Artists create beauty — so let's do it! Don't let the critics get you down. Know that what you do MATTERS.
Well, it’s been quite a month, hasn’t it? I hope you’ve been able to find some creative time in the middle of the tumult, whether to paint, to draw, to do collage or mixed media, to write, or any combination of each of these.
We live in historic times, and whether the art we’re making reflects the times we’re in, responds to these times, or creates a refuge from them, art making matters.
In the middle of all of this, we had a debate about a proposed mural here in Calistoga. Comments got a bit heated on NextDoor. You know how it is sometimes — everyone’s a critic, and everyone will have their own idea about what artists should do. Some of those people will know a lot about art, and some won’t.
Some of my comments to the Planning Commission were quoted in the Calistoga Tribune (I did get choked up a bit when I read those comments to the commission, because I think it matters to us all, as artists).
Perhaps you’ll agree with me that people who want to tell artists what to do (unless we’re creating a commercial or commission piece specifically for them) ought to pick up some art materials, take a class, and make art themselves. You and I know they’ll discover it’s not as easy as they might think, right?
Fortunately, the artist in question said he has a thick skin (and the mural was approved). My remarks included this, some of which was quoted in the Tribune article:
Everyone will have their own opinion. Everyone likes different things, different styles. Art takes many forms, and that’s what creativity is about — not conforming to other people’s tastes and trends. Artists create beauty — let us do it!
I added, Right now, when we look up at the hills, we see burnt and blackened trees and fields. We need color, to bring a smile to our faces.
We need art in the world right now, for so many reasons! So… remember, if your own inner critic starts bossing you around, send it somewhere else (a walk to CalMart to get chocolate? A nice, long hike up the Oat Hill Mine Trail?). Maybe we can hand outer critics a pen, pencil, or paintbrush, and say, “Here. Give it a try.”
Remember that the art you make does not need to conform to anyone else’s tastes or trends. It can serve different purposes — it can be highly personal, just for you; it can be work you want to share and show. But the main thing is, it is yours. And it matters.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, live in Calistoga, and have my art studio in Santa Rosa, California.