Don’t let anyone fool you, creating art is a labor of love.
Like anything that is worthwhile, it takes time, intention, and patience.
I’ve created a variety of paintings in the past few years. Some weeks I feel my creative juices overflowing and have the energy to pump out multiple pieces, creating and completing works in seemingly all of my spare moments. And yet, other times, I don’t feel particularly inspired and certain pieces prove to be more of a challenge.
This piece for example: I started it back in March when COVID was first hitting the United States and Walmarts were completely wiped of toilet paper (seems like ages ago.) While quarantining at home, I needed projects to keep me busy so naturally I turned to painting. This particular mountain acrylic became one of my project babies, and yet, throughout the course of the last few months there were multiple occasions when I would find myself staring at it and hate what it was becoming. Since May, brother Luke seemed to ask me daily, “You’re done, right?” To which I would consistently respond, “No, not until I’m satisfied.” That’s the trouble though: as an artist, I’m rarely satisfied. One day I’ll look at something that I’ve created and feel content (and sometimes even pleased), and the next day I’ll look at the same piece and it’s as if I have a brand-new set of eyes because I’ll see x, y, and z needing to be added and/or changed.
Creating art truly is a journey. Which is perhaps why I’m so “drawn” to it... I rarely know what my end result is going to be. Sometimes I’ll have a general image in my head, but usually it comes as I start to play... playing with my paint, my brushes, my fingers, water... and eventually, the end result makes itself known.
Kinda like life I suppose; or, so I’ve come to believe. Many of us are going through life without a clear destination in mind — a fact that I’ve slowly been coming to terms with in recent years. Although I am twenty-five years old, I still don’t have a clear specific goal for my life, something that I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever realize. However, like my painting, I have a general idea of what I want in this life, and because I’m willing to put in the work and enjoy what I have presently in front of me, I am confident that when I arrive at the end of my life, I will have a beautiful, bold, and bodacious painting to look back on... and perhaps I might even feel pleased.
This piece: “Is it finished?” you might be wondering. Technically, yes; I handed it off to its new owner just the other day. And yet, my honest response to such a question is: a piece of art is arguably never finished because there is always work that can be done.
Just. like. anything. And everything.
You can always work on something to perfect it more; and yet, sometimes you have to learn to be satisfied with whatever that “thing” is in the present. Especially in this strange season of COVID and quarantining, appreciate the little moments within this slowed pace of time: time with your pets, your close ones, and engaging in activities that energize you. Take breaks from technology and invest in the real life that is staring you right in the eyes.
Yes, things could be better, but that’s always the case regardless if we’re in a pandemic. So, do the work and appreciate the journey — the highs, the lows, and the path that is paving the way to a beautiful ending, an end goal that you just might not need to know at this point in time.
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.