As an artist, I still paint nearly every day---it feeds my soul and gives me a sense of purpose and order. It is both a discipline and a time to play and innovate, and I post my finished works on my facebook page, where I get lots of welcome feedback from art friends. I participate in 3 ZOOM critique meetings per month, and that gives me accountability and a chance to see what my fellow artists are working on. These are my people, my community, and I'm grateful to have them in my life.
As much as I love to paint, I admit that there are times when I ask myself (as all artists do) "why even DO art?". Apparently, I'm not the only one who's pondered this question. A friend just shared a wonderful blog post by artist Danny Gregory: https://dannygregorysblog.com/2016/01/27/why-art-matters/
Incidentally, Gregory wrote this in 2016, but it's as relevant now as it was then. My favorite part of his post "Why Art Matters" is this:
I don’t go to church, mosque or synagogue. I don’t read Plato or the Tao. But art teaches me the things that matter. Explore the values that endure. Remind me of the legends that have passed down through time. These are crucial truths to guide me as I travel through my ordinary life, riding the subway, sipping my tea. Vital lessons that never go out of style like: Nature is to be revered. Humble pleasures are the sweetest. Everyone is significant. We are all connected. Hope is eternal. Bad things happen. The road bends. Life should be enjoyed.
Where else can I get these reminders? In fortune cookies and this month’s self-help bestsellers? Or in masterpieces that have endured because they embody and transmit our collective wisdom?
The history of art is the history of what’s important to us as a civilization and as a species. That’s why we erect huge buildings to house and display these old pieces of cloth daubed with paint, why they are among the first things we must visit when we come to a new city. They contain the truths that we, as a civilization and as a species, know are to be treasured.
I believe in my marrow that art is not a luxury. It has been a crucial part of humanity since we told stories around the campfire and painted the ceilings of caves. Art is not just for intellectuals. Art is not just for museums or public television or vacations in Paris. Art is here to make us feel better and be better. To remind us of our humanity and our connectedness. To unearth and share our feelings. To remind us we are not alone. Art is forever and for everyday.