I was recently asked the infamous question, “why do you paint?” Of course, like most artists I roll my eyes and mutter to myself “uh because I love it.”
Truth is, I have never put it into words. The task seemed daunting. I know there’s other artists who must feel this way, having no desire to talk or write about their work. We just want to make!
However, I’m going to try…
Okay, here is it. I’m an over thinker with anxiety. Painting to me is therapeutic, the action and the result. When I’m painting I don’t doubt, question, or worry. I’m not paralyzed with stress like much of the time spent not painting. My mind is free, free to enjoy the present. To enjoy the process of mixing colors and using a brush, building up shapes to create something beautiful. I have experimented in a handful of mediums and subject matters (thanks to art school) but paint and landscapes spoke to me and stuck. There’s something about being able to escape to that “place” I’m painting. Those vast bodies of water, the endless skies, I know you’ve all experienced that “freeing” feeling a landscape can evoke… Well, that’s what I feel not only when I’m physically IN nature but when I’m painting it.
My constant worries melt away, dripping off like excess water on the canvas. I don’t question my choices or actions over and over AND OVER like I normally do, I literally just paint. Aside from picking a pretty picture I don’t have a plan, I simply start and let the paint do the painting moving intuitively with each stroke. Meaning moves and colors don’t always make sense. Which is the beauty of being an artist, there is no right or wrong. Therefore, being a painter works well for me because it’s the only time I’m fully confident, I’m not doubting my artistic choices like I do in ALL other aspects of my life. Perhaps that’s why my landscapes are so “nontraditional” or LOUD-- because that’s my typical state of mind. Because if I’m honest the over-thinking can sometimes be so loud it keeps me from appreciating, sleeping, even leaving the house…
All in all, I feel so blessed to have painting and art success in my life. It feels so good to shut my ever going mind off and go to that field of wildflowers or climb that jagged mountain range with my brush for those few hours a day. I love doing the work and I love the reward at the end. It’s an honor to be able to make and share my work with the world and that is something I will never question.