What is Art?

Painting by CP of a windmill with a

In it's simplest form, Art is about making things.

Usually that means paintings, sculptures, photographs etc each with their own skill set. In my opinion art includes everyday creativity as well. Crafts such as sewing, embroidery, scrapbooking, stonecutting or leatherwork are part of the art world, and activities like cooking, i-phone photography, gardening and flower-arranging too.

Artists take something, and change it into something else. It’s like magic.

We are all making magic every time we take something and turn it into something else. No matter how or what we are making: when we create we are artists.

How to be an Artist

As a full time artist, I make paintings and etchings. But it’s the same process no matter what is being created:

1)  Capture the idea. Sketch, photograph, type, scribble or construct: in a notebook, on the back of a Coles’ docket, wherever. It’s a list, a menu, a diagram. Sometimes the idea never gets beyond this stage, but even in this half-formed state, it’s already art.

2)  Make the artwork. This can take one hour or three months. Sometimes, even after all that time and effort, an artwork may not be perfect, but it’s still art.  

3)  Share. Part of my art practice is about exhibiting in galleries, but sometimes artwork is not exhibited, nor sold. Even when it’s under the spare bed, in a box marked ‘reject’, it’s always art.

Art can be all things to all people

It can be private or public, skilled or unskilled, important to the world or important to just one person. It doesn’t matter if it’s not called art, if you’re copying a pattern or working with a teacher; wherever you are on the art-spectrum, the important thing is to get out there and make something today.

HOW TO START

Procrastinate

Be a learner

Start anywhere

Set time limts

painting of a straw broom leaning up against a white wall. Strong shadow. By CP
Do those things that you need to do first: sweep the floor, tidy the space, check the emails. Set a time limit so the project does happen. It’s a time for thinking about what’s coming up.
Decide to do several of whatever you’re planning. It means you don’t have to be perfect immediately. Have several sets of materials. This is true: the first one will be overdone, the second one underdone, the third will be just right.
If starting on the main project is too daunting, start near it, or nowhere near it. You’ll get back to the main thing eventually, or this side trip will become the main journey.
Decide how long you can allocate today. Set a timer. For that time be completely on task, and work right through to the alarm. It’s amazing what you can achieve.

Remember to Smile

First Published

page of the magazine where this was first published. It shows windmill painting and CP in a shed
St Carthages Home Care quarterly magazine "Life!" Spring2018 p18

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