I've heard this debated a few times and I usually end up feeling a bit of a phony when this is discussed - as I have called myself an artist (albeit an amateur one) because I do art! I love art! It is part of who I am, but am I a true artist - I'll let you decide!
I've always enjoyed art - used to draw anything and everything when I was a teenager, then life took over and I stopped drawing, then 3 years ago I started again, and started painting - I love seeing something come to life in front of me and even if I'm not that happy with the result, I will have always enjoyed the process. I doubt if some people would regard me as a 'true artist' though as I'm a bit too laid back about it all - and I don't follow the rules, I don't even know all of the rules! I don't plan, I haven't got time for that, I've got a day job and limited time to paint so an idea pops into my head and I think 'I'll paint that tonight!' and I just dive in! It's usually because a I've seen something that inspires me whether it be from an experience I've had or a photograph or it may be a challenge on a art site or on facebook. Yes I feel passionate about art, I love it, and couldn't not paint now - but I heard it said once that 'some people can never be a true artist because they're not tormented enough' ! and I think I know what they mean. I don't have that huge drive that some do to evolve and improve - I see artists saying how you must strive endlessly to improve, and evolve and find who you are as an artist - and I admire the drive of these artists, it's brilliant - but we haven't all got that same drive - so are we not true artists then?
I haven't got that drive - it's not in my personality to be like that, and is not who I am. I fear if I got into that mindset that I would lose some of those natural emotions in creating for the love of it - I think I would subconsciously find it a pressure to be worrying that I need to keep improving, and striving to advance myself etc. and this would show in my artwork which could result in looking more contrived rather than ( I hope !) more natural.
I'm not saying I'm not interested in improving - of course I am, and I think I have over the last 3 years - naturally because I paint so much, I'm learning through trial and error what I can achieve. I'm much more confident painting certain subjects and I do plan on challenging myself to paint some subjects I'm much less confident with - and I do read art books and watch demos on youtube and play around with paint but I'm not obsessed with improving - I'll let it happen naturally in my own time and won't try to rush it or take it too seriously. I've got all the time in the world, I want to enjoy it! I've been criticised in the past for being this way and not pushing myself enough which is a shame as I don't criticise other artists for doing things their way. Instead I admire their drive.
Maybe I lack that essential spark, that fire that is apparently the essence of the true artistic personality. So no I'm not a 'true artist' and never will be I suppose. One thing I do know though is that every painting I do is from the heart, whether it is a beautiful bird I've seen in the garden or my old walking boots!
© Sharon Whitley
So last night's creation was inspired by a visit to a local waterfall yesterday where we saw one of my favourite birds - the Dipper - I know I'm always saying 'one of my favourite birds' but I do have a lot of favourites - you can't help but love the Dipper, bobbing up and down by the water. This one was sat in the spray from the waterfall and sat posing for a good few minutes posing while Gary took a few shots, so of course I had to paint him - I was thinking of the colours I was going to use while admiring him through the binoculars. Burnt Umber with an Indigo based dark mix for his lovely tail feathers!