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Why Do I Make Art?

Why do I make art?  This is a question I have grappled with over the years. There must be a purpose, a reason, a justification for me to put so much time, energy, and money towards it.  Turns out I don’t need a purpose.  I don’t need a reason.  I don’t need to justify.  I just need to art.

Arting is how I process feelings.  I have spent too many years burying certain emotions, ignoring some emotions, downplaying emotions.  Art lets me honor all of me.  As I look at a journal page, a painting, a collage, any of it, I am taken back to the feelings that fueled the art.  The yucky emotions are more processed once I have arted them which  gives me distance and perspective.  That allows me to see the lessons in the emotions and grow as a person.

Then there are my anchor pieces, like the one above,  that just bring me pure happiness every time I look at them.  This is just my daughter’s homework stitched with envelopes and any thing else I found.  She gets a kick out of knowing why I get excited to get her old homework papers.  The color is pan pastels and stencils.  Just a day when I played with no rules, no restrictions.  Amazing that it is almost a year ago that I did this, but the good feelings are as strong as if I did it today.  Its significance to me is how it makes me feel when I see it.

How about you?  Why do you art?

Linking up with Creative Every Day and Inspire Me Monday!

{ 27 comments… add one }

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  • Rinda May 14, 2012, 10:43 am

    I think for similar reasons. I just feel better, happier when I have spent time arting.
    Rinda

  • Nordljus May 14, 2012, 10:47 am

    What a beautiful piece! Love the stitching and the colours. I’ve never really thought much about why I paint and create. Colour just makes me happy, and so I started to paint. But I think that art journaling now makes me think more about it, and changing my approach. But it’s certainly an interesting question to think about!

  • Bleubeard and Elizabeth May 14, 2012, 11:44 am

    I always love the randomness of papers like the ones your daughter brings you. You are truly blessed. And of course, I like that you sew the pages together, too!

    I admit, I don’t make art journals (well I make them, but I don’t write in them). My art journal is my blog. But I feel very much the same as you about the reason I make art. Also, maybe it’s because I CAN. I appreciate that I can make art and NO ONE judges me or finds negativity in it. It brings me joy and happiness, just as it does you. It’s a win-win in my book.

  • Cynthia May 14, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I art because I have a deep-seated need to MAKE things. I love mixing things together to create something new and different. Sometimes I’m unhappy with the outcome–it usually looked better in my head–but the process is what makes me happy. And keeps me sane! 😉

  • Gina May 14, 2012, 5:16 pm

    It seems to me that art is self expression — be it a feeling, a mood, a way to capture a memory. I think we all have creative urges and (hopefully) find ways to express them.
    Your anchor piece is lovely! I will have to think about what my “anchor piece” might be.

  • Lydia @ See Beautiful May 14, 2012, 5:19 pm

    I love this! So beautiful! Have you read The Confident Creative? It mirrors your sentiment and celebrates this philosophy. I am also reminded of Picasso and his beautiful sentiment that “we are all born artists, the challenge is to remain one as we grow up.” Let’s just not grow up.

    Happy seeing beautiful!

  • Andrea May 14, 2012, 5:58 pm

    I think i do it for the same reason, it makes me feel good, i spent too many years not doing it and i know i would have been happier had i done it back then too! Sometimes i think, what will i do with my lunch hour today…. And i almost always say to myself…. i feel like painting!

  • AJ May 15, 2012, 1:41 am

    Great post Carolyn, I think I art because it gives me some me time. I’ve always struggled with negative feelings and working in my journals is a way of processing and dealing with those feelings, giving them some persepective and, by using positive quotes, is helping me to alter my way of seeing the world. It is pretty much a solitary practice for me at the moment, although I share my art on my blog very few of my real life friends or family know anything about it. My next big challenge is to start sharing it with people I know personally and later in the year I am hoping to attend an Art Retreat where I will be arting with other people for the first time in my life. I am a little bit scared about that, but it feels like something I have to do to progress.
    Thanks for this post, it really made me think.
    Big love
    AJ 🙂

    • Carolyn May 15, 2012, 7:23 am

      The art retreat will rock your world- I love them- being surrounded by people that “get it” – the love of paint, ink, and journaling. The people who get just as excited by the look of a ticket from a show, the joy of finding a piece of rusty metal on the ground, or the thrill of a new art supply. I have gone to several by myself and have met the most wonderful people while there-I highly recommend you go to a retreat and enjoy!

  • Jennifer McLean May 15, 2012, 2:05 am

    thanks so much for the sweet comment, nice to meet you. Your art is lovely, as is your blog! I’m now a follower and will stop by again.
    Have a wonderful week Carolyn,
    Best,
    Jenn

  • Lynn May 15, 2012, 2:54 am

    Hi Carolyn, what a lovely post, thank you, it really resonated with me. I art every day, even if its only for a few minutes because if I don’t…..I just don’t feel right, out of sorts and some days just plain tense and cranky. The time I spend being creative, centres me, settles my spirit and brings me to a place of contentment. It allows me to work through the stuff going on in my life in a manner and in an environment that I am comfortable, safe and secure in.

  • Kat May 15, 2012, 4:06 am

    Hello Carolyn, the big why?? I suppose I art to stop all the questions, thoughts, worries….all those nagging background voices and just enjoy pure moments of pleasure with colours and textures, diving into another sphere, like you I distance myself from it all and then come back to reality feeling refreshed and happy!

  • Sloane Solanto May 15, 2012, 5:53 am

    I don’t think I have a choice! haha That itch needs to be scratched….like after I watched a film on Isaiah Zagar, In a Dream, I was so amped up on his mosaics I thought I would explode. I was up at the crack of dawn the next day booking a hotel room in Philly so I could go see his work in person. I came home so inspired that I started the wall immediately…that was a year ago…one more weekend and that wall is finished!!
    Art brings me joy and I like to spread that around. I hope to keep my inspiration flowing and in turn inspire others!

  • Corrine May 15, 2012, 7:24 am

    Wonderful post. Processing feelings, I never thought of it exactly this way but it’s a powerful insight. I just know it brings me joy and helps me de-stress. Stitching is sublime. xox

  • Mary in IL May 15, 2012, 8:36 am

    I make art because it makes me happy while I am playing with art nosh and looking back I can still feel those same emotions. I also make art to procrastinate from doing stuff I dislike…laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, running boring errands…you get it! 🙂 I also read to procrastinate (books and blogs…lol)

  • Harriet May 15, 2012, 9:14 am

    what a great idea….. and would use it if i had a school age child around but …… i do have 2 precious grand children that I would love their home work….. calling daughter now !!!!
    thanks

  • lenna young andrews May 15, 2012, 10:35 am

    Hi Carolyn, great post. I am enjoying your blog. I do art I think, because I need to. I have always done creative things and so I believe doing art defines me. I want to do or make art! Creating makes me feel good, I think it must be releasing endorphins or something! I like making art; it makes me feel good to do it. It makes me feel at peace. When I don’t make anything OR do something creative, like take photographs or create something good to eat, I start to get itchy! make sense? Thanks for asking! lenna

  • Sonya May 15, 2012, 8:01 pm

    OOOh I just love this piece. I have just finished a cover for my journal and in it I will be sewing in the junk pages. I just found this technique a few days ago researching on the net and it looks so amazing.
    Ive always been the ‘crafty’ person and have tried just about everything, but I just love art journalling. I actually feel lost and aggitated LOL if i haven’t completed something to do with journalling! I guess that is why I am doing my 365 days of journal pages.

  • Pauline Leger May 15, 2012, 8:03 pm

    Carolyn, this is a lovely post. I make art for the same reasons. Because i need to. Like i need the air that i breathe. I doubt that many people can say this about much else with as much conviction. You rarely hear an accountant say “i just NEED accounting!!” 🙂 Thanks for sharing this. Always fun to visit here. xoxo

  • FranT May 15, 2012, 9:52 pm

    Lately I find that I just have to do it. And it is really difficult to describe. Only that if i don’t make something, anything, every day I might jump out of my skin.

  • Maria May 15, 2012, 11:07 pm

    Well, you know I have asked myself that question a million times! I agree with everything you said. I love that you used her homework for your piece. FUN!

  • Tamoonstone May 16, 2012, 5:54 am

    Art is like an magical escape…..with an unknown destination…..Sometimes I also wander why I am so drawn to it, what is the point, the purpose, the desired outcome? We live in such an outcome driven society and when I am involved in these expectations I am at my least creative. But when I let go and realise, just as you said, that there doesn’t need to be a purpose, then I can loose myself for hours and just flow. It offers me such a sense of joy and brings so much colour into my life. Great thought provoking post… Thanks xo

  • muriel May 18, 2012, 4:17 am

    Making art makes me feel happy, makes me feel complete (can’t find a better word). Art helps me to express certain parts of myself that I cannot express in another way. When, due to my job, I can’t create, I feel miserable and frustrated. Creating without a particular purpose is so fulfilling.

  • patsy May 21, 2012, 6:31 am

    I really think that we are all created with the urge to create! We find an inexplicable joy when we make something beautiful or meaningful! It’s like when God created the sea, the animals, etc, He said., “It is good!” patsy

  • Denise May 22, 2012, 9:40 am

    Hi Carolyn,
    I think art allows me to just let go of all the mundane tasks and stress of everyday life. I can be free in creating, no pressures just joy. I like how I feel when creating and I lose all track of time. It truly is just a magical place to be.

  • Jo May 28, 2012, 1:53 pm

    If I do not do something creative everyday I am not a happy person. In fact, the more time I give myself to do it, the happier I am. I feel it’s what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life. It makes my soul happy. It’s like breathing. Your work is lovely.