Reflection of you in your art

What does your art say about you?

If you are being authentic and putting all of yourself into your art (not just producing for some commercial reason), then you are putting bits of you into your art that you may or may not be aware of. Has anyone ever pointed something out to you that you weren’t aware of being there?

A few years ago I was working a show when a man came into my booth and looked around. I watched him nod slowly as he looked the pieces over. I was heading over to introduce myself when he turned to me and asked, “You’re a spiritual person, aren’t you?”

The bluntness of his statement caught me off-guard. I felt my mouth starting to work like I was fish pulled out of its water home. I didn’t know how to answer without opening the door wider on a subject for which I wasn’t prepared. Was this guy looking for an argument?

But there was something else about him that seemed like a genuine curiosity. I found myself smiling as I replied, “I would say I’m more spiritual than religious, yes.” I felt pleased with my answer, hoping it would stop any debate that he might have in mind. I was painting trees against sunsets at the time. How can you start up about religion over something like that?

He nodded again and stepped over to a piece. Pointing at it, he said, “I once heard that if an artist has more sky in their piece, they are more spiritual. A higher horizon means they are more earthy.”

I realized it was true curiosity coming from him — a bit of an article he’d once read coming back to him now, but that he’d never had the opportunity to explore until now. He was merely trying to find out if the hypothesis was true.

It also pointed out to me something that I had never thought about when I was painting. I was doing my work out of joy, not realizing that so much of my own self was going into the work.

So, what is your own work saying about you?

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