I am not going to lie, being an artist is one of the absolute best thing in my life. Art keeps me happy, it helped me deal with physical pain and depression that came about from a severe spinal injury, it has taught me how to be more resilient, kinder and brave. It makes me feel joyful, and sometimes makes others feel that way as well. I was deeply touched the first time someone purchased one of my painting because the piece “made them feel joyful.” At that moment, I felt as if there was nothing more meaningful I could do with my life.
To be clear, the joy that comes from creating art has nothing to do with selling art. In fact, selling art is a lot stressful (a blog post for another day). Instead, it has everything to do with the moment when the brush, palette knife or spatula touches a support. At that moment, no matter how I felt in the moments before, I feel peace, joy and gratitude.
So, I was a little upset to see a recent study that says for those who aren't naturally skilled at drawing, they would need to dedicate 10,000 hours of practicing (that’s 5 years at 40 hours a week) to become great. Studies like this make it seem like creating art is an insurmountable challenge, and sounds entirely discouraging. The idea that there might be someone out there, like me, who could be healing or simply creating joy for themselves and others, but isn't, because well, they believe they can’t, that they aren’t talented enough or that they don’t have 10,000 hours to dedicate, actually breaks my heart.
Art makes life so rich and beautiful, and it is even more beautiful when people make art simply because they love making art. I wish I could convince everyone reading this that they are capable of meaningful creative expression, of creating more joy in their lives through their art. The art making I am thinking about can take many forms, it certainly is not limited to visual or traditional forms of art making. My friend Penny makes the most beautiful cupcakes... That is art! If you need more convincing, then watch the video below, about a man, who has cerebral palsy and as a result is unable to use a pen or paintbrush, but he has refused to let the disease impede his ability to express himself. His art makes life so rich and beautiful, for himself and those who know him, and really is there anything more beautiful then that?