My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1625: Purpose and Meaning Through Art

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-23-2015 12:46 PM 1201 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1624: Little by Little Part 1625 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1626: Update Day »

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 ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

9 comments so far

View kepy's profile


290 posts in 1693 days

#1 posted 09-23-2015 01:20 PM

I think you should include teaching in your list of careers. All teaching, whatever the subject, has the possibility of changing lives. Of course, there are different degrees of influence as some are much more creative than others. One example, one year as a middle school teacher, I was assigned to fill in on one art class (this was not my training although I had studied some). I soon found out that most of the students were there because it would be an easy grade and could care less about learning. I did have two 7th grade boys who had studied painting and were always finished long before everyone else with their assignments so they asked me it they could learn some more painting skills. I had to inform them that I didn’t have the supplies for what they wanted so they brought in their own paints and brushes so we wound up with a class within a class that I think was as enjoyable for me as it was for them. They mostly did things like a sunset to work with colors.
The art you design and also create makes the world a more pleasant place that adds good feelings to a persons life.

-- Kepy

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8983 posts in 2339 days

#2 posted 09-23-2015 01:26 PM

Thank you, Kepy. :)

Yes – teaching is certainly one added to the list. The list is really very LONG and these were only a couple of examples.

I have also had many wonderful teachers that changed my life. Some may have only been there for a day or two, but the impact was there nonetheless. It is amazing how someone can change a life in a fleeting moment, isn’t it?

There is so much positive that we can accomplish in the world, just going about with our everyday tasks. I know it may sound corny, but I try to make at least one person happier each day. If I can do that, I had a good day. (It seems that they are always good! ;) )

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View rayn's profile


160 posts in 2637 days

#3 posted 09-23-2015 02:50 PM

We have a plaque in our kitchen ” The meaning of life is to find your gift….The purpose of life is to give it away”” Pablo Picasso


-- Ray,Iowa

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8983 posts in 2339 days

#4 posted 09-23-2015 02:55 PM

I like that, Ray. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#5 posted 09-23-2015 03:06 PM

Sheila, I have been keeping up with you for a number of years and your talents as an artist has just continued to grow and blossom nonstop. You are becoming a very fine artist. I love the way that your career has grown and with your writing skills there is no telling how far you will go and what beautiful things you will end up creating.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8983 posts in 2339 days

#6 posted 09-23-2015 03:41 PM

That is very nice of you to say that, Charles. You know I have the greatest respect for your work as well.

After five plus years and over 1600 blogs, I wonder if I get ‘stale’ sometimes to people. I worry about over-posting here and posting things that may not be particularly related to woodworking on a woodworking site such as this.

But I have made many friends here on Lumberjocks, and I find that so much of what we do as creative people can relate to ALL kinds of creativity – woodworking, painting, even needlework. It is all about sharing the creative process, as well as the small business process and the emotional things that go with it.

Wouldn’t it be boring if we all did exactly the same thing?

It has been a long journey, as you know to get to the point where I am. There are good days and not so good days, but they are all necessary to grow and learn I believe. I don’t think the journey will be complete until they throw my ashes into the sea. And even then, I hope that my art that I leave behind can have a positive influence on others.

It isn’t what we have, but who we touch in our lives that is important to me. I mean that with all of my heart.

Thank you for your years of friendship and your encouragement. I appreciate that a great deal. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2437 days

#7 posted 09-24-2015 02:50 AM

Hi Sheila, I don’t comment as much as I used to but I still follow your blogs. Sometimes a few days or longer goes by before I get caught up on my reading. You have NEVER been boring, tiresome or selfish, you have gladly shared your knowledge even when it seems it’s not appreciated. I want to assure you and emphasize to you that it’s not so! I’ve learned a lot just reading your ramblings and thoughts, it’s deeper and broader than you think! Just thought you should know that. I, for one, do appreciate your posts! Thank you dear!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Celticscroller's profile


1203 posts in 1492 days

#8 posted 09-24-2015 03:17 AM

Your posts are very important part of my day – never boring and always full of great information. I have learned so much and expanded my own creativity through your inspiration.
The Layla cards turned out really well. I love Keith’s eagle!

-- Anna

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8983 posts in 2339 days

#9 posted 09-24-2015 10:47 AM

Thank you both Erwin and Anna for your continued friendship and support. You both are reasons that I love it here. I am so glad to have forged friendships with you and I truly admire your talents as well.

I think we all inspire each other here as well as encourage and teach. That is the beautiful part of the internet – it makes our world so much smaller.

As with anything, things are what we make of them. People often give social media a bad reputation, but when used properly, it can enrich our lives in ways that nothing else could. I am glad I am here and glad you are my friends. :)

Thank you for that!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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