What Is Your “Real” Art?

whitelilacIt’s been a very strange Spring – outside as well as inside my head.

I know everyone in the country has had weather issues.

Here, it has just been late freezes, but they have managed to reduce the Lilac blossoms to almost none.

I got some white ones, though, and did something I never do – cut a little branch to bring inside because I kew the overnight freeze would do away with the blossom anyway.

I may as well immortalize them in the journal, right?

This is not my “real” art, but it’s close.

All garden work is way behind because of the strange weather, and I am only at the clean-up the hardscape stage . . .

gardem051814At this point, I consider the courtyard a blank canvas – ready for “painting” this year’s garden. I LOVE gardening.

But gardening is not my real art, either, but it comes very close.

There was a wonderful comment left by Carole on the first post of this series. Here is what she said:

A “real artist”, as I understand it, often has a closet-full of work that the world never sees, because for a real artist it’s the process that’s important and not the result or what anyone thinks of it. If it were the reverse, wouldn’t it lead to more frustration? There will always be someone (or many someones) who make art better than we do. So most of us make art because we love it…as a form of venting or as our own expression of the joy of life and the beauty we see. If you are a “real” artist will you enjoy making art any more than you do now? What if enabling others to make it IS your greatest art?”

She makes such excellent points here, that it causes me to examine what it is that I do mean by my “real” art.

I think that most hobby artists (and by that I only mean that your art does not have to float your mortgage etc.) have the freedom to create for themselves, which is great, but the price they pay is usually a day job, so their time to make art is limited.

I have never been a hobby artist.

When I was very young, I made myself a promise that I would not work for other people – I would live by my art no matter what it took. I have kept that promise.

And that meant doing anything commercial I could to make a living – as long as it was about art. So, I have been an illustrator, photographer, graphic designer, and art teacher in all kinds of venues. Other stuff too – like Cre8it.com.

This resulted in a thought pattern which divided my creative activity into art I did for other people and my “real” art, which I did for me, but ended up selling to other people anyway.

The difference there was that in my real art, somebody didn’t tell me what to create for this or that purpose. There were no deadlines. They bought it *after* it existed.

I did a lot of painting and gallery work early on, and then got so involved with my graphics firm that I was doing no fine art at all. That was when I got into fine art photography as my “fix” because there was no time for anything else.

But, photography, as much as I love it, is not my real art either.

I really do love teaching others the joys of drawing and painting. I know it shows in my workshops that I love what I do. And I get real joy when I have just finished a lesson that I know will “work” for the students. They will “get” it and do it and love it.

But teaching is not my real art either.

I don’t know how to explain this, but there is only one thing I do that keeps me in the moment and I am NOT hearing the siren calls of all the other things i could, should, would, be doing. And that is my real art.

Right now, there are two things – painting and kiln glass – that take me to that place and hold me there.

The thing is, when I “wake up” from this blissful respite, I am in trouble.

All the sirens are going full blast because I haven’t been tending the to-do list.

I want to be very clear here that all my self-indulgent navel-gazing lately is not complaining. People have real troubles in this world and this certainly does not qualify as one.

This is just about examining the parts of a complicated life (a wonderful life) to see if I can find balance. If I can slow anything down, or let go of any parts . . .

So I am not always hurrying.

So I don’t hurt myself with stress (or falling and breaking bones).

So my monkey mind will shut the hell up already.

I would do all this in private if I thought it was just something that goes on around here.

But I never meet anybody anymore whose hair is not blowing in the winds of hurry, scurry, and over-do.

I want more of that quiet soul time I get from my real art.

I want to slow down and smell the roses. Not all of them, but some of them anyway.

I want my life to last longer because I am not zooming through its scenery.

Do you have a “real art”? Think about it. Is there an activity you do that makes your world stand still – at least for a little while?

I know meditation can do that, but that is a suspension of activity and even thought.

I am wondering whether you have an “activity” that you can rest within awhile? If you do, it’s a real art..


16 thoughts on “What Is Your “Real” Art?

  1. Mary Darling

    I am really enjoying these Blogs. You are so open and honest to share these thoughts with us. I hope you continue to share your talent with us for a long time. Mary

  2. LynnInColorado

    Beautiful courtyard and nice post. A few years ago I simplified my garden to include more perennials and fewer containers and it really helped…until we added a big “kitchen” garden that is!

  3. Shauna

    I find that whatever media I use – paint or watercolor pencils,ink, etc. I get totally in the zone with blending, shading, highlighting. Sometimes I just pick or make an image and start adding color just so I can enjoy playing with process. It is so relaxing to me. I especially love doing this with watercolor pencils or regular color pencils whit which I use gamsol. Hours will pass and I don’t even realize. Aahhh…*sigh*

  4. jessica Post author

    I think that everyone loves freebies, but the problem is they are not free for somebody – they are costly in hours at the very least.

    That has to be balanced somewhere. In those days, it was in large sales of stamps and Sheer Heaven.

  5. Susun

    I have not ” done art” in so long. Major life events, mostly unexpected, and a rethinking and reshaping of all that was familiar to me. I long for the days of your workshops and creativity. Perhaps creativity in that mode occurs in waves or cycles, as life and personal growth does. I have spent time writing, thinking and feeling I should meditate to lessen stress and quiet my anxious monkey mind. I’m at the hospital visiting my husband with a hip replacement and while wandering through the gift shop, I looked longingly through all the Moleskine journals, remembering and wondering how to, if ever, re- enter the world of art.

  6. Joyce Fisher

    I continue to look forward to your posts so I hope you don’t stop them entirely but perhaps only weekly.
    I am fortunate in that I am retired and comfortable and can choose which art form speaks to me today. I engage in many types of fairly simple art and enjoy it tremendously. I hope one day you will be able to choose just what you want to do “today.”

  7. Izzy (deb) cleary from AZ

    Hi, Jessica,

    I’m a “new” customer/viewer to your site since early this year. It takes me awhile to process and formulate responses as I tend to meditate upon what I think I’m hearing and how best to respond.

    I have read others blogs on occasion, but I find I get overwhelmed by the mass of stimulation coming from all directions. I read your blog because I find you to be inspiring, humorous, honest and genuine. The other adjectives that come to mind are heartfelt and generous. The time it takes to create a blog is a “give-a-way” to all who visit your site. I understand and respect that. I also understand we are all seeking to find balance in our daily lives between giving and receiving, being responsible to take care of our families and the responsiblity for taking care of ourselves.
    By your definition, I would be considered a “hobby” artist, although I detest that word and find it an inaccurate descriptor as it carries the connotation of a leisurely pastime that is done in a less-than-serious pursuit. Suffice it to say, I understand what you mean, and I’m in the category of having the proverbial “day” job to keep myself and my family afloat, but I consider that my true occupation is that of exploring this life as a visual artist. Do I get the time I really need to create? No, but I’m grateful for what I do have and consider all I do to be an expression of art.

    To me the definition of an artist is one who is driven to create from a deep and abiding passion. It has nothing to do with the busyness of selling art. Creating art and selling art is like comparing the proverbial apples and artichokes: One’s a fruit and one’s a vegetable.

    My belief is anybody that’s engaged with their passion makes the world stand still and time cease to exist. For me the process of painting/drawing stops the insane chatter of the mind, opens the portal into the void where The Muse is unleashed, who’s sole purpose is guide my exploration of life and its relationships to better understand myself, others, nature, and the numinous through paint and paper, value, color, texture.

    Painting and drawing is my form of meditation. Many people believe meditation is about ceasing thought, but that’s impossible to do. Meditation is about riding the thought waves and then for a timeless moment finding oneself within the deep trough between thoughts. It’s only a second but it extends into eternity. Meditation builds the prana, or life force, within a person and develops the ability to open one’s heart to compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. That is what happens when I create pictures.

    When I create, my ego goes quiet. I find the trough between thoughts, becoming conscious in my breath and being. I find the Muse, take her hand. I dip my brush into the watercolor, aware of its viscosity and the luscious luminosity of color. I look at the my paper, pitch myself off the edge of the known into a land that is composed of shapes, textures, colors, and the dance of darks and lights.

    I learn so much about myself from painting to painting. By the time, I clean my brushes, I am suffused with an ineffable sense of well-being. What more can I say?

    Thank you, Jessica, for the opening of this space to share thoughts and ideas and for the helpful products you have invented that bring so much exquisite pleasure to us all, the “art” of your teaching and the art you create.

    Blessings on your journey, dear one!

  8. Pat in Maine

    Zentangle and art journaling are my two “real” arts. I get so caught up in what I’m doing that I don’t realize when night falls. My husband comes in to the studio, turns on the lights, and I realize I’ve been squinting in near darkness to see what I’m working on because it got dark and I never even noticed! Enjoy your real art, Jessica!

  9. Diana in Texas

    What introspection and sunshine the comments on this blog bring to my mind. I, too, am retired and able to choose what art form I want to work in each day. It was many years coming and I’m so appreciative of the teaching you’ve given to us, Jessica, and for all the wonderful products on the market. Trying to choose the “real art” in my life is like trying to choose my favorite child. Can’t be done by me. I love painting and drawing and then I will get my cup full and navigate to mixed media and making my own ephemera. Pretty soon I’ll spend a lot of time on my art journal and then I’m off drawing Zentangles. I can get lost in any or all of them. I feel my life could be cut into slices like a pie. All of the comments here make me feel we’ve got a pretty solid connection with each other through our art and life experiences surrounding art. You’re the Cog in the wheel that keeps us cre8ting straight. Thanks Jessica. I always love to hear from you.

  10. jessica Post author

    Izzy (Deb), I can only come up with one response to you heartfelt and well thought response – Wow!

    And two more words . . . thank you

  11. jessica Post author

    Hi Pat – Yes, I have seen you concentrate like that!

    Diana, I can’t tell you enough how I appreciate your thoughtful comments – and on such a consistent basis! This is the thing that makes commuity on the web.

  12. Bonnie

    I am an artist wannabe. A dilettante? I do love the learning process. I got all caught up in the hoopla of the stamping / scrapbooking world and with all of the buying of “more stuff” thinking it would make me a better artist.
    I had a room full of ‘stuff’ but I didn’t find that it made me any better at all. I now use pencil and paper and draw my own images. I draw every day no matter where I go. The more I draw the better I get and my confidence grows. I am lucky to be able to stay home which is good because I am introverted. I used to think that it meant I was crazy but it simply means that being alone, being quiet, doing what I want to be doing is meditative and in the end energizing. Being among folks that have zero interest at all in art or journaling drains the proverbial life out of me. Takes me days to recover from an event I didn’t want to be a part of. I spend most days drawing and practicing my lettering and I have never been happier. Whatever comes of it is o.k. by me. I am just happiest with a GOOD pencil and decent paper and a set of watercolors. Bliss! I have no answers for you Jessica. I just made a decision that makes me happy and glad to be alive. I don’t live in the fanciest home or drive the snazziest car but I am as happy as a clam. I don’t want to have any regrets when my time comes. I was born to express myself in some kind of art form.
    Good luck with your search and decision making. I really enjoy your site and it is a peaceful place to come…..I enjoy everything you write and the photographs you share with us.

  13. jessica Post author

    Beautifully put, Bonnie. You seem to have made your real art your real life and that is exactly what I am headed for, I hope.

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