If you’ve followed along on my art journey, you’ll know that I didn’t think of myself as an artist when I first began learning to draw. I was nothing more than a wannabe. When I began, in June of 2015, I couldn’t draw a straight line. I wasn’t good enough to even call myself an aspiring artist.
When my husband, my family, and my friends began calling me an artist, I shook my head. I was just learning. Maybe someday I would be a real artist, but not for a long while.
“Am I an artist?” has been called “The Question that Never Goes Away“. Having doubts is part of what being an artist is, I suppose.
For me, I jokingly resolved the whole issue when I received an “Artist” sticker from Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff with an order I’d placed. That made it official, I declared. Yes, I was a real artist.
I’ve accepted the title now. I may not be a great artist, but I’m loving what I’m doing. I make creative messes every day, and I have fun drawing and painting. I smile when I go shopping for canvas panels and the sales clerk says, “Oh, you’re a painter!” Or “You must be an artist.” I’ve even been known to whip out my cell phone and show off photographs of my recent paintings. I love getting compliments, especially from people I’ve never met before.
Yes, I am an artist.
It’s not just because of a sticker from Cheap Joe’s, and it’s not because my husband still calls me his “artist wife”. It’s because art has become a way of life for me. It’s what I do.
This truth really hit home with me a few days ago while I was at my easel. It was one of “those days” when things weren’t going right. I was wiping paint away from the canvas — and getting most of it on my hands, it seems — when our home phone rang. We use our home number primarily for business calls, so I grabbed a paint rag and hurried off to answer.
There I was, covered with paint, gingerly trying to answer the phone without knocking over several paintings that were in the process of drying, and trying to avoid getting oil paints all over the receiver.
I had to laugh when I found out who was calling. It was a representative from Artist magazine, wanting to offer me a special deal. I do have a subscription. It’s a gift from one of my daughters. I suggested the representative call her instead.
Later that afternoon, my husband and I had to go out to a school event for one of the grandkids. “Can we stop by Wal-Mart first?” I asked. I was getting low on canvas panels. I needed a few other art supplies, too.
Now, I look about my house. I have paintings here, there, everywhere. I have drawings I’ve done, framed and hanging on the walls. I have a lovely array of art supplies — from drawing pencils to pastels, from Prismacolor Premiers to conte, from gel pens to oil paints. I have sketchbooks filled with birds, or bones, or gesture drawings. And of course, I have paint rags, thinner, linseed oil, a growing collection of brushes. And the latest issues of both Drawing magazine and Artist magazine.
Yes, indeed. I must be an artist. How else can I explain this mess?