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"Creativity takes courage."

I wonder what I am doing. By what egocentric self-absorbed rationale do I justify using my time and energy to….. PAINT? This is the question I have been grappling with for the last year.

I have always loved art. As a kid I have doodled my way through school, I have emulated my artist uncle, and I have spent hours painting rock bands in high school. I have never been formally trained, I do not have an art degree, and I am forever experimenting.

Am I an “artist”? I have such a difficult time assigning that label to myself; “What do you do?” “I am an artist.” My work has been sold, appreciated, loved, and treasured. Am I an “artist”? In appraising my work, looking at that experimental collection, I have to consider if the schizophrenic nature of my work is contributing, or not, to that idea of being an artist, of actually being an artist.

I often ponder this question. I look at work in galleries, and the collections are all cohesive, they all have a “thing”. I keep asking myself - what is my creative “thing”? (or do I need one?) I look at other people’s work and am constantly comparing myself - wow, that’s amazing, they are an artist. I could never do that, they are such a great artist. Comparison is the soul crushing folly of the creative mind, to be sure.

Art is a fickle thing; it is constantly changing, and evolving, and so am I. I have identified as a teacher for 30 years; a teacher with some creative skills. I have identified as an art hobbiest all that time. Today, I am retired from education, and am devoting all of my time to creating art, to developing the business of art, to exploring my creative intentions. I wonder when the label “artist” will begin to feel like it fits.

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