bury my creative light so far down that nobody knows that it even exists. Back when I was a singer I was told to sing so low that nobody could hear me. Anymore I'm told to go after sewing if I want to make something of my life and to give up on painting, that I just don't have what it takes.
I'm sick of feeling apologetic about my style! And I'm sick of trying to defend the reasons why I make art. I make it because I have to, because I live and eat and breathe creativity. It is a force that makes me want to get up in the morning, an outlet that has carried me through some pretty rocky times. Perhaps it is an addiction, but isn't it a healthy addiction? Isn't it a mindful way to work through emotions instead of venting them on people I care about, isn't art a way to express the things that are better left unsaid; an alchemy of refinement from memory into creative form?
Honestly I don't make art for other people. My reasons are very selfish indeed! I make art because I can't live without it. I'm not happy unless I have some iron in the fire, some work to craft and shape with my hands. And you know what? I may never get the creative chops of the Masters but I'm sick of caring. I create because it's just such a part of who I am, I can't live without it.
These days I am my own harshest critic. I beat my head against a wall because my art isn't as good as so and so's or because I still am not creating work meant to sell. Sometimes I ask friends for advice and if I should keep creating. I say things like "Why do I even bother!". But then in a week or two that old longing comes coursing through my veins. And I just have to do something creative again.
I'm working on sewing and painting at the moment. Sewing is great fun and I love it a lot. I've developed some strong skills and am honing and refining as I go. Visual art just feels different to me. It feels so much closer to my heart, this body of work I have created over the last nine years. It haunts me as the paintings stack up, these boxes and bins of my life's work that perhaps nobody will ever see. And yet I have to keep showing up. I live for this stuff!
There is my existential rant about why I paint. I may not ever go for a career in the arts but at least I will show up, with paintbrush in hand. I will continue to pour my passion onto the paper because it is my soul's calling. Life is complicated enough without trying to please everyone else with every painting I make. Honestly I would rather delight myself, follow my muse and live my dream.
Why do you paint? I would absolutely love to know! If you have been told that you aren't good enough, realize you aren't alone. When you get knocked down, get back up, get in the ring and JUST PAINT!