Never Let Your Child Grow-up to be an Artist

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – especially while I paint… Our society has an unwritten rule, “Never let your child grow-up to be an artist”.  And I have seen the effects of this “rule” in daily life FIRST HAND.  I’d say that the general consensus is that if you choose to be an artist in our society you are crazy, rebellious and will probably end up homeless.

I’ve taught art in community classes, in college settings and currently I teach private lessons. My teenage daughter teaches music to little ones weekly and what strikes me most is how proud each parent is of their child’s artistic accomplishments. They swell with pride when they watch their little one at a recital or see their completed artwork and they praise the child profusely. What this tells me is that in our deepest self – we LOVE art!

However, you are not allowed to be an artist when you grow-up.10012779_1843804032510883_4756052951223160808_oNow don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the parents here! We only want the best for our children. We want them to be able make a living, we want them to succeed and we want them to be happy. Our hearts are in the right place. What is in the wrong place is the fact that society does not value art – and for some reason we choose to follow along with that…

I could say all the obvious things here; art brings beauty, change, life and joy to the world (all 100% true) but this does not negate the fact that most of the time art doesn’t pay the bills. Why? Well, because like I said above, it is valueless to us.

It’s almost like we came out of the industrial revolution completely encased in the factory worker mentality. Art lost its central professional role in historical society and now sits on the sidelines.  It is considered more of a hobby than a real profession.

What do we admire most when we study history? What helps us understand and envision the past? What connects us to who we were? Who are some of the most famous people in history?

Art and artists.
10409778_1620505754840713_4095691839944688678_nArt is the reflection of who we are now. Our music, our literature, our paintings will be how future generations identify with us. It is how we will be remembered. No one will remember the factories… And yet, we value those roles more? Weird.

Does that mean we give up on factories or better put nowadays, technology? Obviously not! What it does mean though is that art shouldn’t remain a side show. It should play a professional and valuable role in our world. We should honour it. We should be able to encourage our children to become artists. And they should be able to make a living at it.

That’s a lot of “should s”…
A modern day Renaissance would be nice though – I guess I can dream…

If you are interested in this topic you should check out this Ted Talk – it is such a great example of how art affects change and brings goodness –> Theaster Gates: How to revive a neighborhood: with imagination, beauty and art.

(Pssst… pictured here are some of my students – and yes I am SOOOO proud of them – LOVE teaching them!)

New Little Paintings!

I actually have a larger commission piece on my roster but I’m just waiting for the canvas to arrive. In the meantime though I have some little canvases laying around that are in need of some paint. It was so nice to pick up my brushes again – it’s been awhile…

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Grove – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 12″ (Click image to enlarge)

I’ve been wanting to do a piece like this for quite sometime even though it is outside of my typical painting style (slightly more geometric) but I love how it turned out and I’m thinking I’d like to do more. 🙂Grove_02_Small

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Wonderland – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 12″ (Click image to enlarge)

I titled this one ‘Wonderland’ because I couldn’t help picturing a Cheshire Cat sitting somewhere on one of these branches.

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Studies and Sketches

As a painter I view most of my sketches as studies, I have rarely considered them to be finished pieces. However, today I feel challenged as to whether or not my view is wrong? I have dozens of these little treasures laying around my house and unto themselves they are quite complete. Some have already evolved into paintings, some might one day become paintings and now today I think that maybe some may just need to stay the way they are. 🙂Sketch_01_Small

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Art Myth

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I don’t often rant publicly, mainly because I’m worried that I’ll regret it in the morning. However, I think I’ll be relatively safe with this one… (famous last words… <snort>).

I REALLY want to bust a myth – I NEED to bust this myth actually!

The myth is this: “Art just comes naturally to some people.” or rephrased; “Art doesn’t require thought – it just happens without effort and simply flows off the artist’s fingertips.”

HUH!? WAH?!

I’ve encountered this myth – in person – a fair amount lately and I’ll admit that it burns me a little. It is ignorant, uninformed and disrespectful. And if this myth in anyway conveys your own personal preconceptions of what an artist is and does, then I beg you to reconsider.

I understand that from the outside looking in some things can look effortless, kinda like all those figure skaters at the Olympics. 😉 However, it has taken me more than twenty years of practice, schooling, effort and hard work to reach a moderately acceptable aesthetic level as a visual artist. And I must also assert that art, by far, takes more original thought, concentration, and energy than any other job I have ever done… believe it or not!

Either that or I’m not nearly as “natural” as others…<shrug>.

Rant done. 🙂

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