Creating the Not-So-Pretty

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain:

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool the pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Not in VainEmily Dickinson

I know some say that art can not – will not change the world, but one can hope it can make some difference.  I, for one, do not paint for “pretty’s” sake.  I feel a cathartic rise when I am in the studio.  I don’t have unrealistic hopes, though, that I will change the world – I just want to make my viewers think for a minute or two.  Is that really too much to ask?  I wonder if it is, sometimes when I am putting my soul into a piece that means so much to me.  It is then that I whip out some pretty.  It really sells, doesn’t it – the pretty.  Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for me.  I somehow feel it necessary to force my opinion and what makes me feel good to say upon others.  Does this make me egotistical – to think I have something so important to say, or that I have the right to say it to begin with?  Maybe so.  I reserve the right as an artist to put it out there.  If one doesn’t like, one doesn’t have to look.  I do hope that when one doesn’t like, they think about what it is presented – that is the most important thing to me.  If they still don’t like, so be it.  They have experienced it – it has not been created for any other reason but the experience to take with them.  That alone means I do not create in vain.

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