I recently realised that I have given more paintings away this year than I have sold or even painted. I put this down to a few good reasons:
1. I had more paintings lying around than I had time to actually paint.
2. I get far more gratification from seeing my work enjoyed than I do from making money off of them.
3. I realise I have a gift and I believe it should be shared.
My work deals with issues of Identity, Desire and Beauty but ultimately it is an expression of what makes me happy and what I enjoy. Painting or any other form of expression is a highly self-indulgent act and few do it for money. While it is a dream of mine to work as a full time artist (not that it would seem like work) I feel guilty about actually spending my time on something so selfish. It has taken sharing my work on a public forum such as Facebook to fully realise that my Art actually makes others happy. This certainly softens the feelings of guilt and pure indulgence but more than anything it instills a greater desire to give.
On reflection of my life and recent practice I have realised more about myself as a person than I ever had before. I have found a confidence to express myself without fear of judgment and I have found an outlet for my inner voice.
In doing so I have gained new found friends and supporters, I have continued to feel supported by those who always have been there for me but unfortunately I have seen the dark side of personal success as well. There will always be someone out there wanting to take advantage of your generosity, make money off your efforts without putting in their own and those who envy your drive and believe you to be 'greedy' or 'lucky'. This infuriates me but I know that I am a person who draws strength from within, while these negative individuals steal from others to get theirs. There's no true way to please everyone...but for those who are worth it the return is inevitable and worthwhile.
So while my time for painting has been limited this year, my ideas and self-realisation have doubled. I know that my happiness comes from within and I intend to keep sharing it through my art in the hope to make others happy. I also know the act of giving is rewarded a thousand times over and I choose not to lose sight of that. I hope to one day be remembered as 'driven by creativity, love and pure happiness' and never thought of as 'self-indulgent' or 'lucky'! I also realise this is my next insecurity to overcome, because I know it doesn't matter what others think anyway.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.