Creation and Empowered Thinking

Recently an artist from Germany emailed me asking some deep questions about art. She and her friends, it appears, are worrying about whether people will still buy paintings, the high cost of painting materials, and the idea of making a living as an artist. She commented that daily life is changing so fast and asked if “human beings would still pay attention to timeless and peaceful paintings and then to purchase them?” She went on to comment that “here in my country most of the people believe, if you dream to be an artist (creating art with high-quality materials, etc.) you are nothing but a dreamer. They think art was, is and will be unprofitable.” These broad generalizations are frequently heard in my artistic community as well. So after giving her email much thought, I answered her as follows:

In my opinion, there are two belief systems in general. One is that things happen TO us, in which case our only option is to react or respond. The other is that we are at the center of  things that happen to us. This is a more empowering belief system, enabling us to create our own reality. It means we have a say in what happens to us through our thinking. The first belief system puts us in victim mode, while the latter allows us to feel empowered. I choose the latter.

This means that I am optimistic while I create. I do the best I can while making my art, by using high quality materials, thinking expansively, allowing my imagination its fullest scope, and feeling GOOD while I make my work. I like to imagine that someone else will find the work beautiful, and will feel connected enough to it that they will want to own or buy the work. If I am not empowered in this way, and don’t have feelings of joy and optimism while working, then the painting will not contain that special quality that makes it desirable, effective, powerful and communicative.

There is no such thing in my mind as “nothing but a dreamer”. Instead I believe we are nothing if not dreamers. In my world (which is created not by where I live or which country, but by who and what I attract around me) paintings are selling, artists are freely creating, and life is good. I believe that if you put your heart, mind and soul into creating the best paintings you can right now, and pay attention to keeping the negative doubting thoughts to a minimum, your work will attract its proper appreciative audience. You may need to travel a bit to see more art and more art audiences to keep your thinking as broad as possible. And you may find that what appears to be a limited art community is actually only limited by your own mind. As for the value of timeless and peaceful paintings, I can’t imagine why I (or anyone else) would want to live without reminders that we as human beings are timeless and are hardwired to strive for love and peace. Isn’t that what art is for?

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Hand painting pink wall with sponge.

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  1. Udaysree

    we attract circumstances, relationships, money, success or failure according to the thoughts we entertain in our minds. we all entertain negative thoughts which are interspersed with a few positive thoughts. it clearly is so the mind is negative…
    fear and negativity which are emotions and thoughts can be transformed and minimized eventually to be eliminated altogether by meditation. then the creative juices can freely flow through us because thoughts are obstacles to the free energy flow of creativity. so the number of thoughts has to be reduced. this can only be accomplished through meditation.

    it's good to start the creative process with a deep meditation to calm the mind, reduce the number of thoughts. whatever energies you entertain during the process you will add to the painting (energize the painting) which the viewer, potential collector, will perceive intuitively and react to. though you can accomplish much with technique and colors, the ultimate attraction comes from the more subtle realm of energy, perhaps the aura of the painting. just as a person may be dressed and groomed to perfection, says the right words, etc but if we don't perceive the right vibes, the person is not going to be our friend. same with the creation and sale of art.

  2. Donna Guy

    What the artist from Germany fears is not new, and I think every artist addresses it at least once. I know I have done it more than once. I had to discover and rediscover why I create, and the value it has for me. I might add that it has changed as I've experienced life. I found that my work has meaning for me on a deep level, and that it is independent of monetary value and opinion. Monetary value and opinion does have a presence at some point, but not while I am working. I find great value in the meaning I explore through my work, and I try to show that. What else can an artist do? I think that might be what serious buyers pay for when they purchase art.

  3. Esther tubbs

    Your comments on creativity echoed some things that I have come to believe and teach my students i.e FEAR AND NEGATIVITY DESTROYS CREATIVITY. Recently I had to "eat my words" as I went through a weekend of allowing discouragement in as I worked on a painting that has been assigned to me. I saw my mistakes and became very negative until I realized that I had to say "no!" to that and rely on the Creator to give me ideas not only how to correct them but to launch out into a new expression that is in me. I came back to the painting the next morning, saw what needed to be done, and began to paint in new ways. Now I am excited about what is going on in the painting and anticipate finishing it with a flair!

    Thank you for your Blog teaching and sharing. I continue to learn from you…

  4. Lee McVey

    Your response to the person in Germany was terrific. Keeping negative doubting to a minimum is sometimes a challenge, but the results are worth rising to the challenge.

  5. Phil Kendall

    At one end of the scale there is this wall-art or wall-décor and at the other the seriously attractive high value art. In between are those genuine paintings, works of art or artworks, call them what you will, quietly being produced by real craftsman/artisan artists or painters, again call them what you will. Their paintings are offered for sale on a price scale that ranges from the ridiculously cheap to the eye watering dear. The range of subjects painted is absolutely infinite; there is absolutely no sameness here. The artistic skills shown range from the basic to the true master. The sizes produced range from the miniature to the gigantic mural. Their techniques in applying their colours range from the bland, to the in your face bright & bold.

    The tragedy is that very little of this rich seam of art can get in front of the consumer for them to experience it or for them to realise that it even exists.

    This makes it essential for artists' to differentiate themselves from the rest and sell on value rather than price, and to choose their marketing strategy very carefully. As an artist you need to adapt to the new circumstances just as any other creative entrepreneur would do. Just be as creative with your marketing as you are with your art.

  6. Mary Manning

    What you have written here is absolutely true, Nancy. Human beings need art, and we have created art since cave-dwelling days. Producing art in this day and age can be absolutely terrifying, but dreaming while wide awake, as well as asleep, offers me the gems of ideas that lead toward gorgeous paintings. Daily news and life is but the surface: to create we need to mind our brains, guts, heart and souls and let the work flow.


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About Nancy

Professional fine artist Nancy Reyner’s blog about art, painting and creativity. Her career spans over 30 years. She lives in Santa Fe in the US. Subscribe below for free tips on art and painting.

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