The Process of Art

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“She did not think she was special, she just loved playing the piano. It all started at eight years old, when her mom signed her up for her first piano lesson. It was a step by step journey. She didn’t love every step, she just kept stepping. Her brother begged mother to let him stop but she did the opposite….she begged to continue. Mom graciously allowed her to continue her journey.”

It is not the miraculous event that creates the artist; it is the process.  The artist discovers that after years and years of practice and work, they find they are a master of  their medium of choice.

I think artists are often derailed from their journey because they begin to wish and jealously desire talent. They start worshipping the result instead of celebrating the journey. They often chase the fame instead of staying their course. What would happen if we as a community began celebrating the person who walks the path? What if we encouraged a focus on the journey instead of the on the result of the journey?

I have talked to many high school students who are discouraged because they were not good enough at music to really make it in the “real world”.  On what planet is a high school student ever good enough at anything to make it in the “real world” and yet we encourage the student who enjoys math to pursue engineering. We encourage the high school student who wants to teach to study education.  Why is art a different story? Is the “starving artist” stereotype really so scary that we are willing to discourage the student who is willing to walk the walk and take the journey? The art student is usually counseled to find a job that will pay the bills. No one discourages the education major even though they will ultimately live with a relatively low salary.

I want to celebrate the process of art. The journey required. I will champion, the small incremental steps needed to accomplish greatness. It is my prayer that communities and families will begin to support the journey. May I never be the person who discourages a young budding artist or for that matter an old budding artist!

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