At some time or another in our lives, most of us search for our purpose here on Earth. The reason we are here. The meaning of what our life is and why we are here in the first place. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose, I believe. We want to think that all the hard work and things we go through on a daily basis are for a reason. That somehow, in some small way we make a difference in the world. That somehow we make it better.
There are professions that are obviously noble. Doctors, nurses and medical personnel immediately come to mind. Scientists and inventors as well. Police, firemen (and women) and paramedics too. All kinds of service people for that matter. For these people make a visible difference in the lives of many every single day. But what about artists? There are times when I wonder if what I am doing is truly purposeful, or is it just feeding my own soul?
As I grow and mature as an artist, I am learning that art in general is something that is purposeful. Not only appreciating others' art, but the process of creating it is also very functional and uplifting. I have been teaching various forms of art for over 20 years now, on many different levels. From teaching through national and international publications to teaching one on one, the results usually are the same – the students walk away from the 'lesson' with a renewed sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. And they carry those feelings to others through their own art and general attitude.
What a wonderful payoff!
Whether I teach scroll sawing or painting or any form or creating that I do, I find that this is the case. That moment when the student 'gets it' and the look in their eyes when they look at their own piece is more satisfying to me than any amount of money or paycheck. It tells me that I did a good job and made a difference in someone's life, and I hope that will carry with them and they in turn will spread these feelings to those that cross their own paths. It boggles the mind when you think of the possibilities!
Then there is the impact of the 'things' that I created. The appreciation and smiles that they can bring to the recipient (or even those just looking for that matter!) is something else I can't put a price tag on. In this harsh and sometimes ugly world wel live in, it feels wonderful to know that I could perhaps make someone smile or appreciate the beautiful things that are still here. A flower, a leaf, or even a beautiful, majestic cat. How often do I see someone gaze into a really wonderful piece of artwork and get absolutely 'lost' in it? It is then when I realize that art too has a purpose. It can sooth our soul.
You may wonder why I am thinking along these lines this morning.
Yesterday, I assembled my note cards of Layla, the beautiful tigress that I recently painted from The Wildcat Sanctuary. I had received my photographs of my painting from the lab the other day and I was so thrilled with them. I had also received my order for the note cards and sleeves to package them in and I was ready to put them together, in hopes that they will make a difference in these cats' lives.
The quality of the photos was outstanding. I had them printed on Kodak Endura Matte paper, which is acid-free and makes them suitable for framing. My planning for them paid off well, as everything fit together beautifully and I feel good about offering a professional looking, high-quality product that not only I am proud of, but will help the Sanctuary as well. (I am donated a portion of each card to them for the care of their animals.)
Here are some photos of the cards:
I couldn't have asked for them to come out nicer. They are now available at my Etsy Shop and will be available on my own site later in the week. I am going to sell them individually, but also as a set of six, in which you will get one for 'free'. I hope they do well and I hope they bring in a lot of money for the Sanctuary.
I was so impressed with the quality, that I am going to create cards from my other fine art paintings that are on my Gallery page of my site. I plan on donating to the Sanctuary from those sales as well.
It is a wonderful feeling to feel that my art can in some way help this cause that I feel is wort
hy. It gives my art a purpose that I hadn't had before. It added another layer of satisfaction to what I do. How fortunate is that for me?
I hope you consider when you are creating, that your art will also have a positive impact on others. Even if you are not an artist, sometimes just a smile or a kind gesture towards someone else can make a change in their lives. Being kind to others costs us nothing, but it can mean so much and the impact of our kindness can be felt like a wave through those we encounter. It takes so little to make a difference. You just never know how many lives you will touch.
In other news, I wanted to also show you Kieth's new creation for the scroll saw.
I absolutely LOVE this Eagle plaque and I was so happy to see him once again creating beautiful wildlife. His SLDK239 Self-framing Leaf-bordered Eagle plaque is a beautiful addition to his series of the same name. I know that it will give as many people pleasure in creating it as it will those who receive it. It is one of my favorite pieces of his.
As the final hours of summer wind down, I will be looking forward to the beautiful autumn days ahead. Fall is my favorite time of year, with the beautiful colors, smells and food that accompany the season. I am very grateful to live in a place that experiences all four seasons, as I learn to appreciate each one for its unique characteristics. It makes life that much better.
I wish you all a wonderful day! Happy Tuesday and Happy Autumn! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"