Given that I have previously written about the fear associated with creating artwork you might well ask why? Why do I paint? Wouldn’t it be easier to do something that held less fear of failure?
So why DO I paint?
There is the obvious reason – I do actually enjoy it (despite the fear factor). I also love animals and observing and painting them is a way that I can express that passion and share it with others.
But there is another reason – I want to educate and inspire others. As humans we connect with animals in a special way. However the world has become so hectic and so technology focussed that at times we don’t always allow ourselves to feel and enjoy that connection.
Perhaps I can illustrate what I mean with a couple of experiences.
I was at Healesville Sanctuary having spent a couple of hours watching and sketching some of the animals. As I was leaving a young couple were arriving with their daughter who looked to be about three years old. The little girl just couldn’t wait and charged on ahead of mum and dad. Her charge was abruptly arrested when she saw a cassowary in the first enclosure. She was not afraid of the cassowary. In fact quite the opposite. Her already excited face was transformed into a look of absolute joy and wonderment. It was a touching thing to observe and I remember feeling quite emotional about it at the time. It reinforced within me a strong desire to never want to lose my sense of wonder, curiosity and awe. Yes, animals have the power to touch our lives deeply and bring a special joy to living.
Another day, another zoo – Werribee Open Range this time.
The key players were a grandmother and granddaughter. They were approaching the cheetah exhibit. The brief conversation went something like this:
“Ooh look!” said the grandmother, “come and look at the tigers”.
“Gran, they’re cheetahs” replied the granddaughter in a weary, resigned tone of voice.
Now I don’t think that you need to be an expert in zoology to tell the difference between a cheetah and a tiger. Let’s face it, one has stripes and the other spots. The grandmother didn’t appear to be the least bit interested in what the animal was or wasn’t. She just wanted to move on quickly. That made me really sad. I’m not meaning to sound judgemental. I know we all have different areas of interest. I’m sure that a car buff would be totally horrified at my lack of knowledge in a subject that he or she loves. But I can still tell a Toyota from a Holden or a Ford from a Hyundai. For a variety of reasons many people seem ignorant, even oblivious, of the natural world and its inhabitants. If I can capture a moment or a feeling in a painting, then it might just touch or inspire someone else. I might awaken a desire within them to learn more. I may be able to help them feel that powerful connection. To me that is a really strong motivation to paint.
I’d love to hear what motivates you to follow your passion in life (even if it is cars)! What do you love and why? How do you get other people enthusiastic about what you love?
For the next few blogs….some more animal stories….sad, amusing, inspiring.