I was recently listening to a podcast that included a section of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and I found one comment to be pertinent to the idea of being an artist. The presenter said that self actualization - the highest point in human development - was a point we reach intermittently but do not remain in a self actualized state continuously.
This reminded me of the way artists talk about being in the flow, or in touch with the creative universe. These are the moments when we are actually feeling self-actualized. We experience the highest sense of gratification, of connecting to who we really are at our core.
It makes sense, then, that when we fall out of that state of self-actualization we feel unhappy, as if we might be missing something.
I think it is helpful to realize that these moments of self-actualization are by their very nature transient experiences, but the art we create should not be dependent upon needing to be in that state of hyper-awareness.
Artist's block, those moments when we feel like there is no point in doing something when there is no outlet for the resulting paintings - by shifting the perspective away from believing that the only value comes from someone else buying or liking the work might be the better choice.
Perhaps the ultimate value comes from the opportunity you have to reach the highest point in human experience. This can come from painting, writing, gardening, yoga - whatever activity allows you to reach the potential of becoming who you really are at your core.
I appreciate the way you have accepted my words, and my art, into your lives. So I would like to thank and welcome the new subscribers to this blog, and those who have also subscribed to my newsletter. In my newsletter I write more about art technique, my motivations behind specific paintings, and occasionally offer paintings for sale at special prices. Here is a convenient link to subscribe to my newsletter .
I would also like to thank those of you who have purchased my book, Ancient Wisdom: Emerging Artist: the business plan (not just) for the mature artist, over the past month. I hope this book helps you with the intrinsic motivation, as well as offering practical ideas and a bit of humor at the end of the day. Please leave your recommendations or suggest it to others who might be interested in the content.