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.