1. Making art is definitely my existential struggle. It seems to be the meaning of my life. I feel it is my gift I am meant to leave in the world. And now that I am retired and have all that time to paint, I’m really facing my biggest life challenge. Everything else feels like it has been tangential, at times. It can often be terrifying and lonely. I am so grateful to have a community of artists on FB. Thank you for being my art psychiatrist!

  2. Hi Nancy! You know what I just did? I covered up several smallish canvases from the last 10 years because they are the ‘old me’. The works no longer excite me. …the ‘tried and true’ formulas I used before I studied the wonderful marks and color values you have presented in the Artist Journey. I realized now how dark my work had been before. Colorful, yes, but saturated. Always working from photos. This has been a freeing experience for me and I am much happier with the ‘new me’.!!

  3. Playing it safe means keeping yourself small and staying on the surface in order to be “acceptable”. Doing this, you unwittingly rob yourself of what’s inside, of the chance to go deeper in your….art? self? life? humanity? If you can’t take it with it you, it’s of little value. Will the Almighty God judge us on our *Art*? or Our *Education*? or Our *Job*? or How *successful our children are*? or Our *grandchildren*? or Our *pets*? Who exactly are you living for? How exactly have you developed your *character*? What kind of *Person* are you really?

  4. Like Shawnee, I am retired, focusing on my painting for the first time in my life and I almost feel that everything else I’ve done with my life is irrelevant. Of course, it isn’t, as it made me who I am and brought me here, to this point, where I can express myself. And I can truly say I have never been happier and more content. That doesn’t mean that I don’t experience frustration or get stuck, but I feel centred and grounded and don’t worry about things as I used to. My whole perspective on life has changed and I am so pleased to be a journeyer.

  5. Spot on for me this summer! I am producing ugly paintings at an alarming rate even though my galleries are needing more work and I know what I was doing sells. I’m convinced that I am doing exactly what I should be doing and am just now getting glimpses of things that are exciting. I appreciate this post more than you know.

    • Thank you so much Mary Ann. It delights me to hear this and reading your comment inspires me! Thank you so much.

  6. Interestingly, I take lots of risks every single day in my Mixed Media work but don’t trust myself in my oils.
    Looking to take the monthly course but I am not sure if the course is designed for oil painters.

  7. I’m 73 and took a creative but more reliable route and became a designer. Now I’ve spent 2 years working on my childhood dream of being an artist. I struggle with finding my own style. I’m often compared to artists l admire and I’m looking for my own true marks. I have to be ok with all of the “l don’ like what your doing” comments from others and myself because I’m clearly on a journey. I often wish I’d started earlier but am trying to quiet that voice and get back to the pure joy of my work. Your words are quite comforting as they remind me I’m not alone.

    • Dear Kathy,

      Reading what you wrote about your childhood dream of being an artist reminded me of the quote by 20th century French philosopher Albert Camus: A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

      I think at first we look around and emulate the work of artists we admire. Eventually, new expressions of our own inevitably emerge as we allow ourselves to experiment deeply. To do this, we’ve got to trust ourselves and be willing to create “ugly” paintings along the way. We’re not going to love everything we paint and that’s ok, in fact, it’s essential to the process of innovation. We’ve got to be able to tolerate “failed” paintings, experiments, exploration, messy, “ugly” works and works we love. We lose our way and find ourselves again and again. It’s just like life. Indeed, painting is a mirror of our lives.

      Thank you for writing. I’m delighted that my words are helpful and comforting.

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