Monday, July 15, 2013

The Heart of Art

Jo Reimer

I know exactly where I'm going with my work... I will concentrate on making art that honors God and that brings me joy in the doing. I won't worry about what other people think about what I make, whether they like it or not. What's important is that I keep on doing the best I can, in my own way.

Making art is a spiritual occupation. Artists work from their heart to produce the work that comes to them from within which means it has spiritual, but not necessarily religious, connections. It has everything to do with doing one's best.

And because one's art comes from the heart, the soul, and the mind, the essence of a person, external criticism of one's work can be very hurtful to the artist, especially those new to showing their work. Most of us have a soft heart. We work to create something beautiful but since beauty is in the eye of the beholder what we make isn't always embraced by all who see it... and that is okay. But hopefully the viewer will be kind and find something positive to say about our work and will be careful not to fling hurtful words around, at least in the artist's hearing.

I remember standing in the gallery at my first solo show and overhearing two women talking about a piece I had made. One said to the other, "well, it's nicely done, but what in the world IS it?". I could have been crushed but instead I laughed and I'm still laughing. Nowadays my work is more representational and most people understand what it is I'm doing even though they don't all like it.

At church today our pastor urged us to be positive about other people. Find three good things about each person, he said, and voice those positive words for both the good of the other person and for your own good.  It seems to me that we could adopt the same attitude when we look at a piece of art. Keep the negative criticism  to oneself and find something good to say.   I like that. I'll work on being less critical and being more positive. 

I currently work with acrylic and paper on canvas and board; I like to use watercolor in my art and travel journals; I love making collages with my own painted papers; and I've returned to stitching, now on paper as well as on fabric. At this point it looks to me like I never will have success with narrowing my focus to working with one single medium and though it used to trouble me that I couldn't focus I now accept that that’s who I am, a multi-media, mixed media art maker who loves the learning and the doing of a variety of ways.

Robert Genn quoted Mas Kodani : "One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being." What perfect direction for me today, if not tomorrow!


  1. Lovely, uplifting post, Jo. I agree, making art is a spiritual experience. Carving feels like a meditation practice.

    Years ago I joined a mixed media painting group and loved it. In those days mixed media consisted of watercolours, acrylics, inks, dyes and colour pencils on paper. Nowdays mixed media art encompasses so much more and blogging makes it easier to learn new techniques. It's all very exciting. I look forward to getting back into it when I'm not carving. Love the idea of incorporating stitching.

  2. What an evocative photograph to go with your thoughtful post, Jo.

    1. Thanks for your response, Ruth. I need to print this and re-read it to assure myself daily that I'm on the right path. With energy waning as I age I must use time more wisely than ever.

  3. Your blog post really hits the nail or however that saying goes...very thoughtful words and your ending quote is perfect. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a supportive and inspiring comment.

    1. Thanks, too, for your comment, Donna. I'll see you soon... I'm enrolled in your workshop at Art & Soul. Finally, after trying to attend one of your workshops it's happening. I haven't actually seen you since we met at Art in the Pearl years ago.


I appreciate comments and questions.

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