Blog / 2020 / How To Love Your Art #4: Determine What Parts of It Make You Happy

February 17, 2020

Up to now, the “how to love your art” blog series has covered the usefulness of hating other artists and also of loving them as well as the importance of talking about your art. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper.

In order to be able to love your art, you must figure out what small and seemingly insignificant elements of your work bring you the most joy.

It’s like with the humans you love. There’s the crinkled spot under their one eye when they smile or the way they put the hand on their belly and lean back a bit when they laugh really hard. I am talking about the little things that strangers might not notice, but which matter to you because you spend so much time with them. You must learn to spot that stuff in your art.

For me, it’s these three seemingly insignificant bits of my practice that make me happiest:

  • The movement and energy in my paintings.
  • The universe is not still. Even the atoms are always dancing, and I love that my art remembers that change is built into the very fabric of reality.

  • The way the paint itself looks.
  • My acrylics still surprise me after almost twenty years of daily use, and learning to handle their surprising qualities brings me so much joy.

  • The fact that I create by myself.
  • This time alone with my art is precious to me. The meditative flow-feeling of this work gives me energy and makes me want to be here.

None of these are particularly interesting to anyone but me, and that’s the point. You are looking for the elements of your practice that no one can ever take away from you. No matter what they may say about what you create or how you may feel rejected by others, these are the things that will always be there for you.

process of painting an ocelot, colorful and dynamic

I find it strangely soothing to watch GIFs of the making of my art. Though I started taking process shots to share on my blog, they have become one of my little love connectors with my practice. When I’m having a hard time adoring my art, I look at GIFs like this one and I remember that what I do is a delightful mixture of utterly magical and entirely mundane, and that gives me confidence.

ocelot cat artwork, acrylic on canvas
Gwenn Seemel
Ocelot
2019
acrylic on unmounted canvas
15 x 15 inches

This pretty kitty was commissioned by a patron through my special deal on Patreon. If you give me $50 per month for six months, I make you a painting on unmounted canvas of an animal of your choosing.

For prints and pretty things of the image, check out my Redbubble shop.

ocelot painting by Gwenn Seemel
detail of Ocelot
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