10 x 14 watercolor
(forgive me for reposting this painting, it's one of my favorites)
Do you ever wonder why you do what you do? Do you ever wonder if the painting you created, that one you poured your whole heart into, will make anyone else feel something that's a little bit like the way you felt when you painted it?
I do. It's actually been on my mind a lot.
Something that I ask myself over and over again is, why do I paint? I know I talk about this a lot, just bear with me. :) Sometimes I feel like I know why I paint, other times it's nothing that I can define, just a feeling I have that compels me day after day to pick up my brush and create something.
And. . . sometimes I almost wish I didn't feel like that.
Because it's not easy to balance your real life, your family, and all your other obligations with this strange beast of a creature that rises up in you and demands that you paint. That beast that only purrs quietly once you've fed it it's daily ration of creativity.
When life gets hectic, and I absolutely can't squeeze in any time to paint I feel adrift. Lost. Almost like I've forgotten who I am. I feel disquiet in the hidden corners of my heart.
The longer I paint the more I realize that I connect my identity with my art. And I've yet to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Because it makes any discouragement, rejection, or just plain indifference that much more difficult to bear. Because it feels like it's not just pointed at your art, but pointed at you.
I read a blog post by Kate DiCamillo (one of my favorite writer's and the author of The Tale of Despereaux). It was the story of a little girl, Laura Ann, who saw an airplane in the sky and whooped and hollered and smacked Kate (who at the time was in the fourth grade) with her little green plastic purse in her excitement about that plane.
Kate looked in the sky, saw the plane, and failed to see what all the fuss was about. I think she even said, "So what?"
Years later, when Kate was an adult she happened to see a bald eagle flying in the sky. She stood there and marveled at that, amazed at her luck to see something so beautiful. Then another eagle joined the first. She said:
"I stood and looked and looked at them, amazed; and then I lowered my head and looked around. I thought about Laura Ann, because what I wanted to do was whack somebody on the arm with a shiny, green purse. I wanted to tell someone. I wanted somebody to marvel with me."
I love that.
I guess I don't really want to wish those feelings away, that need that I have to paint. Even if it seems to make balancing my life that much harder, if not downright impossible at times.
Because when I paint I want what Kate wanted when she saw those eagles. I want someone to marvel with me.