I work in one art studio of many art studios in the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina. And I do most of my work right in front of my front door (the light is best there and, well, I like to greet people as they come in. And then, after being greeted, the questions start...How did you get interested in art? Why are you an artist? Why are you an oil painter? How did you get started doing this?
And because I have an open studio and work about four feet from the door, I get to talk with visitors all day long, every day. And I'm asked these questions constantly. And honestly, it's really funny. I mean, I would never go to a Christmas wine and cheese party and ask an accountant or dentist or history teacher or lawyer any of these questions. Maybe that's because I'm an introvert but still -- what is the big deal with being an artist? I mean, I do like the attention (okay, I said it). But still, what is this all about? It's interesting and amusing and humbling all at the same time.
It's interesting because, well, I was talking to an accountant just today and I am so thankful there are people like her that actually understand numbers! Seriously. I think THAT is mysterious and awesome. I'm just a painter. I play with oil paints all day long. I mostly paint mountain landscapes somewhat specific (but not entirely) to Western North Carolina. I do that (mostly) because I can, and (mostly) because it's fun. It's not at all mystical, it's just really, really fun. Making ledgers balance -- now that is mystical to me. If you're an accountant...thank you. I need you. God bless you.
It's amusing because people come in and see me busy painting and often (in whispers) "Oh, he's working!" This makes me laugh every time. "Yes. I am scooping up paint on this brush and rubbing it all over this canvas here..." But I never say that. I always say (because it's actually true), that this isn't work. This is joy. This is pleasure. And right now, this is my life and I am so, so thankful. But...it still makes me laugh inside when people say this.
And it's humbling because I'm no rock star. I think I'm rather awkward and can be kind of a geek (just ask me about ancient history and be amazed at my geekiness). But that's okay. How many people get paid for doing what they love to do? The answer to that question is why I'm truly humbled at the attention given artists.
And then, there was the visitor yesterday who , upon looking at the oil painting I was working on said, "Well, if I can be honest, I think you're wasting your time". Ha ha. It takes all kinds.