If you spend any time reading about, listening to, or scrolling through news, you know there is a lot happening in the world. On my drive to Santa Fe last weekend for the Canyon Road Paint Out, the radio blasted updates on the w
ar in Ukraine, climate change, city noise, pollution, and increasing inflation along with SO many other issues. These “things” happening on our beautiful planet can make an artist (like me) question if creating is insignificant.
Unloading my art into the gallery, I felt guilty for creating paintings and for driving a distance to deliver and paint for the Paint Out. If you haven’t been to a Paint Out, it is an all-day event where artists from the local galleries set demo along Canyon Road and share their process with art lovers who stop by and observe. It was a perfect day to work outdoors; sun, seventy degrees, and no wind. As the visitors began approaching my messy table, they watched me work, but then something magical happened. We connected. I often use bees in my paintings which started conversations on why they wanted to start beehives, had beehives, or worry about the dwindling numbers of bees. When I began consciously observing the observers, I realized how much art helps us identify and connect with one another. I did not know one person in the hundreds that came by to see me, yet I feel like I connected with so many. We shared personal stories, phone numbers, and all because we were brought together by art.
Art doesn’t show people what to do, but it can connect you to your senses, to others, encourage thinking, engagement, and action. One viewer bought a small bee painting and wanted to use the painting as a reminder to get bees in the spring, something he had always wanted to do but hadn’t.
In a time when so much is going on in the world, and I have questioned whether I should be creating, I am reminded that artwork and artists help people connect and can turn thinking into doing. Art encourages us to cherish intuition and creativity and to search for new ideas. Artists break rules and find unusual ways of approaching issues.This one-day event, reminded me how creating, sharing, and discussing art can bring people together, take action, identify and make us more tolerant of differences and of one another.