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The Beauty In The Journey

100 The Beauty In The Journey oil on canvas, gallery wrapped 14x18 inches / 35.5x46 cm melaniejoyart

This would be my 100th completed painting!! Hence the name of it.
It has been a journey so far that I never actually expected. As a child you never realize that there is so much more to being an artist than just creating art. There is pain, anger, enlightenment, personal growth and so many more emotions that one never expects. I have had to come to terms with hating things I have created, while others have loved it. That is a weird feeling. I have been so excited by something I still can't believe it came from inside me.

And then when you let that first artwork into the world, it's like letting a tiny a piece of yourself go, knowing that you may never ever see that painting again, so that when you look at pictures of your past work, you always wonder..... and then you have to let that go. I have many out in the world, and most I am aware of their locations and could see them anytime I want. But there are a few, they are out there, on some strangers wall, hopefully making them happy, hopefully affecting them in some positive way. It is scary and wonderful all at the same time.

10 years ago my Aunt Sharon - a very amazing painter that I would share with you 'if she had a site' *a-hem* - gave me some of her older brushes and paints, and left me to it. So on August 4th, 2006, I put The Neverending Story and Labyrinth on my tv. And with no training and a huge imagination, I sat down to paint my first painting. I really found myself that day, which is why I encourage anyone to just do what they have always wanted to do. I wanted to paint my whole life and for whatever reasons it didn't happen until that day.

My husband is the most amazing man in all of the universes and is insistent upon me being the artist I am. He provides all the materials, time and support I could ever want, to make it happen. He is the only person that has seen my process, my frustrations, my anger and tears, and my extreme happiness. He has also been very tactful in his educated criticism, for which I am grateful for as I am most vulnerable when I am letting others see my finished work. He has hugged me when I am crying because "it's terrible" and hugged me when I am so happy with my work that I could burst. I remember this every time I look at him.

I have been lucky that my family has been so supportive as well. They are encouraging and honest and always there for me. Many don't have this and for that I really feel for them. My family has also been very patient with me when I decide what painting they would like and then give it to them as a present, hehe. Thank you guys.

Sadly, this year I lost one of my biggest supporters and collectors. It's always hardest when you finish something and like a 5 year old you want to show it off meekly, and then realize you can't. It's a little bitter-sweet that she isn't here to read even this and see this accomplishment. Nor will she see the painting I did after her passing, for her. <3

I have so many more paintings in me and most days I don't even know where to begin. I am so very lucky, and even when I am pouting and having an artist tantrum, I still deep down remember how lucky I truly am.

You're still here? Cool, I'll wrap it up :p

So my advice to all you reading this, encourage each other in The Arts, in everything! Be supportive. You can do this with a simple "good job" or thumbs up or "you should really try doing that if that's what you've always wanted to do". You don't have to like everything they do, but letting them know you support them is more important anyways. And don't disappear if they are selling something. You can support them by acknowledging without buying. The encouragement of acknowledgement means more anyways.

Be careful not to belittle their art with a "that's a nice hobby". It is painful to know people think what you do is a leisurely thing. For some it is, but I put my soul into every piece and to have it referred to this way in discouraging. And we artists are sensitive little weirdos, we will take that and we will amplify it in our own minds. Some can turn it into art - it's what they do, but some of us paint from hope and prefer to be a state of happiness to create.

Don't be afraid of healthy criticism. Be warned, we might get our backs up about it in the moment, just remember you can't win. But in the end we want honesty and if you can do that tactfully it is very beneficial. If you can't, I'd encourage you to just not say anything.

Artists love to hear what you see in their work, what it makes you feel. Sure, I like to talk about my process, but I want to hear your opinion more. I want to see through your eyes.

Encourage children that are interested in The Arts. You destroy a child when you make them feel stupid for it. And who wants to be known as 'The Destroyer of Children".

Art is often seen as frivolous, condescending. Let's change that. Let's make it something you don't pay stupid amounts for, or is only popular by controversy. It needs to be something that enriches each others lives, helps us find our own souls and guide others to find theirs. It doesn't all have to be pretty, but it should be honest.

That thing you have always wanted to do? Go do it. Today!