do it anyway

In the midst of the pandemic we are all experiencing together, I notice that I am having a lot of negative thoughts about art making. Thoughts like, “What you’re doing is not important,” or “You’re not saving lives here, ” or perhaps the most negative of all- “No one cares about art at a time like this, so stop sharing.” Does any of this sound familiar? I hope most of you hold more positive thoughts, but if not, know that you are not alone.

So I’ve been waiting. Waiting for these thoughts to turn positive or to go away before I go back to making and sharing art. Waiting to feel less guilty about wanting to make paintings. Waiting, waiting, waiting. But the thoughts are still there.

The truth is, these thoughts are not new, unfortunately. They pop up from time to time when I paint and share and teach. And usually, I acknowledge them and paint anyway. I have these thoughts and I share anyway. I do it anyway.

So why is it any different now?

The obvious answer is that the situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented, and it’s taking time to adjust. But what I truly believe about art, negative thoughts aside, is that it’s a way to communicate the vulnerability of being human, to acknowledge joy alongside the difficulty. Focusing on art does not mean we are ignoring the difficulties in the world. On the contrary. It means we are choosing to keep true to ourselves in spite of them.

Today I will paint what I love, and I will share, even though I have these negative thoughts. I hope you will do the same.

10 thoughts on “do it anyway

  1. That’s beautifully put. I get that way slot, like you said, not related to the current situation. It’s strange, but, I’ve been painting more! I have less inhibitions then before. Thank you and I love your work. Are you in New Jersey? I’m in Israel.

    1. Thank you, Sarah Lynn. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been painting more and are less inhibited. I think sometimes challenging situations free us because our focus is on more serious matters, if that makes any sense. I know it’s that way for me. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind compliment. I am in Pennsylvania- not far from New Jersey. I’m glad you found me from so far away.

  2. A lovely post Tracy, I looked also at your post ‘ paint what I love’. What I’d love is to read your experiences of painting – the crafting of the pallet knife to make the opalescent glass . . . why and how you chose the colour that have to be exactly the ones that you want.

    I certainly agree with all the negatives that go on. One gets used to it – I find concentrating on the act of mixing a colour, or choosing the objects of rationalising the composition helps melt into the present practical place.

    I think the luminosity you achieve is lovely.

    1. Hi, Marilyn! It’s nice to see you here – thanks for stopping by and for your kind compliments. I appreciate your input and will give it some thought. Sometimes I am so focused while painting (like you mentioned melting into the present practical place) that it’s not easy for me to remember why I chose certain colors or tools after the fact. I respond in the moment and would probably respond differently on a different day. But if it’s helpful at all, in terms of color I tend to focus a lot on value and temperature. And my stance on tools (palette knives, brayers, scrapers, etc.) is that they should only be used for a specific purpose- to achieve a particular thing. In any case, I can see that I have some writing to do on this topic! Thanks for asking about it.

  3. Your work is lovely, ethereal, and uplifting . Thank you for sharing your thoughts and definitely keep painting. These are unprecedented times. I’m looking forward to taking a class with you soon.

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