“Don’t feel guilty about spending (or wasting) your time on making art.“, I got in my mailbox from Danny Gregory.
I found that’s really a great message I want to share with you, because I’ve been feeling this a lot, and I read a lot of similar messages from readers from my blog and from students from my online class at Class1O1 ! Yes my class is online!
Some of my students share great and inspiring stories in the class! I feel really honoured to read them all! You can join us anytime you’re ready to play with your watercolours and sketchbooks!
I’ve always been told I’m allowed to play when work is finished, but work is never finished… And that art is something to do in free time. It’s something useless… non-essential. That’s not true! Art is vital to survive and to keep our brain sane. Art is vital also for democracy… My students often tell me they’ve wanted to make art all their life but never had time for it. Mostly they’re retired and now they make finally time for it… Thats wonderful, because it’s never too late to start! But why can’t we make time for it earlier in life? Why feel guilty to “play around” and make art? All that guilt is getting in the way of so many artists developing and enjoying the process of making their art and is preventing you from developing your skills and get better at it…
People tell me they feel guilty about spending (or wasting) their time on making art.
Guilty that they’re spending money on art supplies and classes.
Guilty that they never use these supplies or complete those classes.
Guilty that they’re wasting time on something that they’re not good at.
Guilty that their art isn’t bringing in any income.
Guilty that they’re spending time they should be devoting to their family, chores, work…
Danny reminds us that making art is a valuable and healthy way to spend our time, as much as reading social media posts or watching bad TV …
Art making brings beauty into our lives. It gives us a sense of adventure and accomplishment. It connects us with other people. It shows us how to see the world with fresh eyes. It’s an opportunity for life-long learning and development
Art is good for our bodies and brains. I did a lot of research on this for my project for my art workshop for people with dementia. Making art, drawing and painting, and also looking at art, creates new connections in our brain! It’s been scientifically proven to reduce stress.
The art you make doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good.
Our society has such a twisted view of what art’s purpose is. We see it as a commodity to be bought and sold. We see artists as dreamers and freaks.
And no matter how much the creative urge burns within us, we feel ashamed of it. And when we feel like we are failing at art, we feel even worse.
We tell ourselves that we need to figure out a way to make money from our art and that only sales and exhibitions will make it a legitimate endeavor.
Remember, this is essential stuff.
It doesn’t go at the end of your to-do list, after you’ve done all your “real” work, after everyone else is taken care of.
It’s not a reward for doing all your chores. Self care and creativity have to be a high priority.
Most importantly, be there for yourself.
Instead of making yourself feel guilty, think of what you’d say to a friend in a similar situation. You’d tell them how great they are, how capable they are, how much they already do for others, how much you admire and love them.
Don’t you deserve the same support and kindness?
I wanted to share this with you because I just needed to remind myself of this… to take time to play… to not wait until I’m burnt out or too old…
The time to use all your favorite art materials and wonderful sketchbooks is NOW!
Prioritise JOY, PLAY and REST.
I recently started to read all your blog posts. They are so valuable for an enthusiastic wannabe artist like me 🙂 Thank you for sharing your encouraging thoughts and selecting other precious thoughts from others. Your blog is an inspiration. Just wanted to let you this. Best wishes.