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Why?

 

(Field sketches)

    
Like so many others in our culture, I grew up thinking that I was not an artist.  If I  didn’t have “talent” there was no point in creating my own images.  Though I tried several times as an adult to learn to draw, I always felt discouraged by my lack of “success” and would retreat back to being voiceless. 

    It wasn’t until I signed up for an acrylic painting class in my late 30’s that I experienced the power of art to touch my inner life.  I did not find that I had any more talent at painting than I had at any other art form, but I had an experience as I left class of feeling “awake” for the first time in years.  This feeling of being newly awake, newly aware of myself and my surroundings, lasted vividly for the rest of the day.  Over the weeks to come, each time I returned to class I had the same experience. It was as though I was waking up from a dream, feeling what it was like to be alive.

    In the years since that first class, I have found that I feel this sense of being "awake" whenever I become deeply involved in paying attention to something, whether through painting or drawing, writing, being outside, or in sitting meditation or another mindfulness activity.  For me, these things all help me to be more aware.

    Art as an experience (as something I DO, rather than something I produce) has many purposes for me.  It is a way of connecting with the world around me, of feeling its contours and bones and movement.  It is a way of connecting with myself, of knowing where I am and what I am pulled toward.  Whether or not I have talent has ceased to be the question; what is important is the joy I find when I am speaking to myself and the world with the images that come from my own body-mind-soul.  I am happy to be able to share this process with each of you and to enjoy the things that you create.    

                                                                                            --Katie Talbott