Thursday, July 03, 2008

Artists creating - why?

After many years of not pursuing any artistic endeavor very seriously, I've taken up the paintbrush and canvas and jumped back in. I've had a couple of lovely little blessings fall upon me in that two of my recent small collage pieces have been accepted in two separate Juried Art Show events. A very encouraging start to getting back to the enjoyment of creating.

I do, however, have some thoughts regarding art and artists that I've observed over the years while "not producing" art and in the last few months of the reverse. And, that is -

1. Why do artists create anyway?
Fame, power? Seems unlikely as many artists seldom ever reach even a modicum of fame.

2. Inner peace, contentment - oh my gosh, how frustrating completing some glorious work and never being recognized by an audience, or buyer, or even by ones' self - that can't be inner peace, can it?

3. Daring, fearless - I think those would be long shot descriptions for many artists as seldom do artists have the same confidence outwardly visible in their behavior as that portrayed in their work. Many would rather eat bugs than discuss their work with an inquiring bystander or potential benefactor.

4. Nagging, inner demons crying to be released on a canvas, in a song, or sculpture, a poem, a book?....I hope not demons!

Having recently discussed this, "why do we create, why do others create" topic over lunch with a friend, I believe the closest I can come to understanding why I create, whatever it is I create (that remains a little bit of mystery right now) - I do it because I just NEED to do it right now. I have a yearning in me to create something of lasting value. I have a yearning to be recognized for creativity, I have a yearning to be recognized for intelligence, I have a yearning, yearning,......and for what other reasons do artists - I/you/we create?

Workshops, lectures, books, articles, doctors, learned professors speak of the creativity that is within us all. What do you yearn to create and why do you believe that you MUST and that you will and maybe even that you are already creating everything and more than you ever expected to in your life. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject....

SS collage photo - Road to Hana


  1. great question!!! lately i have been playing around with watercolors and markers...eventually i envision them working their way into collage "stuff". yesterday, i knew i had about an hour to wait for my daughter and so i took markers and paper along with me. as i sat scribbling, i wondered, "why am i doing this?" the answer i heard was "because i NEED to." will anyone ever see the little diddy i did? no is my first response, but then i smile and realize that i think i'll go post it on lucy creates :-) maybe someone will see it there. nevertheless, it needed to be done.

    you are a true inspiration. i am delighted to see you back at the canvas. btw--are you using canvas or some other base?

    i won't get hung up on this, but why did we not start this fun years ago?!??!?!?


  2. Well, I've done two collages on wood and two finished collages on paper. I've got more paper marked out and ready to begin as well as saving every scrap pc of wood around the house for future.

    I don't know why we stopped, started, didn't start again 'til now....we weren't ready?

    The inspiration "pings" all around us...but probably always has, again we're just ready to receive the signals right now.

    Oh, and as much as I'd like to go for the jewelry and beading.....I'm hooked on the paintbrushes for now:)


  3. Congratulations SS, what a fabulous start to your artist career!

    I create in part for self-expression, but largely because for me the mystery of the sacred can only be remotely explored in any somewhat adequate way through the medium of art (including language arts such as poetry) and symbol.

  4. I think the words "mystery of the sacred" may encompass the yearning I mentioned in my post. I expect there are artists who would deny such a mystery but that doesn't mean it's not present in their being and/or work.

    Thanks so much for the comment!

  5. It is indeed a great question, and I suspect it might differ in different times of our lives. Van Gogh didn't seem like a very cheerful chappy, but for me, I'm most visually creative when I'm happy. (Not that I'm comparing myself with Mr Vincent, you understand!!)
    I also wonder if it might be to do with stage of life for some of us. Having time and perspective.
    By the way, has Riley heard that Leona Helmsley left all her millions to dogs? Maybe he could apply for a cut of it.