A Satisfied Sunday Painter Receives Yet Another Gift

Sunday Work  on the Gas Station Watercolor

Sunday Work on the Gas Station Watercolor

I was given the gift of a school closure last Friday.  I rose around 5:30 a.m. or so, and put in somewhere between twelve and fourteen hours watercoloring in the studio with genuine bliss.  Saturday I arose around the same time, and though I didn’t have quite the same energy, I nevertheless pushed myself and painted most of the day.  Sunday I slept a little later, but was still up around 8:00, and divided the day between painting and preparing for Monday’s classes.  Then came the evening announcement–school closed again Monday!  Wow.  Laying aside the school preparations, I have returned to the studio to do some more work on commissions that are due over the Christmas holidays, with an eye toward rising early again Monday morning to spend a fourth consecutive day in the studio, ever grateful for this string of studio days.  Making art, to me, is genuine bliss.

Beginning Work on a Second Commission

Beginning Work on a Second Commission

The world is filled with people who were given great natural gifts, sometimes conspicuously flashy gifts, yet never produce anything.  And when that happens, the world soon ceases to care whether they are talented.

Even at best talent remains a constant, and those who rely upon that gift alone, without developing further, peak quickly and soon fade to obscurity.  Examples of genius only accentuate that truth.  Newspapers love to print stories about five-year-old musical prodigies giving solo recitals, but you rarely read about one going on to become a Mozart.  The point here is that whatever his initial gift, Mozart was also an artist who learned to work on his work, and thereby improved.  In that respect he shares common ground with the rest of us.  Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work.  They commit themselves to the work of their heart, and act upon that commitment.  So when you ask, “Then why doesn’t it come easily for me?”, the answer is probably, “Because making art is hard!”  What you end up caring about is what you do, not whether the doing came hard or easy.

Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland

Life may have been more pleasant for me in the past, had I learned this lesson earlier.  At this stage, I find more satisfaction with making art than ever before, I suppose because I no longer obsess over whether or not I am any good, whether or not I’ll be remembered, whether or not I am making a contribution to the art world.  I just love the work now, and more often than not, like the results of what I do.  But even when I crank out a bad piece of art, I can merely toss it aside and move on to the next.  And when a work doesn’t go well, I no longer have to finish it.  I can quit, and move on to the next attempt.  For years and years I groused over whether or not I had talent, whether or not I was a “good artist.”  Somewhere along the way, those albatrosses fell from my neck, and I can stand straighter now, taller, and paint with more confidence.  I love making art.  I love studying art.  I love looking at other people’s art.  I’m glad I finally got to this juncture.  I’m glad to find peace with my art.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “A Satisfied Sunday Painter Receives Yet Another Gift”

  1. Deanna Tennent Masterson Says:

    Your bliss comes through in your paintings.

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Wow, I cannot express how it good it makes me feel to hear something like that. I am thoroughly enjoying these days of painting. It’s as if the calendar has disappeared, and all my daily cares with it.

      Like

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