As 2020 comes to a close, many of us are feeling a bit beaten up by the unexpected events that have occurred this year. In many ways, we’ve had very little control over what’s been happening around us, leading to stress and uncertainty. (And a new appreciation for shelves stocked with toilet paper.)
Even though so many things are out of our control, we do have some control over self-improvement. It has been encouraging to me to realize that the making of art can fundamentally improve us individually. Art can teach us. Here are several things that we can learn.
1. We have a voice
Nobody can say exactly what you can say. We each develop a language with our artwork that is unique. With practice over time, we improve our ability to communicate with that language. What do you want to say with your art?
Much of the art-making process involves building. Waiting. We must develop a certain amount of patience while bringing each piece of artwork from the beginning stages to its finish. (And while waiting for the world to recognize the genius of our latest piece.)
Let’s face it, making art is hard. We encounter numerous obstacles in each creative endeavor. We have to make the decision to continue working even when presented with challenges.
4. Problem solving
This is at the core of becoming proficient as artists. We have to make tons of mistakes in order to learn how to identify and correct them. The better we get at problem solving, the better our work becomes.
Art sometimes pushes us out of our comfort zone. We might find it scary to show our work in public. Or to experiment with new methods in order to improve our creative abilities.
6. Self confidence
As we grow in our abilities and see our artwork improving, we gain confidence in ourselves.
7. Appreciation of beauty
As we spend time practicing our art, our appreciation of beauty grows. We discover beauty in places we wouldn’t have considered beautiful before.
As new artists, we might find ourselves to be the opposite of humble with our newfound amazing abilities. But once we begin to recognize just how much we have to learn, humility forms. We get rejected from shows over and over. Our work is passed over for that big award. A collector chooses to purchase a friend’s artwork instead of ours. Practicing art places us in an ideal position to learn humility.
These positive values obviously translate from art into our individual character. So perhaps we just might come out on the other side of all this better than before.