So You’ve Decided to Stop Painting

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Long about the beginning of August while I was just starting my #PaintAnyway campaign, I came to a realization that really struck me in a bad way:

Painting makes me feel crummy. Really crummy.

The way that I explained it to anyone who cared enough to ask about it was this: Imagine you’re in a relationship with someone, and it’s fantastic. They’re amazing, you love them daily even though it’s taxing at times, etc. Then, as the relationship stretches, you start to notice that the good times are mainly gone, and what’s more you now see that they’re mean to you. Every time you hang out you bicker, every time you snuggle it’s halfhearted… But by God you stay, because the good times were so good! Never mind that ALL of the times now are them griping at you and chiding you for not doing enough, or doing everything wrong! Remember the good times?! SURELY they’ll come back. Surely.

If this was a relationship, you might identify it as a crummy relationship and jump ship. And I had a few moments of packing up my studio space where I considered that I was being too hasty, and that I should try to love it again. But why? For whom? For me, or just because I know that I have friends and family who see me as some “painter”? And you know what? I just really don’t love it anymore. And it feels AMAZING to let it go. Y’know, some people go through a decade of law school and pass the bar to realize that they don’t want to practice law, and some people spend their whole lives learning to paint and finally land on “Gee this makes me feel awful.” No guilt.

So to anyone who cares, what does this mean. Well, it means that:
1. I’ll still paint again some days, because the process is fun sometimes. Like doing a puzzle sometimes. But pressing myself to “make a career out of it” is so, SO not what I want to do.
2. I will of course 100% still be making things. I love making things. I make things all the time.
3. I’m more than art, I’m more than painting, and I’m worth more than some “thing” that everyone knows I do. That thing has so little to do with me.

If you came here looking for a painter, you surely found one… But she’s officially retired!

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2 thoughts on “So You’ve Decided to Stop Painting

  1. The irony is, now when you do pick up a brush you will probably paint better and find a new direction in your creativity, which will inspire you to become a ‘painter’ again. Repeat cycle every three years…

    1. When I do, will I probably paint in a more “I’m free!!” manner? Most definitely. Will I decide to make a career out of it? I can’t see the future, but likely not. I don’t know, painting feels so… Sort of self-involved now, so inward. What am I doing for others? What am I doing to affect someone? I’ve said before that paintings affect people – certainly great ones do – but that was a hundred years ago. Now? I dunno. I think I can do more. My painting now will only ever be for fun.

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