Making art is perilous. It’s also rewarding

In Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” one of the weekly tasks is to take yourself on ‘a date’.

Yesterday, I took myself for a drive in the country, meandering through winding hills that edge the Rockies, down dirt roads of unknown destination. I didn’t get lost as much as I didn’t know where the road ended until I got to an intersection and chose which way to turn. Eventually, I made my way to Vale’s Greenhouse, a family-run business in Black Diamond, a small town south of the city. Situated on the Sheep River, the beautiful gardens were swept away in the floods of 2013. With tender loving care, and a whole lot of hard work, they are back to their previous splendour.

I wandered the greenhouses, picking out plants to include in my pots, looking for ‘the unusual’ to include in the normal.  The nice thing about container gardening is, the growing zone doesn’t matter.

Part of my planning to be unplanned for 3 months is to not make commitments. And, while I know I could plan on bringing the plants in come fall… we’ll see.

It is my new watchword phrase. “We’ll see.”

We’ll see what I decide to do in the fall. We’ll see what adventure I can get up to today. We’ll see what will happen when I mix these plants with these. We’ll see….

It’s a useful phrase!

When someone phoned to ask if I was interested in a contract, I replied… We’ll see in the fall. Until then, I’m not making any commitments.

We’ll see.

After I was finished at Vales I drove into the town centre and wandered the shops and picked up a book to read while having lunch.

I’m glad I did.

Right from the first words, I was engrossed. Art & FearObservations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayes & Ted Orland, begins with the opening statement, “Making art is difficult.”


The authors propose that art-making in the time of The Church, the clan, ritual and tradition was easier because ultimately, artists worked in the service of God, not the service of self.

Because we were/are tribal oriented, The Church represented a secure common ground.

We work in the face of uncertainty today. Untethered, insecure in where we stand, we lack a strong sense of community. In that space, we live with the doubt and uncertainty of what it means to ‘be an artist’, to have a calling that perhaps no one else cares about because our art is not an expression of our shared faith.

Yes, making art is difficult.

Not making it is even more difficult.

To not see the world through eyes that seek the wonder and beauty, to not allow my hands to express my thoughts and ideas, is a living death to me.

And so, I must make art. I must write. I must paint. I must dance. I must create. At times, I must sing (even though my daughters tell me that’s not such a good idea!) Creating, being creative is like breathing. I cannot not do it.

I spent a day with myself yesterday. I wandered backroads where ever they took me, and even though I had a destination in mind, I kept my thoughts open to the possibility I’d end up somewhere else.

Where I did end up was exactly where I wanted to be. Sitting under a patio umbrella, enjoying lunch and a glass of wine, reading and writing in the hot afternoon sun.

It was pure delight.



5 thoughts on “Making art is perilous. It’s also rewarding

  1. It’s so important to have days like this from time to time… be in nature and just being alone in your thoughts. I love that there was no destination planned, just hit the road and land where you may, enjoying the beauty of nature and taking it all in. I hope you have many more times like this in your retirement……I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog every day….thank you for all that you bring into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Val. thank you. Your words feel like this honey balm warming my heart. One of my ‘struggles’ is to feel I am making a difference. I don’t give myself the grace of recognizing that writing here every day, is part of my difference. Thank you for writing that — I have had several affirmations this past week. Time to embrace and take my focus off — ‘how will I’ to simply carry on with how I am…! Have a lovely day! ❤


Real conversations begin with your comments. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.