5 x 5.75 inches graphite on paper
A letter to the artist as a young girl,
I thought about you the other day. I pictured you sitting at that old computer desk that you dragged into your room. I remember how you placed it, with much planning and care on your part, so you’d have a clear view of the cherry tree in the backyard, the horse pasture beyond that, and the acres of apple orchards even further beyond that.
I can see you in my mind with your pans of watercolors spread out in front of you, sketches of horses and ponies littering the floor, along with the odd crumpled up paper that didn’t quite live up to your expectations.
You are an artist, and you have been from the very beginning. And here you sit, painting and drawing away, feeling nothing but the uninhibited joy of a child creating.
With that in mind I have a few things I’d like to tell you. First of all, that I’m proud of you. For your passion for art, your perseverance even when things don’t come easy to you, and your faith in your future that you’re sure is filled with brilliant things.
The second thing I’d like to tell you is this. Don’t give up.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why would I ever give this up? This wonderful happy-making thing that is art?
I’m afraid I can’t tell you that right now. Some things are better left for you to discover first hand. But know this, there will come a time in your life when things won’t feel this rosy and optimistic. All roads might seem to end up leading to nowhere. You will feel discouraged, frustrated, and maybe even a little hopeless. That dream that you’re holding tight in your heart right now might one day start to look a little tarnished, it might feel impossibly beyond your reach.
That’s why I’m writing you this letter. To tell you that no matter how dark things might look one day, they will get better. But not if you give up. The only way things will get better is if you keep making art with that same passion and love that you had when you were sitting at that beat up old desk under the window in your room. Things will get better if you listen to that voice inside that keeps whispering to you to paint your heart out no matter what anyone else tells you. Especially then. Don’t ever let the opinion of others stop you from making art. Things will get better if you just don’t give up. I promise.
Now go on back to that desk and paint something pretty. I know you can do it.
Crystal (your future self, who just so happens to be a professional artist)