Why Art?

Untitled. Mixed media.

Untitled. Mixed media. 

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves." 

- Thomas Merton 

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." 

- Pablo Picasso 

Untitled. Mixed media. 

If an artist—by narrow definition—only refers to those who paint, sculpt and work in fine arts, I beg to differ. Writers and photographers are also artists, but we colorize and texturize our two-dimensional “canvases” with different tools: a computer and a camera. And yet, I pay utmost respect to the artists who paint and create in multi-dimensional genres that continue to inspire me. 

When I was in junior high school, my art teacher instructed the students to pick and replicate a painting from one of the Old Masters. I chose Pablo Picasso’s “Three Musicians.” There was something about abstract expressionism that excited me. But I didn’t even know that classification term at the time. Unfortunately, I lost the artwork I produced, which would be a great source of confidence building for me today.  

Decades passed, as I navigated away from my passion for art/painting and moved into more practical occupations. But over the past decade, as I entered my senior years, I found more time and interest to renew my passion for art. I’ve taken multiple art workshops for encaustic, mixed media, and cold wax/oil painting. For that, I am so grateful to the artists I’ve met who love to spread their passion through teaching.  

What I’ve learned is that creating art is very much like writing and photography. All require suffering, discipline, learning techniques and principles of one’s chosen craft. And the more one opens up, the more likely that one’s vision, emotional signature and voice will emerge.  

I am sharing some of my work on this site to encourage the artist within you to express yourself as well. Moreover, art in any form is communication and thus, for sharing. When I am fusing hot wax on an encaustic board, or smearing cold wax and oil on paper, I do get diliriously lost. But after painting, fusing, incising, reviewing and re-painting…I am excited to see whatever is revealed. This is quite different, on the other hand, with my process for writing and photojournalism. Whereas, I have an intention and target from the outset, this is not the case creating abstract art. As my artist friend Pamela Caughey puts it, “Ugly is good. Just play first, and then go back and decide how to make all the elements work.” 

Leap. Laugh. Love Art! 

My Advice to Creatives: If you want to succeed, fail, fail fast! 

By Pam Caughey