Doing what I want, not what I should…

I spent some time the other day, just sitting in my art room, staring at the walls. Bored? No! Far from it; thinking about what I create and why. It’s a question I come back to from time to time, sometimes reasonably frequently if I have a lot on my mind.

What could I see while I sat there? Most of the works on the walls are mine, bar two pieces – one by fellow NZ Art Guild member Tanya Dann, and one by Sandra Toornstra who I attended The Learning Connexion with. It was interesting to consider what I have chosen from my own works to look at all the time and why I chose them. It says something about my true preferences. You know the ones; the preferences that are about creating and enjoying, not exhibiting and selling. And boy oh boy, I realised once again that a chasm has appeared. What I love and what I create are not the same thing at the moment. No wonder I am feeling a bit under-inspired. I must be a slow learner because it’s not the first time this has happened…

How is it that I come to this realisation, then lose it again after a while? In some ways I blame the internet. It’s so easy to get distracted by stats, figures, trends & sales and forget what’s in your heart. Cynthia Morris wrote a great article along these lines recently.  Post edited to add: I’m also reading Nicholas Carr’s “The shallows: how the internet is changing the way we think, read and rememebr” on the same subject. Carr argues that not since Gutenberg invented printing has humanity been exposed to such mind-altering technology. He believes the Net is actually re-wiring our brains and that by moving from the depths of thought to the shallows of distraction, the web is actually fostering ignorance. This is a challenging book, with a message worth thinking about.

What am I going to do about it? My commitments to myself are as follows:

  • Facebook twice a day and that’s it.
  • Limit the amount of time I spend online each day.
  • Don’t enter any exhibitions etc till next year.
  • Spend from now till after Christmas creating for fun only – *no* selling.

So, back to the original question – what did I see on my walls? Here’s the answer:

8 thoughts on “Doing what I want, not what I should…

  1. Cath I love these. Especially the bottom one which reminds me of the work I did at TLC on symbols. Was talking to an artist friend today about creating what we like and who cares whether anyone else likes it. The pleasure of the creating and all that.


  2. What we “should” do is follow our hearts, and do what we want to do… when we paint for ourselves the authenticity shows through.

    When we paint only to sell in time it becomes soul-less wall decor. I knew of an artist (many moons ago) who had advance information on the colour trends, from the decorating industry, and had a thriving business painting ahead of it so when people changed their paint his paintings suited. However, he disappeared after a time, probably because he lost his passion. He had become a technician, no longer an artist.

    I’ve always said that I would do a day job to support my passion, rather than compromise my art. At the moment my day job happens to be painting commissions, and it is draining me creatively. I thought that the two would work well, one feeding into the other, but it isn’t working that way at all.

    Go with passion and honesty every time. Sales are not the true goal of an artist, even a hungry one!


  3. I think your work is fabulous…makes me think of action and movement… I think we all have those times of self reflection and I think it’s important to realize that what you might love to look at or enjoy in other people’s work doesn’t mean your work has to be that…if that makes sense!


  4. I can relate to the periodic re-evaluation. It’s good to question direction and make course corrections when necessary. And I sure can identify with trying to keep a balance between painting to sell and painting to please oneself. Right now I just want to take a “self” break!

    I agree that the internet can make us mentally lazy. It’s a worry because of its political implications. The dumber we all become, the more easily duped.

    Trying lately to keep all of it at a minimum too, and choose very carefully where to spend my time. (Hopefully in places that make me smarter!) 🙂


  5. Thank you Cath for this great post.
    I’m bit lost with mine direction too …seems like everything is in mess.
    Still finding way to correct them all…however, i know everthing starting from heart.


  6. A very interesting post, Cath,,,and similar to how I’ve felt of late. My current post even reflects some of this.
    The woulds, the coulds, the should haves.

    I’ve always said that the joy is in the process,,,and why is it that it’s so hard to keep that in mind, and we come back to this spot over and over?
    PS: I’ve always loved your beautiful abstracts, and I’m glad to know that’s what hangs on your walls. My walls are abstract too, mixed in with all the collaged photos of Jack.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s