Life Is To Live

As an artist sometimes I have these moments where people approach me as if there’s something mystical about my ability to draw or the fact that it’s my passion. These moments tend to happen with people who are not artists or have yet to discover anything that they are interested in enough to make a living from, which is the thing now, you know, “Find Your Passion”.  Truth is drawing is one of the many things that I can do. It just so happened to be the thing I enjoyed doing the most to stick with it. Actually there are many other avenues I could have taken in life. I could have ran track or played soccer. I could have become a writer or a photographer. I could have become a psychologist, botanist or architect. Or I could have become a nun or buddhist priest. All of these things I did or had a strong interest in at one point in my life. I never knew with any amount of certainty that I would end up being an artist. I just knew that drawing was something I enjoyed doing. Matter of fact I had stopped for many years and it wasn’t until being laid off from my job and needing something to maintain my sanity that I started drawing again in 2010. So frankly, there’s nothing mystical about how this came to be. I could have very well have gone off to do something else in my life and nobody would have been none the wiser. Nobody would have been saying “It’s a shame Q. missed her calling.”

So in this climate of “find your passion” and “know your purpose”, I hate to see people get all stressed out over what they’re suppose to be doing in life. I have had friends lament about not knowing their purpose or not knowing what their talents are and it pains me to see their frustration, so here’s my two cents that I’m throwing in the pot.

The overall purpose to life is to live. That’s it. Now how you live is up to you but as long as you are living, you’ve got that covered. No individual has one specific preordained purpose to their life. It would be a tragic lot if we did. Imagine believing that you are destine to be a trapeze artist in the circus and you end up breaking your leg, unable to ever get back out  on the trapeze. Now what? Will you just sit around and spend the rest of your life pining away over what could have been? Unfortunately some people do. I understand we often invest a great deal into a particular idea we have about our lives and can become pretty broken if something gets in the way of that. I know I would be deeply saddened if I couldn’t draw any more. But the human spirit and mind are very adaptable. We can learn new things and find new joys, we just have to allow ourselves to be open to the possibilities. It would be a miserable existence to be locked down from birth to one purpose in life when life itself is a never ending constant of change. 

Talents are not magical powers given to some and not to others. They’re simply capabilities that we can either develop or leave undeveloped based upon your personal level of interest. Like I said before, the human spirit and mind are adaptable. You can learn anything that you are deeply devoted to learning. Finding your talent isn’t a matter of knowing like some kind of premonition, it’s a matter of doing. It’s in the process of learning and doing that you discover what you are passionate about, not before. So try things. Learn things. Do things and see what you enjoy. Once you discover what it is that you enjoy doing then see if you can find a way to make a living from it, if you are so inclined. But it’s not mandatory though. I know there’s a lot of talk going around that give the impression that doing something you love for a living is the best way to live. It is…if you’re willing to deal with the ups and downs. Having to pay your bills from your passion can be stressful at times and you also run the risk of actually losing your love for your passion when you have the added pressure of having to make a living. If you can find a way to manage the stress and pressure, then it’s well worth it. But if you have a comfortable job or source of income that takes care of your basic needs and you don’t really feel compelled to turn a “passion” or “talent” into the source of your livelihood, then don’t. Just because others do doesn’t mean you have to. Live your life in a way that best suits your physical and emotional well being. In the end, at least you’ll have an interesting hobby you can talk about at dinner parties. 😊

Greener Grass

Bumble Bee

“The grass is greener where you water it.” ~ Neil Barringham

I’m a firm believer in attending to your own garden, discovering your own potential and valuing your own talents. Too often we get caught up in what others are doing or what they may have, comparing our lives to theirs, that we don’t notice or see value in our own lives or ourselves, which leads us to what I call “copycat lifestyles”. You could have gold beneath the soil of your own yard but you will never know it when your too busy paying attention to everybody else’s. There’s no true contentment in imitating others or living vicariously. People who take the time to water their own grass will always have green yards. 

The Habits We Keep

Success in anything has more to do with habit than luck, talent, skill or having the perfect plan. Not that those things don’t matter but if you make it a habit to follow through on your intentions, goals and dreams until completion, success will come to you much easier than if you have a habit of not following through and sticking to your plans. Everything is essentially about the habits you keeps. What you do regularly, even the way you think, is a habit. So if you are seeking a change in any area of your life you will need to change those habits that affect that area of your life to habits that are more conducive to the change that your want. There is no way around this. There are no short cuts, magical formulas or easy solutions. You simply have to put in the effort to make the change and stick with it until that change becomes a habit. 

…and this works both ways for positive change and negative as well. So be mindful of the habits you keep. 😊

A Few Inspirational Gems

I can’t say I’m an avid reader on art. My personal library isn’t filled with magazines and books on artists or art related material. Nor do I keep up on the latest art trends and movements. Personally I have this thought that has burrowed its way deep into my brain and that’s that too much art ruins art. I don’t know where that came from and maybe it’s a bad idea to have stuck in your psyche as an artist but I just feel that being too deeply immersed in the art world may have too much of an influence on the art I create and therefore lead me away for my own authenticity. But every now and then I come across some gems of inspiration or a book that serves as a wellspring of artistic motivation that I just have to have for myself. Two of those gems…well, my only gems, are the books “Art Inc” by Lisa Congdon and “Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles To Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision” by Ian Roberts.

Art Inc is a wonderful gem of practical and inspirational information. It’s filled with short but insightful interviews with artists on how they make a living, tips on the ways in which you can sell your artwork, whether through galleries, online or licensing and it comes complete with a list of resources such as what platforms are available to sell online, printing services, professional organizations and many more useful resources that might be of interest to creatives.

Creative Authenticity is my art bible. Whenever I have doubts, feel unsure about my craft or the direction I want go, this is the one book I reach for. It brings together the spiritual, the philosophical and psychological aspects of being an artist into 16 principles that are easy to digest. I have to admit that it is because of this book I haven’t looked much further or else where for inspiration and solace. It’s full of  rememberable quotes and encouraging words to help keep the creative fires burning when you feel your spirit getting low. I encourage any creative to give these books a look see but if they’re really not your cup of tea here’s a wonderful little article from Creative Boom that list other inspirational gems that as an artist you may be interested in adding to your personal library.  

10 Great Books For Artists and Makers Launching A Creative Business.