Artists know disappointment, actually it is usually a daily meal for us. Often, just a disappointment when things don't sell, or one's muse does not come through. A few weeks ago, I had one of the biggest upsets of my career. A private club contacted me to see my work, all of which is now in my home gallery. I invited them - four of them-into my home. They fell in love with my work and asked if we could bring nine large pieces to the site of a new renovation, which we did. It was smashing and would give me incredible exposure. I was walking on air. After they signed an agreement, they asked to keep the pieces overnight and we agreed. To make a long story very short, the whole deal feel through with a whole lot of deception thrown in. The excitement had made me think about painting again, that was short lived. Maybe that was the message of it all….who knows.
My pieces now again adorn my walls, I would have missed them actually. They soothe and calm me, they are me. This article speaks of how art can heal us, can "enter into our being and perhaps adjust how we respond to challenge and anxiety."
I find oriental art does that beautifully, like this piece below by Hirosage.
or this simple piece of sculpture by the seaside which quietly summons feelings of tranquility. I found this on one of my sources of peace as I look at art on Pinterest.
Many years ago I did this tryptic below for a florist in the Rhode Island Flower show.
It is long gone….but it always spoke to me of sinking into ourselves in meditation. The piece was done on clayboard which allowed me to get the depths so well. It is my own Pond Lilies...
Life in the Pond
There are those of "sophisticated" taste, so says the WSJ, that worry that art such as
Claude Monet's Waterlilies will make people forget that there is evil and suffering in the world.
Really? On the contrary, how can we forget. What we do need in art, in my opinion,
is a place to go, to rest our souls, to find our roots of stability. Henri Matisse showed us optimism in his painting, The Dancers.
When we are intensely responding to beauty we are experiencing the wish that things could be so much better. "None of this is sentimental. Strategic exaggerations of what is beautiful and good can perform a critical function; they distill and concentrate the hope that we require to chart a path
through the difficulties of existence."
Often when an event unsettles and disappoints us, we are only feeling the tip of the iceberg. It is a symbol of everything that hurts, that goes wrong, that frustrates, and especially our fear of the great unknown that looms ahead and around us. Art can touch our souls, steady us, give us
an anchor with which to remember peace, freedom from pain.
It helps us artists remember how important our mission, to ourselves
and not just to others.
Thank you, Alain de Botton, for this exceptional article. Mr. de Botton has written
with John Armstrong "Art as Therapy." For more information see