Can I let you in on an artist's secret? It might surprise you and then it also might not seem like that big of a deal, but it is. I love seeing where my art goes to live after it leaves my studio.
While it might seem like 'peak artist' is reached when I'm blasting my favorite tunes in my headphones, uninterrupted with the work, lost in the flow, there's even more than that. I know. How could it get any better? But it does. Beyond the beauty of creation, there is a moment. It's not always as dramatic as when my knife scrapes the perfect hue I've struggled to find for weeks, and it might not be as intense as three works correlating as a whole. But it's so satisfying. Sometimes there might not be any initial reaction after sending a piece out into the world, it might even be months, or years down the road before I hear anything at all. So I feel so supplied with purpose and gratitude about my work when there's a glimpse into how this makes someone feel through the feedback that comes back to me. It's my secret wish because I can't always ask, I won't hound someone to share how my art makes them feel. It's not for me to say or know how another responds, any more than I would be privy to the private feelings of love (or hate) someone has about anything. When they acquire the painting, they also acquire the interaction they get to have with it in person. My say has already been had, it is the result. And I know it will continue to talk and give back, but it is in silence, on the surface of that canvas. But I'd still really love to know.
So then it comes. I'll get a message, a card, or an in person interaction about how my art has impacted someone on a personal level in their home. These are treasures. And I hold onto each and every one of them. I take them out of my pocket to look at on a rainy day when I feel like questioning what I'm doing.
When someone takes the time to tell me that a painting I have made is something they strategically hung so that it is the first thing they will wake up to each morning. When someone tells me that a painting's vibrant colors got them through a rough northern winter by reminding them of the beach they grew on. When someone says that they don't know how I've done it, that they never thought they would like "abstract art" but this one was different and now the door is opened. When a father tells me the painting he is getting is not for himself, but is a surprise gift for his daughter who lives very far away from him, but this will make them feel more connected. When a new mother who wouldn't dream of putting any chemicals, chaos or visual noise into her newborn baby's nursery, but the calm she is desperately seeking in a huge transitionary stage in life is made better because of the painting. When this happens? Well, that is everything. And it's more than the painting. It's about us. It's about people, and connecting.
So thank you. For the interactions, the words and the encouragement. I love to hear from you. You are the fuel that keeps the paint moving.
I'll leave you with some pretty images of my work by Chicago's Design & Lifestyle blogger, Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely. Nicole recently participated in a renovation challenge and one of my pieces in her private collection made it into the beautiful results. While you are reading about how she put this all together wit her creative eye, be sure to check out those gorgeous Rösel von Rosenhof insects she enlarged and cut out as artwork!