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What Is Your Why?

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

That sounds like a funny thing to say - What is your why? So what do I mean by that? What I’m talking about is the reason you are an artist. This post is written specifically for artists, but please substitute that for whatever your creative field happens to be.

There are two parts to this -

  • Why do you paint, why have you chosen to be an artist?

  • The other is why are you painting the subject matter that you are choosing to paint?

You see at the end of the day, everything comes back to this. It is the thing that gives meaning to what you do. It is, or becomes, the reason you show up at the easel every day or as often as you can manage. And why is it important that it has meaning - because that is what will keep you in the game in the long run. The why is different for everyone and will determine the course of your creative journey.

For example, if your goal is to make a good living from your art and not have to find employment in some other sector, there are different ways you can do that. You might become an art teacher once you are skilled enough, or you might open an Etsy shop, or sell your work on eBay or take your work to markets. Or, you might go to the commercial art gallery down the road - which is highly competitive, or it may be your heart's desire to get museum representation. Most of these options are about money and or becoming known. However if money is not an issue for you, your focus might be more on mastering a particular art form without having to try to monetize that.

Not to say that someone following one of the above paths isn’t also trying master their art form also, of course. But this is where the divergence may happen because if you are trying to be more commercial the decisions about what you paint will often be driven by a different agenda.

So what is your why? - Here are a few Why questions for you to answer, to help strengthen your art practice. Perhaps you can use them as prompts for your art journaling.

  • Why are you an artist?

  • Why are you painting your current subject matter?

  • And is that particular why, something that is going to stay with you for the long haul?

  • Why does your art matter to you?

  • Why do you paint using a particular medium?

  • Why aren't you painting as much as you might like to?

Please share your thoughts in the comments if you feel so inclined. I'd love to hear from you.

NEXT WEEK: Freedom - What does that word mean to you and how can journaling move you into that vision?

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