A few years back, I was talking to my daughter, and since I didn’t have anything more creative to ask her, I said, “what do you want to become when you grow up?”
I wanted her answer to be something offbeat, something that she actually wanted to do, something that was not impacted by the grown-up life issues and thoughts of selecting a career that made more money. And she came up with the most unexpected, “I want to be a masseuse”. Her reason was very clear, whenever she massaged my shoulders or back with her tiny hands, I gave her the best reaction of being the happiest person on earth which made her believe that she was extremely good at it. But, her next question to me was the same, and I told her that I am already a grown-up. To which she said that “then you must already be what you wanted to become.” This simple question, which I always thought was the worst anyone could ask in an interview, became something more. It made me question if I am on the right path towards achieving my goals. And most importantly, what were my goals?
I was so busy as life happened and I moved from one stage to another, doing fairly well professionally and at the home front, being happy and satisfied with my life, but why did I feel like something was missing. If someone had asked this question to me when I was a kid, I would’ve replied that I want to be an artist. But since then, I had not paid any attention to that calling and now at this stage of my life, was I already too late to think in that direction? Being an adult, I believed that art could only be my hobby, as I am not trained in the field and I am not good enough to make it my career. But, one thing was staring in my face, and that was to get started with my art practice and do it daily. I always had art supplies stacked in my cupboard, so it wasn’t difficult to get started and soon I was making watercolor paintings daily and the journey started.
When you are open to ideas and decide to take a path, you are more willing to explore. I used to look for some muse on Instagram or Pinterest and tried to recreate anything in any medium that caught my fancy. One day I came across alcohol inks and I just had an intense craving to use this new medium. When I started working with alcohol inks, I immediately fell in love with them and I have been painting with this medium for over a year and a half now. Thankfully, people started appreciating my art and I knew I was moving in the right direction. Soon, people requested me to teach them alcohol ink art and I was happy to do that. I love to see the beginners getting the same excitement that I felt when working with alcohol inks. Although I enjoy taking workshops, my main focus is to remain on my path to becoming an “artist”. People have already started calling me that and I feel completely elated when I hear it. I’ve even got it printed on my visiting cards. Although, I know there is still a long way to go. We can never anticipate how things will work out in the future, but things always do have a way of working out if your efforts remain consistent. So, my ideas might change in the future as circumstances and my likings change, but the path of creating art will remain constant.
I always keep telling all the workshop participants as well as others that “we are all at different stages of learning”. Creating art should bring you joy. If you compare yourself to others, get into the rush of marketing and hustling to sell your art, then slowly the joy of creating starts to slip away. You find yourself in a constant struggle to prove something and be better than others, and if your art doesn’t sell, you feel stressed and rejected. Is that why you started? I know, we all would like to monetize our art and find ways to make money out of it because that’s all we see on social media. But it’s a tough market. I am happy that things are working out for me, but there are many days when I feel depressed and unhappy when things don’t work out. When I feel that way, I always remind myself that my goal is to become an “artist” and the rest all becomes clear and fades away.
If you ask for one advice from any artist in the world, they would say, “paint consistently”. And that’s the only key. When you make something daily, you tend to loosen up, you feel okay when you make mistakes or things don’t work out as planned, because you know there’s always the next time. And the next time would always be a step ahead. So, I remind myself to breathe, take one step at a time, and enjoy this beautiful journey!
What do you feel about your goals as an artist? Please share your thoughts with me.