Creativity is not a luxury

Questions I ask myself at 2 am when I can’t sleep:

How much does the Earth weigh?

How fast are we travelling through the Milk Way?

Is it always this quiet?

Why aren’t my watercolours coming out as expected?

Why can’t I stop?

The question regarding watercolour expectations versus reality is simple to answer, at least for me: I’m not as patient as I need to be, plus I’m detail-orientated, which results in rushed, but surprisingly, overworked paintings – my paintings are seldom loose and flowing like the ones I see on Pinterest. My two favourite media, watercolour and pen and ink, both require a lot of time, patience and persistence to master. Sometimes I feel my tools and I at least have an understanding. Sometimes art is just hard work. I’ve spent a lot of the last month making disagreeable paintings, yet I persist as if I have no choice.

Art, even when it’s difficult, is important. Art has power, even if the artist her/himself feels powerless. All creative endeavours (including, and maybe even especially, music) are nurturing and healing; they create, connect and encourage communities across space and time. We are connected to the earliest artists all those millennia ago through the images they created on cave walls and in rocky outcrops. The makers of those images lived through physically and emotionally demanding times, but they didn’t just endure the hardships of their days, they flourished. We don’t know what sustained them, but I like to think creativity had a lot to do with it. This Ted Talk by Ethan Hawke sums it up best.

“Art’s not a luxury; it’s actually sustenance. We need it.” – Ethan Hawke

  2 comments for “Creativity is not a luxury

  1. October 22, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    I can add to the 2am universe thoughts XD
    Do planets with bigger mass move slower through the solar system or does it not matter because they’re in space.

    And I relate to the watercolor thoughts. What helps me a lot, is wetting the entire paper a little with a spraying bottle or a sponge. Or create masking with a second brush and clean water / wet the area you want to color, let the paint do it’s thing within this area, then let it dry.

    Anyways, I always love your art and this post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 22, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you Mona, that’s great advice and also something new to think about at 2 am. I use mostly hot press paper which is finicky. I love the advice to let the paint do its thing. I always feel watercolour is a lesson in letting go of control. It’s its own beast.

      Liked by 2 people

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