If you, like many others, wonder why we paint, perhaps it's time to follow the voice of the Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki, when he says:
"The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing."
Sometimes you have so many ideas for paintings, you cannot possibly paint them all. At other times, you need to step back and decide what brings you joy. If you painted every day (or every week) and never showed your paintings to anyone, would you still have the same joy in painting? Would it take you in a different direction? Would you stop painting? Is the sharing one of the biggest aspects of the art? Not the selling, but the sharing - on blogs, websites, emails, classes.
Find out what is the most important thing, says Master Suzuki.
But then, the great painter, Alice Neel says:
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is,because this is all part of experience, and the more experienceyou have, the better it is...unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far."
Ms. Neel seems to be saying it's all about the journey, not the destination. The journey won't always be spring flowers and gentle rains to wash away the dirt. It could be difficult, dangerous and filled with stress. Do you keep on going? Or do you sit down in the middle of the path and cry like a little girl? Maybe a good cry is just what you need!
Each day in this journey differs. Up, down, happy, sad, complicated, simple, easy, hard...pushing through may mean the difference between doodling and true art from a human heart and mind.