When is an artist?

A question about meaning…

???????????????????????????????A studio, waiting

As I move back into a studio life after closing Grasslands Gallery permanently last week, I wonder – when am I an artist? Am I an artist as I unpack and re-home oil paint and brushes and all the bits fitting into an artist’s workplace? As I move from studio to office to dining room table, photographing the objects that might become new subjects, editing and printing the photographs, considering and marking and discarding the resulting images? As I fiddle with this new website and blog, struggling into knowledge I’ve never had before?

Or am I an artist only when the colour is mixed and the brush moves in my hand, making the marks that might become expression?

I tend to think it’s this last that matters. That what I am to do is make paintings. That nothing else really counts. So far in this renewed studio life, I’m shifting, sorting, thinking. Not making.

When do I become the artist I’ve chosen to be?

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4 Responses to When is an artist?

  1. Penelope Marshall September 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    If someone asked you 30 years or so ago when you worked at RPL what you were your answer would likely have been librarian. I suspect if someone asked you today what you were you would answer artist. Our work subsumes us and we become it. All the things you described doing go into the finished painting. Feeling the brushes and looking at the colours of the paint make you fingers itch to use them. The photos inspire you although you may not know it at the time. Writing the blog focuses your thought process and it does challenge your I. T. skills. All of these things combine to make you the artist you are and they all lead to what you put on the canvas.

    • Laureen September 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      I think if my answer had been “librarian”, it would have been only part of an answer. I know we often define ourselves by the worked we go to in the morning. But I’ve always made art, and over time I recognized it’s been the one thing I wanted to do that never changed. Thanks for a thought-provoking response!

  2. Louise in SW Saskatchewan September 5, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    I think many of those things are all part of being an artist. Choosing and editing photograph’s use your artist’s eye to compose your possible work. Handling and organize your materials are part of your process to get you into the creative mode – often prompting your brain to start thinking about what you are going to create.

    • Laureen September 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      It’s all part of the process, for sure! I think I just like best the part of the process that directly results in the product 🙂