Dear Artist

In the spirit of this blog post, I thought it appropriate to share one of my paintings "in progress".

In the spirit of this blog post, I thought it appropriate to share one of my paintings “in progress”.

Dear Artist,

A cheer for you, the amateur or expert, who doesn’t always get paid what you’re worth.

You, who may, or may not yet, be great. Still, you persevere. Not because of the notoriety or fame that you might get or have gotten, but because the art must be made. Made or else you are not being true. Not being who you were made be.

A shout out to the musician who picks up his guitar and plays with the band, baring his soul on a small stage, offering his notes as a gift to the listener. No polished studio recording. No auto-tuned, over-produced, over-dubbed piece of work.

It’s a raw, heartfelt, gut stretching, leave it all on the stage, all-or-nothing offering. You have emptied yourself. An offering for my ears. For my heart. For my hands and my feet. We are the same people, moving to the same beat. My interaction is also his music. We are one.

He does this because he needs to. If he doesn’t, he will surely spiral into a slow and steady death of spirit. He would not be well. I encourage him to be healthy. In his spirit, in his body. I won’t squelch him or diminish him as I sit and watch from the safety of my chair on the sidelines.

A round of applause for she who chooses to dance, as though no one is looking. Or maybe because we are looking. It brings her joy to know that the movement of her body has brought a smile. A feeling of contentment. Happiness.

Who am I to sit in the lounge and silently accuse her of basking in the limelight while I look on? She is entertaining. She is beautiful. Her moves have not been learned in a class or studied from a book. Her beauty is found in wearing vulnerability on her sleeves. I won’t judge her.

She has laid down her weapons. And so should I.

Three cheers for the singer who opens her heart and her mouth at the same time. It is only her bravery that allows her to share her voice loud enough for me to hear. She is scared. She is revelling in the ears turned and tuned in. Her notes riding on sound waves. Being received.

She wants to sound just as beautiful as you want her to. She is practicing. She is performing. I give her space to expand the notes. Not to shrink back. Not to hold it all in.

Holding in. That is how bombs are made. An attempt at keeping something too big inside something too small. A small jab, a push, a fracture … and then … explosion.

Instead, I encourage her voice to move. To move me. To expand into my space. Into my being.

I am open.

Perfect doesn’t always equal beautiful. I lift my head to her voice. I let it in. The notes breathe into my body and they resonate.

I have let her in.

Praise to the painter who moves his brush in the silence of his studio day and night. Quiet evenings, stars dotting the dark blanket of sky. Honing a skill, searching for a feeling, a colour, an expression from a collection of hairs on the tip of a wooden stick. He who paints regardless of the showing or because of the showing. An exercise for his own soul. He has hopes of forging a connection from his soul to yours. From your soul to someone else’s. He has been accused of selfishness. Seeking attention. Approval as an official stamp.

He is painting for himself. Painting for you. Creating beauty. Or chaos. Skilled or unskilled. He is a child of the Great Creator. He is being himself.

He doesn’t need a certificate to show his work. I will let him be. My space is open to his expression. I’m not scared about whether I will like it or not. That’s not important. He has moved his feelings onto the canvas and let me into his world. To be changed. Challenged. To feel as though I myself have been understood, finally. Or not.

The beauty is found in the chance the he takes. The risk is the beauty.

A Standing ‘O’ for the girl who sews her own clothes. The girl who is filled with equal parts excitement and fear. Excited for the thrill of accomplishing her own design. Fear for sharing it. Fear for showing it. Her clothes don’t bear a recognizable brand name. They have the markings of her own signature. Perfect and imperfect stitches, combined together. She looks unique. She cannot be boxed in. I don’t fear her. I don’t fear the style which can’t be named, hung and organized in a store. She is strange. She is beautiful.

She is herself.

Put her in a factory-fast-fashion outfit and she shrinks, becoming less and not more. I will allow her to be more. I have space for her in my world. I will enjoy how her style comes out to meet mine, clashing or collaborating. Her look has become entertainment for me. I will allow myself to be amused. I will admire what she has been brave enough to create. I see the beauty – she is wearing her work and has removed her armor. I won’t judge her. She doesn’t look like everybody else. That is exactly what I love.

To all the artists, who, in the leftover scraps of the day, muster up the energy to have more output than input … I have left space for you in my world. Your work is personal, crazy, organized, disorganized, true, revealing, thoughtful, messy, impulsive, honest.

Here is some space for you to expand … I have moved over to let your work into my world. Not just to hang on my wall, but to pin to my heart.

When you have reached out and reached me, I am glad. We are rich together.

I am the consumer, the spectator, the critic. What about me? Will I die a slow and steady death of spirit, if I scorn or criticize from my comfortable chair?  Will I begin to shrink if I close myself off to your artistic expressions? Will I be afraid to take risks if I don’t allow that for you?

If I shut my eyes, close my ears and block my heart, will I become unwell?

And so, Dear Artist, you must shine.  For when you shine, you brighten both of our worlds. You enlighten me. We are well together. Beautiful, content, brave, expressive and honest .. together.

I lay down my weapons. It’s safe here. We are just beginning to understand each other.

I have room for you, Dear Artist.

I am open.


Aspiring story teller. Flower picker. Hopeful artist. Perpetual seamstress. Seasonal knitter. General pot-stirrer.


  • Reply March 22, 2014


    Jennifer, you are such an inspirational being!

  • Reply April 27, 2014


    I absolutely love that painting in progress! I also thoroughly enjoyed your writing. I am almost done with my third year of studying vocal performance in college, so I felt a special resonance. :)

    • Jennifer
      Reply April 28, 2014


      Thanks Abby! Glad to hear that you resonated (love that word!) with this piece. You know what it’s all about… putting yourself out there on a stage.

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