Works of Art, or…?

Every morning when my husband gets to work, he gives me a call. We usually talk about the day he has planned, and at some point in the conversation he’ll always ask, “What’s on your agenda today?”

My answer might be “Oh, I’ll probably do a little more work on the bird I’m drawing,” or “I might work with my new pastels for a while,” or maybe “I think I’ll work on a new watercolor.”

It strikes me as a bit absurd, though, to think of art in terms of work. I know, of course, that there are many professional artists who do make their living at their easels and drawing boards. For them, yes, art is their work. I know, too, that I’ll never join their ranks. I will forever remain an art hobbyist, someone who draws and paints just for fun.

Why then, do I think of my art as work?

A silly question, really. We always speak of works of art. It’s a phrase that’s worked its way into our everyday speech — and yes, there’s that word again. Work. We’ve somehow become fixated on it, I think.

We have housework or homework or we go out to do yardwork. I make photographs on Facebook and talk about working in my herb garden. We buy work boots and work shirts, and we’re always working on one project or another. My husband goes outside in the evenings to work on his old van. People even talk about working on relationships, for goodness sake!

Doesn’t anyone have fun anymore?

I'm having fun playing with my new "pan pastels". This was my first creation with them.
I’m having fun playing with my new “pan pastels”. This was my first creation with them.

Well, I’m having fun. Sure, there are those occasional days when I’m not too happy with anything I draw or paint, but for the most part, I’m thoroughly enjoying my pursuit of art. I love learning new things, and creating with paints, pastels, and pencils gives me a genuine sense of satisfaction.

I don’t want to think of my creations as works of art. I’d rather see them as artistic playthings. They’re tangible reminders of the pleasure I find in brushing color over a sheet of paper, of the joy I get from making marks with charcoal, and the sheer delight I feel as I watch watercolors mingle and blend.

We have more than enough work to do. We each need a little fun time, a chance to play with ideas and simply enjoy whatever it is we’re doing. I wrote before that if it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it. It’s true. I’d much rather create my artistic playthings than worry about making a work of art.

Even the challenging aspects of art — for me, that means perspective, architectural drawings, and a host of other trouble spots — can be enjoyable when I approach them with a playful attitude. Improving our abilities isn’t so much about working hard as it is about spending time on our studies, and if it’s fun, we’re more apt to put in the necessary time. There are always ways to make it fun.

  • Try new things
  • Color outside the lines
  • Draw upside down
  • Choose colors at random
  • Experiment with different techniques

So, put on your favorite music — and your old clothes. Go get your hands dirty with charcoal, pastel, or finger paints. Stop thinking about works of art and just have fun creating artistic playthings.



  1. I always refer to art as “Playing.” I always tell my husband that I’m going to play. So, my husband asks what are you playing with today? I LOVE to PLAY. I never thought about how much we use work in our everyday conversation. For my job, yes I will use the word “work” all day long. When I come home its time to play!!!! Awesome post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I once worked in a very creative environment, and yes, it was fun to go there and be part of all that was happening. I’m glad you have that in your life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You never know where this “hobby” may lead you! I’d have never thought when art grabbed my by the throat a year and a half ago as an empty nester, that I’d be thinking about launching a business this year. It can happen if you really want it and you are passionate about it. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful for you! I know when I started learning to draw last summer, I really expected to fail. I never thought I’d find so much pleasure in art. I always wanted to pursue it but for so long it remained nothing more than a dream. My only regret now is that I didn’t start sooner. Congratulations of the upcoming business launch. That must be so exciting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m closer to 50 than 40, and as an artist friend told me in Open Studio, it’s never too late. I had a brother and a sister growing up who truly ARE gifted artists, born with pencils and brushes in their hands. I was never like them or anywhere close so I told myself for years that I didn’t have the gift. I think many of us do that and it doesn’t serve us. Anyone will get better at anything if they have a passion that keeps them showing up and doing it. Doing doing doing. Is really all it takes IMO. It doesn’t seem to let go of me, so I’m not letting go of it! Following where the spirit is leading! I’m looking forward to following your progress!

        Liked by 1 person

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